Tuesday, October 10, 2023

Spinach Lasagna


I got this spinach lasagna recipe from Julia Turshen’s newsletter. While it was easy and absolutely delicious, it left me with a few questions. Like, why do lasagna recipes always call for a 9”x13” pan when it looks like everything would fit in an 8”x11” one? And, in this case, why are we buying regular noodles (specifically avoiding the no-boil ones) only to soak them in boiling water – I mean, just use no boil noodles, for Chrissake’s! So anyway, I changed that below because that’s how I’d make it next time. Apart from that, the Engineer and I think it was great! The kids are not big fans of lasagna because pasta is hit-or-miss with them, but that meant more for us. 

1 lb. dry no-boil lasagna noodles 
3 cups (12 oz.) grated low-moisture lactose-free mozzarella 
1 cup finely grated parmesan 
1 cup lactose-free crème fraîche (or ½ cup lactose-free cream) 
1 lb. frozen spinach, defrosted and squeezed dry 
1 Tbsp. kosher salt (I used ½ Tbsp. Morton kosher salt and would use less next time) 
1 Tbsp. garlic powder 
1 Tbsp. dried oregano 
1 tsp. freshly ground black pepper 
4 cups (32 oz.) tomato sauce (homemade or something like Rao’s) 

Preheat the oven to 400 °F. 

Set aside 1 cup of the grated mozzarella (you’ll use this to top the lasagna). 

Place the remaining 2 cups mozzarella in a large bowl along with the parmesan, ricotta, crème fraiche, spinach, salt, garlic powder, dried oregano, and black pepper. Stir everything well (the mixture will be quite thick). 

Place ½ cup tomato sauce in the bottom of a 9”x13” baking dish (I’d use my 8”x11” next time, perhaps placing it on a baking sheet to catch any drips). Spread the sauce with a spoon to cover the surface of the dish. 

Take 4 or 5 of the lasagna noodles and layer them over the sauce with the edge slightly overlapping. Spread a third of the spinach mixture over the pasta and then spread a cup of tomato sauce over that. 

Repeat the process two more times. At this point, you’ll have a naked layer of pasta on top and you’ll have used up all of your spinach mixture and noodles. All that should remain is about ½ cup tomato sauce and the cup of mozzarella you set aside. Spread that last bit of sauce on top of the pasta and sprinkle the mozzarella evenly on top. 

There was a neat drawing on Julia Turshen’s post, but if you’re like me, you might find the following representation easier than text: 
Top - 1 cup mozzarella 
 - ½ cup tomato sauce 
 - layer of pasta 
Third layer - 1/3 spinach mixture 
 - 1 cup tomato sauce 
 - layer of pasta 
Second layer - 1/3 spinach mixture 
 - 1 cup tomato sauce 
 - layer of pasta 
First layer - 1/3 spinach mixture 
 - 1 cup tomato sauce 
 - layer of pasta 
Bottom of dish - ½ cup tomato sauce 

Spray a sheet of aluminum foil with cooking spray and cover the lasagna with it, sprayed side down (this will help prevent the cheese from sticking to the foil too much). Bake for 30 minutes, then uncover the lasagna and bake until bubbling and the cheese on top is golden brown, about 25 minutes. 

Let the lasagna rest at room temperature for at least 15 minutes before slicing and serving. (This helps the pasta fully absorb the sauce.)

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