Compared to the dish in my last post, my family prefers to eat leafy greens in this fashion. (I love greens in every fashion!) Cheesy pasta casseroles definitely make greens a crowd-pleaser. 🙂
This vegetarian lasagna was absolutely fabulous. The recipe was adapted from The New York Times, contributed by Mark Bittman. I incorporated nutmeg, garlic, and an egg into the ricotta mixture, incorporated Pecorino-Romano cheese, and used no-boil noodles. I also modified the baking method. Yum.
Yield: 6 to 8 servings
- 16 dried (no-boil) or fresh lasagna noodles
- 3 to 4 cups good tomato sauce (I used 28 oz jar Rao’s marinara)
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1 1/2 pounds spinach, steamed, squeezed dry and chopped (about 3 cups cooked)
- 12 oz (1 1/2 cups) whole-milk ricotta
- 1 large egg, lightly beaten
- 1/4 to 1/2 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
- 3 large garlic cloves, pushed through a garlic press
- 1 1/2 cups coarsely grated mozzarella
- 2 cups finely grated Parmesan (I used 1 cup Parmigiano-Reggiano and 1 cup Pecorino-Romano)
- coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper
- If you’re using fresh pasta sheets, cut them into long wide noodles approximately 3 inches by 13 inches, or a size that will fit into your lasagna dish. (I used 16 dried no-boil lasagna noodles from Trader Joe’s)
- Steam the spinach until wilted, and drain. (I steamed it in a large pasta pot for 3-4 minutes.) In batches, use a potato ricer to remove excess liquid. Coarsely chop.
- Combine the ricotta, egg, nutmeg, and garlic in a bowl.
- Heat the oven to 400 degrees, preferably on convection.
- Grease a rectangular baking dish with the olive oil, add a large dollop of tomato sauce and spread it around.
- Put a layer of noodles (use four per layer) in the dish; top with a layer of tomato sauce, one-third of the spinach, and one-fourth of the ricotta mixture (in dollops), the mozzarella, and the Parmesan. Season with salt and pepper, if desired.
- Repeat the layers twice.
- Top with the remaining noodles, tomato sauce, ricotta, mozzarella and Parmesan; the top should be covered with cheese; add more ricotta and Parmesan as needed. (The lasagna may be made ahead to this point, wrapped tightly and refrigerated for up to a day or frozen. Bring to room temperature before proceeding.)
- Cover with parchment paper topped with aluminum foil. Bake for 25 minutes.
- Uncover, and continue to bake until the lasagna is bubbling and the cheese is melted and lightly browned on top, about 15 minutes more.
- Remove from the oven and let rest a few minutes before serving.
Note: Lasagna can be baked, cooled completely, covered well, and refrigerated for up to 3 days, or stored in the freezer.