I’ll admit that this luscious lasagna doesn’t look that light – but it truly is! How is that possible with all that cheese on top, you ask. And the answer is: fresh mozzarella is very low in calories and sodium, and so is ricotta cheese, plus, grass-fed bison is leaner than ground beef or sausage, which makes it possible for all of us to (insert my mantra) to cut calories and sodium without sacrificing taste!
On a scale of 1 to 10, my in-house food critics gave the bison lasagna a solid 10 for deliciousness because it’s not overcome with cheese like many American-made lasagnas; you can taste all the components that make lasagna (or lasagne, as it’s spelled everywhere else) so well loved – layers of silken pasta, deeply flavored sauce, and robust meaty goodness with just enough creamy cheese to accent each comforting bite.
A 10 rating ensures that Bison Lasagna will become a regular part of our dinner rotation. What’s just as exciting is how much I’m in love with the Set ‘n Forget® 6 Qt. Programmable Slow Cooker that Hamilton Beach sent me to review and play with. Being able to program it for only four hours and have it automatically switch to the Warm setting is beyond awesome. Now I can actually leave for the day and not worry that the liquid will cook off and our dinner of lasagna, stew, soup, chili, meat, etc. will have dried out or worse, be a tad burnt. The latched lid ensures that all the moisture is retained because steam doesn’t escape due to a bubbling, bouncing lid. Plus, the latched lid makes transporting your slow cooker dish to tailgate parties, pot lucks, or family gatherings totally mess-free! No more boxes or towels required. So, good bye to my old basic slow cooker, you have served me well.
Sleek black and stainless steel, fits right in with all my other small appliances, too. Oh, and this uber slow cooker comes with a spoon and a probe for cooking large cuts of meat like pot roast, chicken, or pork tenderloin – insert the probe, set the recommended meat temperature and the Set & Forget® Slow Cooker automatically shifts to warm when the temperature is reached. Besides lasagna, I’ve cooked artichokes in the slow cooker for the very first time, short ribs in sauce for sliders (perfect for football weekends) and am anxiously waiting for cooler weather to finally come to SoCal so I can cook pot roast – another of my family’s favorites.
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 1.25 pound ground bison
- 1/2 teaspoon red chile flakes
- 1- 14.5 ounce cans No-Salt diced tomatoes
- 1 jar Trader Joe’s Organic Marinara sauce*
- 1 cup good quality red wine*
- 1 lb. whole-milk ricotta cheese
- 2 Tbs. chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
- 1/2 teaspoon Harissa
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
- 9 No-boil lasagna noodles
- 8 ounces fresh mozzarella cheese sliced
- 2 oz. Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese finely grated
- Thinly sliced fresh basil or sprigs of thyme for garnish
Heat olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add the bison and cook, breaking up any large chunks with a wooden spoon, until the meat is browned, 10 to 12 minutes. Add the chile flakes, tomatoes, marinara sauce and wine and bring to a simmer. Transfer the sauce to a large bowl. In another bowl, stir together the ricotta, parsley, harissa, and pepper. Set aside.
Spread a thin layer of the sauce on the bottom of the slow-cooker insert. Cover the sauce with a single layer of uncooked lasagna noodles (about 3), breaking the noodles as needed to fit. Spread about 1/3 cup of the ricotta mixture over the noodles. Top with about 2 cups of the sauce, then sprinkle with about 1 cup of the mozzarella and 1/4 cup of the Parmigiano-Reggiano. Repeat the layering 4 more times, starting with the noodles.
Cover and cook on low until the noodles are tender and cooked through, about 4 hours.
Position a rack in the center of an oven and preheat to broil.
Transfer the slow-cooker insert to the oven and broil until the cheese is bubbly and golden brown, 6 to 8 minutes. Let the lasagna rest for 20 minutes before serving. Garnish with basil and serve immediately.
* TJ's Organic Marinara Sauce is very low in sodium, but feel free to use your favorite Marinara or Spaghetti sauce.
I used Coppola Claret for the sauce - always use a drinkable wine! Like the nonnas say: "one for the sauce and one for the cook" 🙂
We are a family of three, and we had to hold ourselves back to save half of the lasagna for the next day!
Disclosure: This post is sponsored by Hamilton Beach. I received the Set & Forget® 6 Qt. Programmable Slow Cooker With Spoon/Lid to review. All opinions are my own.