Friday, May 27, 2016

Spinach Lasagna

I am not a real big fan of lasagna because I have never been a big fan of cooked ricotta.  Fresh ricotta with a little vanilla and a teaspoon of sugar.  Oh my.  But not cooked.  My husband told me he is not a real big fan of spinach lasagna.

Things change.  He loves this recipe. The kids ate it up.  My oldest daughter, the picky one, managed to pull out a bit of the spinach.  You know she has to keep up her reputation for not eating anything green. I tell  you she was the first to eat the leftovers though, her and her Dad.

Spinach Lasagna
See original recipe here at Serious Eats

For the Spinach:

2 tablespoons butter, divided
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 shallot, finely minced (about 1/2 cup)
6 medium cloves garlic, minced (about 2 tablespoons)
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 pounds fresh flat or curly spinach leaves, washed and dried
For the Ricotta:
2 pounds fresh ricotta cheese
2 eggs
4 ounces finely grated peccorino romano cheese
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
For the White Sauce:
4 tablespoons butter
1/4 cup flour
1 quart (4 cups) whole milk
12 ounces grated low moisture mozzarella cheese
12 ounces grated Swiss cheese

For Assembly:
1 1/2 pounds (enough sheets to make 12 layers) fresh lasagna noodle

For the Spinach: Saute garlic and shallots in butter and oil until soft.  Add in spinach and cook until it is wilted, having lost its moisture.Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Let spinach drain and cool while you mix up the ricotta.

Combine ricotta with egg, nutmeg and peccorino romano.  Season with salt and pepper.

Squeeze spinach out.  In a food processor (or by hand), chop spinach and short pulses.  You want it chopped, not pureed.  Mix into the ricotta.

To make  your white sauce you will need a large skillet or saucepan.  Heat butter until melted. Add flour and increase heat to medium high. Cook, stirring butter and flour with a whisk until golden. Be patient.  The golden part is what gives it a really nice flavor. Whisking constantly, slowly drizzle in milk. Continue to cook, whisking frequently, until mixture comes to a boil and thickens. Remove from heat and add 3/4 of mozzarella and Swiss cheese. Whisk until smooth. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Adjust oven rack to lower middle position and preheat oven to 400°F. 

Place a small amount of white sauce at the bottom of the 13 x 9 dish.  Lay a single layer of pasta sheets over that.  I used the ready to use kind, fresh in the Dairy Section of my local grocery store.

Top with a thin layer of spinach/ricotta mixture.  I only had a small amount of pasta sheets so I just did a few layers, dividing it into thirds. Pour a little sauce over that and lay down your next layer of sheets.  Finish with some sauce on top of the pasta sheets.

Cover tightly with aluminum foil. Bake for 20 minutes. Remove foil and continue baking until bubble and lightly browned, about 20 minutes longer. Let rest at room temperature for 5 to 10 minutes, then slice and serve.

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