Spinach and Ricotta Lasagna


I did not follow any particular recipe when I made this dish. I just wanted to use whatever I had in the fridge, which happened to be frozen spinach and fresh ricotta.

UPDATE: You can substitute 4 oz goat cheese for a half a cup of ricotta. It is just enough to give the lasagna a very delicate tang from the goat cheese.

Ingredients:

  • ¾ lb dried lasagna noodles (9 noodles, 3 noodles per layer)
  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 1 cup half and half
  • 3 tbs all-purpose flour
  • 1 stick unsalted butter
  • 1/3 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 lb chopped frozen spinach
  • 1 1/2 cup fresh ricotta cheese
  • 1 egg
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1 cup freshly ground Parmesan
  • Salt, black pepper
  • Olive oil

Directions:

Bring a large pot of water to a boil with 1 tablespoon salt and a splash of oil. Add the lasagna noodles and cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Drain and set aside.

For the white sauce, bring milk and half and half to a simmer in a saucepan. Set aside. Melt 1 stick of butter in a large saucepan. Add the flour and cook for 1 minute over low heat, stirring constantly with a wisk. Pour the hot milk into the butter-flour mixture little by little. Add  salt, pepper, and nutmeg, and cook over medium-low heat, stirring constantly for 1 or 2 more minutes, until thick. Set aside off the heat.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Heat some olive oil and in a large (12-inch) saute pan. Add red pepper flakes, then thawed drained spinach.  Sprinkle with salt and pepper and cook over medium heat for about 5 minutes. Squeeze the garlic cloves and cook for 2 more minutes. Transfer the spinach into a mixing bowl and let cool. Once the spinach is cooled, add ricotta and an egg. Mix well and adjust the seasoning if needed.

To assemble the lasagna, spread some of the sauce in the bottom of an 8 by 12 by 2-inch baking dish. Arrange a layer of noodles on top, then more sauce, then 1/2 of the spinach mixture, and 1/3 cup grated Parmesan. Repeat once more, layering noodles, sauce, spinach, and Parmesan. Cover the top layer of noodles with the remaining sauce and sprinkle with Parmesan (and some black pepper if you like).

Cover with foil and bake the lasagna for 45 minutes. Remove the foil and bake for 15 more minutes until the top is somewhat golden brown. Allow to rest at room temperature for 10 minutes and serve hot.

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