Bison LasagnaThis lasagna recipe was adapted from a recipe in the Rao's cookbook. Everyone that I have ever served it to has said it is the best lasagna they have ever eaten. It's extremely authentic.
Total Time: 5 hours, Prep: 1 hour, Cook: 3-4 hours
- 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons fine-quality olive oil
- 1 cup finely chopped onion
- 1 tablespoon minced garlic
- 2 pounds Bear Mountain ground bison
- 1/2 pound sweet italian sausage (casing removed)
- 1/2 pound hot italian sausage (casing removed)
- 1 cup dry red wine
- 3 28-oz cans San Marzano Italian tomatoes, with juice, hand crushed (San Marzanos are the best but for a cheaper alternative just used peeled plum tomatoes)
- 3 tablespoons tomato paste
- 5 cups of water
- salt and pepper to taste
- 2 pounds ricotta cheese
- 2 egg yolks
- 1 pound lasagne noodles
- 2 cups grated mozzarella cheese
- 1 cup freshly grated Pecorino Romano cheese (or parmesan, your preference)
- 1 pound fresh mozzarella cheese, sliced
- 18-20 leaves fresh basil (chopped)
- Heat 1/2 cup oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add onion and garlice and saute for 3 minutes. Stir in bison and saute for a few minutes until it just loses its pink color. Remove the bison with a slotted spoon and set aside. Add the sausage to the saucepand and saute until browned. Return the bison to saucepan.
- Add the wine to the saucepan and cook until most of the liquid has evaporated.
- Stir in tomatoes, tomatoe paste, and water. Add salt and pepper. Bring to a boil then simmer, stirring occasionally for 2-3 hours or until thick and rich in flavor (not too liquidy). If needed, add more water, a quarter cup at a time. If sauce is fatty, either skim off the fat or sop it up with paper towels. If you have time, you can refridgerate the sauce until cooled, the fat will congeale on top and you can then just lift it off.
- Combine the ricotta and egg yolks, blend well. This will keep the lasagna from being watery.
- Add the noodles and 2 tbls oil to a pot of salted, boiling water. Cook until al dente (slightly firm). Drain and run under cold water to stop the cooking process. Put noodles, in a single layer, on clean, damp kitchen towels. Cover with clean, damp towels (to avoid the noodles drying out).
- Preheat the oven to 350F
- Ladel a thin layer of meat sauce into a lasagna pan (12x8x2 or 14x10x3 inches). Cover with noodles, laid lengthwise, then cover noodles with a layer of meat sauce. Cover the meat sauce with a thin layer of ricotta, then sprinkle with grated mozzarella and pecorino. Continue layers of pasta, sauce, ricotta, and grated cheese. Lay the noodles down in alternating directions (first lengthwise then crosswise, etc.) Finish with a layer of meat sauce covered with the sliced mozzarella and sprinkled with the pecorino.
- Bake in a preheated oven for about 45 minutes or until cheese on top has melted and lasagna is bubbling. If the top is cooking too fast and the inside is still not quite done, cover the lasagna with aluminum foil and continue baking.
- Remove lasagna from oven and allow to cool for at least 15 minutes. Sprinkle with fresh basil and serve.
Note: I usually have some leftover ingredients so I use a small loaf pan and make a mini lasagna. Once it is assembled I cover it tightly in plastic wrap then a layer of aluminum foil and put it in the freezer for later use. Once you want to eat that frozen lasagna just take it out of the freezer, take off the plastic wrap, rewrap it with the aluminum foil and bake for 70-90 minutes at 375F. Check on it occasionally to see if it is warm all the way through. Once warm all the way through, uncover so the top can bubble and brown.