- The Washington Times - Friday, February 12, 2010

Red meat politics it’s not.

Lasagne in the White House is not a beef and pork affair. White House chef Cristeta Comerford has spilled the beans about a favorite Obama family dish, revealing to Martha Stewart that the First Family likes their lasagne with ground turkey, ramped up with onion, garlic, tomatoes and fresh parsley. (The official recipe follows).

“This is actually one of the family’s favorite,” Ms. Comerford told the domestic diva, adding that one lasagne is enough for the family of four.

What else do the Obamas favor on their table? That’s official.

“I’d have to run it by our press secretary. The president has a lot of favorite foods. They [the Obamas] really like a lot of vegetables and they’re very easy to please,” the chef told Ms. Stewart. She has been cooking in the White House since the Clinton administration, and is one of seven chefs who tend to the culinary needs of the first family, as well as myriad official functions.

Ms. Comerford did share the lasagne recipe, which will be featured on ABC’s “Martha Stewart Show” on Monday — President’s Day — along with a White House recipe for a green salad, and a low-fat orange and apple cake in keeping with first lady Michele Obama’s intense interest in childhood obesity and sensible diets.

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Turkey Lasagne (Serves 6)

The ingredients:

• 1 tablespoon olive oil;
• 1 cup chopped yellow onion;
• 4 cloves garlic, minced;
• 1 pound fresh ground turkey;
• 1 (28-ounce) can plum tomatoes, crushed;
• 1 (6-ounce) can tomato paste;
• coarse salt and freshly ground pepper;
• 1 tablespoon chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley;
• 1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil;
• 16 cooked lasagna noodles;
• 15 ounces low-fat ricotta or cottage cheese;
• 3/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese;
• 1 large egg, beaten;
• 2 pounds fresh spinach, washed but not dried;
• 1 pound low-fat shredded mozzarella cheese.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add onion and cook until translucent. Add garlic and cook 1 minute more. Add ground turkey and cook about 10 minutes. Add plum tomatoes and tomato paste and season with salt and pepper; let simmer until thickened, about 20 minutes. Stir in basil and parsley; set aside.

In a medium bowl, combine ricotta, 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese and egg; season with salt and pepper and set aside. Place damp spinach in a large skillet over medium heat; cook until wilted. Remove from heat and set aside.

Ladle one-quarter of the turkey mixture into a 9-by-13-inch baking dish; spread to cover. Add a pasta sheet, one-third of the mozzarella, one-third of the ricotta mixture, one-third of the spinach mixture and another quarter of the turkey mixture. Repeat process two more times; top with remaining sheet of pasta. Sprinkle remaining Parmesan over top; transfer to oven. Bake until bubbly, 25 to 30 minutes. Let stand about 5 minutes before cutting; serve.

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