Everybody I know loves lasagna! It’s the perfect dish to make for your sweetheart on Valentine’s Day and the leftovers will be a treat for several days. Lasagna has always been a dish I enjoy making but I always seem to be rushed when I prepare it. I never really have the time to put it together the way I really want to. This weekend I made this lasagna recipe, it’s similar to a recipe I found online but I tweaked it quite a bit to make it my own. It honestly is the best cheesy spinach lasagna I have ever eaten in my entire life and my son will totally agree! Preparing this recipe was enjoyable; I took my time and carefully placed each layer together. I layered the creamy cheesy sauce, lasagna noodles, ricotta filling and cheese in several layers and baked it to perfection.
I chose to use low- moisture mozzarella, Parmigiano-Reggiano, and Gruyère cheese. The Gruyere cheese is a specialty cheese; you’ll need to look in the specialty cheese section in your local grocery store to locate it. Gruyere is a hard, traditional, creamy, and unpasteurized cheese from Switzerland. It’s a rich cheese which melts to a smooth and creamy texture making a flavorful sauce. It’s important to use a low-moisture mozzarella in this recipe as it has a better meltablity than fresh mozzarella. These two cheeses are what makes this sauce so creamy and outstandingly delicious.
Fresh ingredients are always my first pick but you can use chopped frozen spinach if you choose. It’s best to use a 3 ingredient ricotta; it will state on the container if it is a 3 simple ingredient ricotta. I used Lamagna original ricotta (not sponsored). It’s all about the ingredients in ricotta and you want a ricotta with no trace of a grainy texture; instead you want a ricotta which is silky and rich. If you can’t find a 3 ingredient ricotta at your local store it’s best to replace the ricotta with whole milk cottage cheese. This lasagna comes out with a caramelized cheesy topping and bakes to perfection! It’s wonderful with some fresh garlic bread.
I promise you’ll absolutely be in love with this lasagna recipe and so will your sweetheart!
2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
1 chopped green onion
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 1/2 pounds of fresh spinach
Salt and pepper to taste
•Heat olive oil in large pan over medium heat. Add green onion and garlic; sauté. Add a dash of salt and pepper. Stir in half the spinach and allow to sauté until spinach begins to wilt; add remaining spinach. Continue to sauté and stir.
•Drain spinach and squeeze out all excess moisture. Allow to drain in a wire mesh strainer while preparing the ricotta in the next step.
24 ounces of 3 ingredient ricotta
1/2 cup finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
1/2 teaspoon of fresh or dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon fresh or dried basil
1/8 teaspoon of garlic powder
•Place half of the ricotta, 2 eggs, the Parmigiano cheese, oregano, basil and garlic powder in the bowl of a food processor; process until ingredients are well blended about a minute.
•Add (completely drained) spinach to food processor; pulse 6-8 times until spinach is chopped and evenly mixed into ricotta mixture. Spoon mixture into another bowl; add remaining ricotta and mix well. Set aside.
4 tablespoons butter
1/4 cup flour
3 1/2 cups milk
8 ounces/1 cup Gruyère cheese
8 ounces/1 cup low-moisture mozzarella
1 teaspoon nutmeg
•In a medium sauce pan on medium heat melt butter; add flour in intervals while whisking until it starts to become thick; add milk in intervals while constantly whisking. Continue to whisk until the sauce is smooth and comes to a slight boil.
•Remove from heat; add 3/4 cup of mozzarella and 3/4 cup of Gruyère cheese. Whisk until creamy and smooth. Note- this is when you’ll taste test to see if you need any additional salt to taste.
•Preheat oven to 400 degrees
•Do this step in phases. You will need 1 pound of lasagna noodles. Boil 4-6 noodles at a time for 6-8 minutes (you want to under-cook) then remove them and place in a strainer; run under cold water. Boil additional 4-6 noodles; complete the same process until the entire pound of pasta is boiled. Once noodles are cooled allow them to dry on a kitchen towel on the counter.
•Cover bottom of lasagna pan with a thin layer of sauce about 1/2 cup. Add a layer of noodles; top with ricotta mixture. Note- you can cover heavily I had a lot of ricotta left when I got to my last layer. Continue to layer sauce, noodles and ricotta. The last layer should be sauce; sprinkle remaining mozzarella and Gruyère cheese on top. Cover with foil; bake for 20 minutes. Remove foil; bake an additional 25 minutes or until the top of the lasagna is caramelized and lightly browned.
•Allow lasagna to set up for 10-15 minutes before slicing and serving.