Friday, January 12

Spinach Lasagna

As promised, here's my recipe for Spinach Lasagna. By my I really mean our recipe (mine, mom's and, oh yeah, Deborah Madison, from whom we cribbed this).

I'm going to explain this in the order in which I usually make it (which is rare because it does take some time). These amounts work in my mom's big lasagna pan, I'd halve most of it for a smaller pan. Also, I made an obscene amount of pasta dough thinking I'd have a ton extra. Because I made this without the benefit of a pasta machine (I had stolen my mom's years ago so now hers lives in LA), so the noodles were divinely thick. I hand rolled them out. You probably wouldn't need to make this much dough if you were using a machine.

In Order:
I have to admit that mine is different every time I make it. Basically I use whatever veggies are in the fridge and about to turn on me (I've made it with fennel and zucchini and all sorts of crazy things) For a recipe like this though it would go something like:

Olive Oil
2 leeks, cleaned and diced
1 carrot, diced
1 purple or yellow onion
Some garlic cloves crushed
1 celery stalk, diced
1 LARGE can of diced tomatoes
A cup-ish of red wine
Splash of balsamic or red wine vinegar
maybe some sugar
2-6 fresh tomatoes (depending on what's on hand) - I don't bother to peel and seed these, I just toss them in the processor and process them for a few pulses
Herbs: basil, bay lead, oregano, a twig of fresh thyme if possible, salt, pepper etc.

So it's pretty basic: Heat the olive oil. Saute the veggies (up to the canned tom's) until they're soft. Add the canned tomatoes, fresh tom's, wine, vinegar, sugar, and herbs and let simmer until it thickens. Sometimes I'll also add veggie broth and then let that cook down. For this lasagna, I made all of this the night before I assembled it and let it just sit on the cold stove overnight. (This is what I then processed a few days later to make the pizza sauce)

Next step: I make the Pasta dough (I quadrupled
this recipe, but for a small dish I'd just double it)


1 cup all-purpose flour (I'm not going to preach about this anymore, but seriously, BUY ORGANIC STONE-GROUND FLOUR - it will taste better)
1 large egg
1 tsp olive oil
some water, maybe

You know the drill. Mound the flour, make a well. Beat egg & oil in well, gradually incorporating the surrounding flour. Get all the flour mixed in and then add a few drops of water if it needs to be brought together.

Kneed for 10 minutes. Cover and let rest for at least 1 hour.

While the dough is resting, I move on:


The key with this is really the lemon zest. It makes the dish divine. DO NOT LEAVE IT OUT...otherwise you'll end up with just your average, if tasty, lasagna.

2-3 bunches of spinach, thoroughly washed (you can substitute frozen or baby, but it won't be as good)
Olive oil
1 yellow onion, diced
2 garlic cloves
Salt, pepper, nutmeg
2 cups ricotta cheese
2 eggs
1 cup Parmesan
2 tsp lemon zest

Chop spinach. Saute onions & garlic in oil. Add spinach and salt. Cook until wilted; move to a bowl and combine with cheeses, eggs, parley and lemon zest. Season with salt, pepper and nutmeg.


Grate 8-16 oz of mozzarella cheese. We always use regular, though the recipe suggests fresh, which I will be trying next time.

Now I make the sauce for the bottom and top of the lasagna:


2 Tbsp butter
2 Tbsp flour
2 cups milk
Salt, pepper and nutmeg

Melt butter and add the flour. Cook over low for 2 - 3 minutes to get rid of the starchy flavor of flour. Stir constantly. Scald the milk in a separate pan and then and stir it into the butter combo. Whisk away! Season and cook on low for 15 min, occasionally stirring until thickened.

ROLL OUT YOUR DOUGH and cook the pieces in boiling water. Don't leave them in a heap, they'll stick. Rinse in cold water and stretch out over kitchen towels.


I always butter the pan just in case. Then spread half of the bechamel over the bottom of the pan. Follow with a layer of noodles. Now some tomato sauce and a layer of cheese. Now the Spinach. Then noodles. Now a layer of spinach filling. Noodles. Tomato sauce and cheese. Noodles. Filling. Noodles. On top should be Bechamel and some extra cheese. Maybe even a grating of Parmesan.

Bake at 350 for 20 minutes, covered with tin foil, and then another 25 with the foil off. (this is what the recipe says, but we find it takes twice that time. Also I baked mine for 20 minutes with foil - to cook the eggs then let it come to room temp and froze it for a couple of days. We let it sit out for a day before we reheated it, leaving the tin off to brown the top)

Good times. Great Lasagna.

I should go into advertising.

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