Venison Lasagna

A lasagna takes a lot of work – but making 2 is not much worse than 1, and it freezes perfectly—so I always double up. Making the sauce ahead of time can break up the effort. A couple of days in the fridge or a few months in the freezer will do the sauce no harm at all.
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Venison Lasagna Yum
Baseline quantities are for a standard 3qt lasagna pan (9" x 13"). Adjust accordingly if using a larger pan, such as a 5 quart (11"x15"), or for multiple batches.
Servings
quart (pan)
Ingredients
Servings
quart (pan)
Ingredients
Instructions
  1. Shred and toss/mix the mozzarella, jack and cheddar together and set aside.
  2. Mix the ricotta and egg together and put back in the fridge. Some folks suggest mixing this together with the shredded cheeses. I haven't tried it yet.
  3. Boil noodles unless using fresh or "ready to bake". Use a dash of olive oil to prevent foaming, and plenty of salt. Don't cook beyond al dente. Drain and set aside on towels or paper towels to avoid sticking.
  4. lightly oil lasagna pan and put a little meat sauce on the bottom (not much).
  5. Build your layers. Unless you're a pro, consider dividing your ingredients up into the appropriate amounts first. See the note below the instructions.
  6. — Noodles (push them down a little bit to reduce "voids" in the lower layers - don't get too crazy with this step though - you don't want to moosh the goodies up between your noodles)
  7. — Spread Meat Sauce
  8. — Ricotta/Egg mix (except top layer). I use a fork and a large spoon to "flick" it in smallish lumps around the pan.
  9. — Moz/Jack/Cheddar mix (except top layer)
  10. — Sprinkle a little parmesan.
  11. Repeat the above five steps, usually 3 layers for a standard pan, 4 for a large. The top layer is just noodles and meat sauce. Use up all of the ricotta/egg and moz/jack/cheddar on the lower layers.
  12. Finish by sprinkling the top liberally with dried parmesan.
  13. Cover with foil and bake @ 375 for 25 minutes.
  14. Remove foil and cook another 25 minutes or until nicely browned (if any pasta is exposed, try to correct that first - it will get crunchy.)
  15. Let stand for 15 minutes, slice and eat!
Recipe Notes

Hints for lasagna noobs:

It's frustrating to get to the top layer and find you have too much or too little “stuff” left.. You can't really go back and start over. Once you have made a few lasagnas you'll get a feel for it, but in the meantime you could presume you will have 3 noodle layers for a normal (3qt) pan, and 4 layers for a large (5 qt) pan. Keep your layers even by dividing up your meat sauce, ricotta mix, and shredded cheese mix up into equal portions in advance. Just remember that you will not use the shredded cheese or ricotta on the top layer, so there will be one less portion of those than there will be of the meat sauce. So for a 3-layer lasagna, after first spreading a little meat sauce on the bottom of your pan, divide your meat sauce into thirds, and your ricotta/egg and shredded cheese mix into halves. Top to bottom, it should wind up like this:

A liberal dose of parmesan
1/3rd meat sauce
noodle
a little parmesan
1/2 ricotta mix
1/2 shredded cheese mix
1/3rd meat sauce
noodle
a little parmesan
1/2 ricotta mix
1/2 shredded cheese mix
1/3rd meat sauce
noodle
a smear of meat sauce
pan bottom

For four layers you'll divide your meat into 1/4, and your cheese into 1/3. Etc.

Boiled pasta is already saturated and will absorb little liquid, so it works well with a "stiff" sauce. Fresh or "ready to bake" pastas need to absorb some liquid, so if using them you'll want to use sauce that is a bit more liquidy. If dealing with a stiff sauce, adding some venison or beef stock works great to loosen it up.

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