Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Spinach Lasagna

Sarah is churlish and always whines about how she doesn't like lasagna, but I think it is great. Lasagna is one of the few foods that I don't think really benefits from meat, it's that good. Normally I would say that you could add meat to pretty much anything and it would make it better, even possibly ice cream. Even though they look good on paper, meat lasagnas never really seem to stack up to this recipe. Even Sarah admits that it is pretty good.

This recipe uses the following ingredients:

1 lb ricotta
1 1/2 c shredded mozzarella, divided into 1 c and 1/2 c
1 egg
1 10 oz package frozen chopped spinach, thawed and drained
3/4 tsp oregano
1/8 tsp black pepper
1 jar tomato sauce
8 oz lasagne noodles

Yeah that's right, a jar of tomato sauce and some frozen chopped spinach, you organic pansies. The haters may hate but using these ingredients saves plenty of time/effort and I challenge you to taste the difference, especially in a situation like this where the spinach isn't exactly center stage. You guys have fun wilting and chopping your spinach and I'll be already done cooking, sitting back, just lounging and watching COPS or some shit.

Anyway, preheat the oven to 350, and mix the ricotta, 1 cup of the mozzarella, the egg, the spinach, the oregano, and the pepper in a bowl. This tastes great on its own and would make a good dip if it weren't for the raw egg. Get one of those glass 9 by 13 baking pans and grease it with some cooking spray (ooohhhh shiiiit he's using cooking spray, waah waaah whatever whiners). Then begin layering. First put half a cup of sauce, then a third of the noodles, then half the cheese mixture. Then do that again. Then put the last of the noodles, whatever is left of the sauce, and the remaining half cup of mozzarella.

Now comes the most important part. Notice that I didn't boil the noodles. This is because boiling them is unnecessary - they will cook fine in the oven as long as you add water at this stage. Using the empty sauce jar as your vessel (this way the water becomes sort of saucy), pour water around the edges of the lasagna assembly, about a cup or two. Then cover the pan tightly with foil (you might want to spray the underside to prevent it from sticking). Bake for 75 minutes and let stand for as long as you can hold yourself back - in my case maybe 5 minutes but ideally like 10 or more.

There you have it, some delicious lasagna. I've had some minor issues with the bottom noodle getting a little overcooked and chewy, but nothing major. The most recent time I made this I added a lot more water and the problem was lessened. Maybe I need more sauce on the bottom? Who knows.

As I was writing this an idea struck me - what if instead of making a pure meat lasagna, I took this already successful recipe and added meat to it? I could put some pancetta in this thing or bacon, or perhaps replace the noodles with thick-cut bacon?!?! Maybe I will try this and report back.


  1. This is Nathan's grandmother's recipe, a bona fide heirloom. Nathan started making this lasagne standing on a chair by my side when he was way too short to reach the kitchen counter.

  2. aw, so cute! I tagged it under "family recipe" :)