Like Garfield, I have a definite love affair with lasagna. I mean, is there any better comfort food out there than a perfectly layered lasagna? And what could be better than venison lasagna, as it combines my favourite meat with my favourite food.
When I was diagnosed with coeliac, I thought all my pasta days were behind me, but I have discovered that even gluten free lasagna tastes good if you make it right.
The trick is to include equal layers of meat sauce and béchamel sauce, and a light sprinkling of cheese over the top… Yum! My mouth is watering just thinking about it.
If Dad’s speciality is his spaghetti bolognese, mine is definitely lasagna.
While this recipe is for regular lasagna, it doesn’t take much to make it gluten free. Just choose some gluten free lasagna sheets and replace the plain flour for either gluten free plain flour or cornflour (both work equally good, though the cornflour consistency is a little different).
The quantities in this recipe should be enough to make two medium or one large lasagna.
Venison lasagna ingredients:
Lasagna sheets (either fresh or instant)
500g shredded mozzarella cheese
2 tablespoon olive oil
2 x brown onions, diced
2 x cloves garlic, minced
1 red capsicum, diced
2kg venison mince
2 x 400g cans diced tomatoes
1 x 680g jar of tomato passata
2 tablespoons tomato paste
Salt and pepper to taste
1 teaspoon rosemary
1 teaspoon oregano
1/2 cup plain flour
4 cups of milk
Salt and pepper to taste
Small handful of parmesan or mozzarella cheese (this is optional. I prefer mine less cheesy).
Venison lasagna method:
Preheat the oven to 190 degrees Celcius.
Heat olive oil in a large pot and add diced onions, garlic and capsicum. Cook until translucent. Add venison mince, stirring until browned and cooked.
Add tomato paste, canned tomatoes, passata, salt, pepper, rosemary and oregano to pan, stirring until thoroughly combined. Simmer over low heat while you make the béchamel sauce.
In a separate pot, melt the butter over a medium heat, ensuring the butter does not brown. When the butter begins to foam, slowly add the flour, stirring to combine until it makes a thick paste (roux). Take a whisk and gradually add small quantities of the milk, combining thoroughly before adding more. When all the milk has been mixed through, gently heat sauce, stirring constantly until thick enough to coat the back of a spoon. Set aside.
Choose a nice deep tray (8 – 10cms deep). This will allow an adequate gap at the top, as the lasagna does expand slightly while cooking (don’t ask me why – it just does).
To construct your lasagna, start with a layer of meat sauce. Cover with lasagna sheets (don’t overcrowd or overlap them or you’ll end up with uncooked bits of pasta). Add another layer of meat sauce, making sure you cover all of the pasta sheets. Next add a layer of béchamel sauce. Cover with a second layer of lasagna sheets. Now cover the lasagna sheets with another layer of béchamel sauce. You should have two layers of meat, two layers of pasta and two layers of lasagna sheets. Finally, cover the béchamel sauce with a generous handful of grated mozzarella cheese.
Cover the tray loosely with foil and place in preheated oven, baking at 190 degrees for 25 minutes. Remove foil and bake another 10 – 15 minutes, until golden brown. Before removing from the oven, insert a skewer into the middle to check if the pasta sheets are property cooked. If the skewer goes in easily, it is cooked. If there’s resistance, cook for another 5 minutes.
Remove from the oven and let the lasagna rest for 5 – 10 minutes.
Serve with a simple green salad, some steamed greens or warm garlic bread.
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