Cold and Snowy outside? Comfort food inside! Spinach Mushroom Lasagna to the rescue!
Note: as often is the case, the recipe is for a “full lasagna” (like about a 9 x 13 casserole dish), but pictured is a somewhat smaller version… you know, being single and all, and while I love lasagna, I don’t want to eat it for a week!
Note Two: Greater Boston got virtually no snow that hit the Mid-Atlantic. I was just looking for another excuse to make lasagna. [grin]
for the Tomato Sauce
1 medium onion, chopped
3 cloves of garlic, chopped
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 tablespoon oregano
1 cup red wine
32 oz can crushed tomatoes
Salt and pepper, to taste
1 tablespoon tomato paste
For the mushroom and spinach mixture
1/2 pound crimini mushrooms, sliced
1 clove garlic, minced
6 cups fresh baby spinach, stems removed
3 tablespoons olive oil
for the lasagna
15 oz ricotta
3 tablespoons basil pesto
2 cups mozzarella cheese, shredded
Freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1 pound (1 box) lasagna sheets, cooked according to package directions
First make the sauce. This can be made ahead of time and/or frozen. In a large pot, sauté onion in olive oil until translucent, about 5-8 minutes. Add garlic, dried oregano and red pepper and sauté until garlic begins to caramelize. Add red wine and on medium heat, allow the wine to reduce until it gets a little thicker. Add tomato paste and stir in. Stir in the crushed tomatoes and season with salt and pepper. Bring to a gentle simmer and allow to cook for about 20-30 minutes. Taste and re-season as necessary.
Next make the mushroom-spinach mixture. In a sauté pan over medium flame, heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil until shimmering. Add mushrooms and sauté until tender. Add garlic and continue cooking until just fragrant, about 30 seconds. Remove from pan and set aside. Wipe out pan (no need to wash) and replace on the flame. Heat additional tablespoon of olive oil. Add the spinach with a pinch of salt (it will look like a lot at first) and cook until wilted. Remove to a paper towel lined plate and using a second paper towel, blot out some of the water.
Now to make the lasagna. Preheat oven to 350F.
In a work bowl, combine the ricotta, egg, a few grates of fresh Parmesan and pesto with salt and pepper.
In a large baking dish, first ladle about a cup of sauce on the bottom of the dish. Then add pasta sheets, then a thin layer of the ricotta mixture evenly on top of the pasta, a handful of mozzarella cheese, then another layer of pasta, then half of the mushroom spinach mixture, followed by another pasta layer. Repeat until all your layers are done. Finish this lasagna with a layer of the mushroom spinach mixture and then the last of your mozzarella and fresh herbs.
Cover lasagna with foil and bake for 40 minutes. Then remove foil and bake for another 15 minutes so the cheese melts. When done, allow to cool for at least 20 minutes and top with fresh Parmesan cheese.