This is a report on the venison lasagna I wrote about yesterday, and it turned out SO FREAKIN GOOD that I just had to put the full recipe on here before I forgot how I did it. (Note: The sauce is based on this recipe; I made a couple changes to tailor it to my anti-pork-and-fennel taste, but the majority of the sauce recipe came from Ezra Poundcake, who cited the Hunter Angler Gardner Cook blog for its origin. The cheese filling recipe came from the Skinner Oven-Ready Lasagna Noodles box ;-))
2 pounds ground venison
1 onion, chopped finely
1 head of garlic, chopped finely
2 tablespoons of sugar
1/4 teaspoon of fennel seeds
1/4 cup fresh basil, chopped finely
2 tablespoons of oregano
1 cup of red wine (I used Oak Vineyard Merlot)
1 6-oz. can of tomato paste
1 8-oz. can of tomato sauce
1 28-oz. can of crushed tomatoes
4 cups of shredded mozzarella (I used 2%)
1 15-oz. container of ricotta (I used low-fat)
1. Brown the venison in a large saute pan.
2. Add the onion and garlic and cook for about 5 minutes.
3. Add the sugar, fennel seeds, oregano and basil.
4. Add wine and tomato paste.
5. Bring the mixture to a boil.
6. Add the tomato sauce and crushed tomatoes.
7. Mix the sauce and allow to simmer for about an hour.
8. While sauce is simmering, combine ricotta cheese and egg in a small bowl; mix together well.
9. Using a ladle, scoop a ladle-full of meat sauce onto the bottom of a 9 x 13 pan.
10. Place 3 (UNCOOKED!) lasagna noodles evenly in the bottom of the pan; they'll only fit one way (Note: the directions emphasize that you should not let the noodles touch each other or the sides of the pan since they'll expand in the cooking process).
11. Take 2/3 cup of the ricotta mixture and spread it evenly over the 3 noodles.
12. Scoop another ladle-full of sauce on top of the ricotta mixture and spread it evenly over the whole surface.
13. Sprinkle 1 cup of mozzarella evenly over the whole surface.
14. Repeat steps 10 through 13 twice.
15. Place your last 3 lasagna noodles on top, and cover with the remaining meat sauce.
16. Sprinkle the rest of your mozzarella on top.
17. Cover with foil and bake at 375 degree F for 35 minutes.
18. Remove foil and bake for another 15 minutes, or until cheese is golden brown.