Thursday, November 5, 2015

Ricotta Spinach Lasagna


As a foodie mama, I have this love hate relationship with ketchup. I think many moms feel me on this one. On one hand I'm grateful for ketchup because hey, it gets kids eating. On the other hand.... we shvitz and toil in the kitch, cook-up all kinds of creative meals to feed our kids, and when we get all excited about introducing a new delicious meal or veggies.... they stare back at us with those cute little eyes asking for ketchup  (sigh).

Luckily, I broke ground with my little one who now loooooves this classic ricotta spinach lasagna. Fall is the time of year to feast on one-dish dinners where you can pile up veggies, protein and carbs in one (minus the ketchup). So until I figure out how to terminate my older daughter's ketchup obsession, this is one meal I'm making.

INGREDIENTS
  • 1 bag of spinach - 3 cups ( you can use more, it makes it healthier)
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 2 tbsp of olive oil
  • 300 g of ricotta cheese - 1 container
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • 1 bag of grated or fresh mozzarella
  •  Marinara sauce of choice or plain tomato sauce if you do not have marinara
  • Store-bought dried noodles, cooked
  • Salt to taste ( I use Kosher salt- it is coarser than table salt)
  • optional - basil leaves in the sauce
  • optional - grated Parmesan cheese, (about 1/2 cups)
Equipment
  • 9-by-13 inch baking dish

INSTRUCTIONS




  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees and ensure rack in the middle is in place.
  2. Set a large stockpot of boiling salted water and cook the lasagna sheets.
  3. Combine ricotta, egg, nutmeg, ground pepper and salt in a medium bowl. Season with pepper. Coarsely grate 1/2 of the mozzarella, and stir into ricotta mixture. Using your fingers, shred remaining mozzarella into 2-inch strips, and reserve.
  4. For the Spinach: Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. When oil shimmers, add onions and 1/2 teaspoon salt and cook, stirring occasionally, until translucent, 3 minutes. Add spinach, a few handfuls at a time, and cook, stirring frequently, until all spinach is wilted, 3-5 minutes. Transfer to a strainer and press against spinach to remove as much liquid.
  5. Combine the Spinach into the ricotta mixture.
  6. Heat your marinara sauce, you can add some basil leaves at this point and a bit of olive oil. No need to cook the sauce, simply warm it up.
  7. For assembly: Spread 1/2 cup sauce in a 9-by-13 inch baking dish. Place a layer of noodles over marinara. Spread 1/3 of the ricotta spinach mixture over noodles. Place a layer of noodles over the cheese layer. Spread 1 cup sauce over noodles. Repeat layering (noodles, marinara, noodles, ricotta mixture). Spread remaining marinara over cheese layer, then sprinkle with shredded mozzarella and Parmesan.
  8. Place baking dish on a rimmed baking sheet. Bake until cheese is golden brown and sauce is bubbling, 45 to 50 minutes. I usually know its ready when it smells delicious in the kitchen. 
  9. Let it stand for 15 minutes before slicing and serving.