Your Recipe for Convection Cooking
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Turkey Lasagna with Zucchini Noodles, Mozzarella and Pesto
I won’t kid you, Lasagna always takes work but the efforts are always worthwhile and in this version the zucchini “noodles” are easily prepared at the same time using Convection.
It takes about 10 minutes to slice the zucchini and about 20 minutes to cook and cool them.
The turkey filling takes about 40 minutes to prep and cook and while that is cooking you can assemble the other ingredients so you are ready to layer everything into the casserole for baking. Once everything is prepped, layering the lasagna into the casserole is easy.
Convection or Convection Bake
6 - large zucchini, ends trimmed each cut lengthwise into 6 ¼” thick slices
½ - teaspoon mixed Italian seasoning
2 - tablespoons olive oil
1 - tablespoon olive oil + 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 - lb ground dark turkey meat (or ground beef if you prefer)
1 - medium yellow onion, peeled and cut into 1” dice
3 - cloves garlic, peeled and minced
Dash of ground chili flakes if you like some spice
1 - 15oz can whole peeled tomatoes
2 - tablespoons tomato paste
1 - 15oz container Ricotta cheese
1 - 4 oz container Pesto (or ½ cup homemade)
1 ½ - lbs shredded Mozzarella cheese
Preheat the oven to Convection or Convection Bake 400 degrees
Lay the zucchini slices onto 2 rimmed baking sheets, sprinkle with the seasoning and drizzle with some olive oil, salt and pepper and cook for 15 - 20 minutes until softened, then set aside to cool.
Meanwhile heat a large heavy skillet or saute pan over moderate heat, when hot add the oil and butter and when the butter sizzles increase the heat and add the ground turkey. Break it up with a fork and cook over medium high heat until evenly browned. Turn off the heat and remove the turkey from the pan with a slotted spoon.
Return the pan to heat and over moderate heat saute the onion until softened, add the garlic and cook for a few minutes before adding the tomatoes. Cook over moderate heat breaking the tomatoes with the back of a spoon (you can use chopped tomatoes if you prefer) then stir in the tomato paste. Add the browned turkey and any accumulated juices to the pan and simmer for 20 - 30 minutes. Taste and add salt and pepper as needed.
Layering the Lasagna
Spoon a little of the sauce onto the bottom of an oven casserole dish and add one layer of the cooked zucchini noodles.
Add half of the turkey mixture, spread over the noodles and top with a cup of mozzarella cheese
Add another layer of noodles and spread the ricotta over the noodles, or flatten a few tablespoons between your palms and place over the noodles.
Gently spread a layer of pesto over the ricotta and top with another loosely packed cup of mozzarella and another layer of noodles
Add the remainder of the turkey, another cup of cheese and the final layer of noodles.
Spread a little more pesto over the top of the noodles and top with a sprinkling of mozzarella cheese.
Preheat the oven to Convection Bake 325 degrees
Cut a sheet of foil to fit the casserole and lightly oil the non-shiny side.
Cover the casserole loosely so the foil doesn’t stick to the cheese and bake on the middle rack for 25 minutes.
Remove the foil and bake for another 15 minutes until the cheese is bubbling, allow the casserole to stand for at least 10 minutes before serving.
Serves 6 - 8
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Almond Orange Olive Oil Cake
One of the great mysteries of the the appliance industry is that most ovens sold nowadays feature Convetion cooking modes; however, recipes rarely reference cooking with Convection.
1 - cup whole raw almonds lightly toasted and cooled
¾ - cup twice-sifted cake flour
1 ½ - teaspoons baking powder
Pinch of kosher or sea salt
4 - large eggs
1 - cup sugar
1 - teaspoon vanilla extract
Finely grated zest of one small orange or Meyer lemon
⅔ - cup extra virgin olive oil
Toast the almonds in the Convection Mode 325 degrees until golden brown inside, set aside to cool completely.
Leave the oven set at 325 or change to 350 degrees if using standard Bake Mode.
Butter the bottom and sides of a 9” round cake pan and line the bottom with a circle of parchment paper.
Place the almonds in a food processor with one third of the cake flour and process until almost as fine as sand.
In a medium sized bowl whisk together the remaining cake flour, baking powder and salt then whisk in the ground almond mixture.
In a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, whip the eggs on high speed until well-blended. Add the sugar gradually then add the vanilla and orange zest. Continue whipping on high speed until the mixture triples in volume, about 3 minutes.
On low speed, add the flour mixture in three batches alternating with the olive oil and beating just until the batter is blended.
Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake until firm to the touch in the center. Cook in the pan for 10 minutes before inverting onto a rack.
Recipe from “Wine Country Table ” author Janet Fletcher