Monday, October 18, 2010
The no-fail Spinach Lasagna
We thought about inviting some friends over on Friday night to enjoy our favorite lasagna, but then we decided we wanted it all for ourselves. Selfish, I know, but the first batch of the cold season just tastes so good!
I got this recipe back in 2003 from the Tri-City Herald's Recipe of the Week e-mail and have been making it since. I've even made it with fresh noodles, which was amazing, but this time I used the cookless noodles, which turned out fabulous and was so much easier to put together. The more even your spinach-ricotta cheese mixture it, the better the lasagna tastes, and it's just so much easier to spread it on those uncooked noodles.
3 T. extra-virgin olive oil
1 small yellow onion, minced
4 large garlic cloves, minced
1 lb. Italian sausage
2 28-oz. cans Italian plum tomatoes
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds
1 bay leaf
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
¼ cup grated Pecorino Romano cheese
2 10-oz. packages frozen chopped spinach, thawed
3/4 c. ricotta cheese
1/3 cup Parmesan cheese
2 large eggs
Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
Pinch of nutmeg
16-oz. package lasagna noodles
8 oz. goat cheese
8-10 oz. Mozzarella cheese, grated
1/2 c. Parmesan cheese
Cook onion and garlic in oil over medium-high heat for 3-4 minutes in a stock pot. Crumble sausage in skillet and cook until done. Pulse tomatoes in a food processor and add to pot, or add them whole and crush them using a wooden spoon. Grind together pepper flakes and fennel, then add with bay leaf, salt and pepper (I use about 1/2 t. salt and 1/4 t. pepper). Simmer for 45 minutes. When sauce loses its watery quality, stir in cheese. Correct seasonings; remove bay leaf and discard.
For Spinach Filling:
Squeeze spinach dry (cheesecloth works best). Add cheeses and eggs. Add salt, pepper (again, about 1/2 t. salt and 1/4 t. pepper) and nutmeg. Refrigerate until needed.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease pan with olive oil, then begin layering, first with coating of sauce, then noodles, then spinach mixture, then dot with goat cheese. Sprinkle with 1/3 of mozzarella cheese. Repeat twice; top with a little more sauce and Parmesan cheese. Bake 25-30 minutes, or until hot and bubbly.