Monday, October 1, 2012

Spinach Lasagna

Welcome back food friends!

Been a while, but you demanded the return of the recipe!  So we’re back with some awesome eats for you to try at home.  And what better way to kick it off than with a family favorite… Lasagna!

Even your cat knows how awesome lasagna is...
So I was hungry to try a new pasta-based recipe, and I’ve already shared with you my famous meatball recipe.  I considered baked ziti, but that’s just too easy.  Why not go all out and put a little effort into it.  Lasagna takes some skill and is a lot of fun to put together.  It’s like a puzzle – with pasta!

One thing about lasagna – it’s big!  Using one box of noodles and the corresponding ingredients is going to be a bit more than a bachelor chef can eat by himself.  So in the Italian spirit of abbondanza, or abundance, invite some friends over to help you eat!  

Since I have some vegetarian friends coming over to enjoy this recipe, I decided to put a veggie spin on a dish often served with meat.  So here is my recipe for Spinach Lasagna!

You will need:
A large baking pan (13x9x2 is perfect)
A large pot for boiling noodles
A mixing bowl and spoon
1 box (16oz) of Lasagna Noodles
1 brick (10oz) of Frozen Spinach, thawed
1 jar (24oz) of Tomato (spaghetti) Sauce
1lb Ricotta Cheese
½ lb Mozzarella Cheese, shredded
Garlic Powder or Fresh Chopped Garlic (to taste)
Oregano (to taste)

This recipe is easy because you shouldn’t have to measure anything – all the ingredients use the standard size pack you get from the grocery store.  This recipe assumes a brand tomato sauce, but feel free to make your own from scratch if you desire.

Start out by boiling a large pot of water.  When it boils, add in the lasagna noodles and boil for 12-15 minutes uncovered or until the noodles are soft.  Be careful not to overboil or the noodles will break.

While the noodles cook, mix the spinach and ricotta cheese together in a large mixing bowl.  Add in as much garlic and oregano as you like, or any other Italian spice you enjoy!  Preheat your oven to 375 degrees.

Now for the fun part.  Drain the pasta and let cool for a few minutes.  Take your baking pan and cover the bottom with a light layer of tomato sauce.  Assuming you are using a 13’x9’ pan, take three noodles and place them flat on the bottom, so they just overlap on the sides.  Be careful, the noodles will be hot. 

Next, spoon out several clumps of the ricotta and spinach mix.  Spread it out evenly with your spoon, making sure not to move the noodles around.  You only need a thin layer so don’t use too much – you’ll repeat this step later.  Once spread, take your tomato sauce and pour another thin layer on top, spreading it with your spoon as you go.  Now, take a handful of shredded mozzarella, and evenly distribute it on top of the sauce.

And layer 1 is done!  Now, take three more noodles and layer them as you did in the first step.  Top with the ricotta and spinach, tomato sauce, and cheese. Layer 2!  You should have enough ricotta/spinach mix to do this four times total.  Once your fourth layer is done, top with three more noodles, and cover the top with the rest of the tomato sauce then mozzarella cheese.    

And now it’s time to bake!  Cover the baking pan with aluminum foil and place in the oven for 30 minutes.  Take the lasagna out, vent the foil in one corner and let sit for 5-10 minutes more.  And there you have it, a beautiful lasagna!

The lasagna can now be cut into 12 square portions.  You can easily feed 6 with this dish, or in my case, 4 hungry people.  As a side dish you can serve garlic bread or salad, or more lasagna! 

Have fun cooking, and especially fun eating!


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