Four Cheese & Spinach Lasagna

Four Cheese & Spinach Lasagna

One of the best lasagnas I’ve had.  The spinach can be left out if desired.  The egg can also be omitted if allergies are a concern; it will only affect the consistency of the cheese filling. 30 minutes of prep and 1.5 hours of cook time. Serves 8-10.

Recipe courtesy: Food Network

Image, but not recipe, from  ButteryBooks.com .

Image, but not recipe, from ButteryBooks.com.

Ingredients

Filling

  • Kosher salt, black pepper
  • 12 dry lasagna noodles (not no-boil)
  • ¼ c extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 (10 oz) box frozen spinach, thawed
  • 1 lb ricotta (or cottage) cheese (about 1 ¾ c)
  • 4 oz fresh goat cheese, softened
  • ¾ cup freshly grated Parmesan, Pecorino Romano, or a combination
  • ½ lb pre-shredded mozzarella, shredded (about 4 c)
  • ½ ball fresh mozzarella, cubes
  • ½ ball fresh mozzarella, sliced
  • Finely grated zest of 1 lemon
  • ½ tsp freshly grated nutmeg
  • ⅛ tsp cayenne
  • 1 large egg, beaten
  • 4 c tomato sauce, recipe follows, or your favorite jarred

Tomato Sauce

(Yield: approximately 4 c)

  • ¼ c extra-virgin olive oil
  • 4 large cloves garlic, smashed
  • 2 (28 oz) cans whole peeled tomatoes, with juices (about 7 cups)
  • 1 medium vidalia onion, diced
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • ⅔ c packed basil leaves
  • Freshly ground black pepper

Preparation

Filling & Assembly

Preheat the oven to 350 °F.

Bring a large pot of water to a boil over high heat and salt it generously. Add the lasagna noodles and boil, stirring occasionally, until al dente, about 8 to 10 minutes. Drain.

Meanwhile, heat the olive oil and garlic in a saucepan over medium heat until the garlic begins to brown. Add the spinach, season with salt and pepper and stir until the spinach dries out and the garlic is fragrant, about 3 minutes. Cool.

Mix the cottage cheese, goat cheese, Parmesan/Pecorino, 1 c of the shredded mozzarella cheese, the cubed mozzarella cheese, lemon zest, nutmeg, cayenne, and cooled spinach in a bowl. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Stir in the egg.

Cover the bottom of a 9 × 13 in casserole with a thin layer of tomato sauce (recipe below.) 

Cover with 3 of the noodles placed side-to-side, but not overlapping. Top with a ¼ of the cheese mixture and about a half cup of tomato sauce. Season lightly with salt and pepper. Repeat to make 2 more layers. Cover lasagna layers with remaining noodles, dollop remaining cheese mixture on top. Drizzle with remaining tomato sauce, then scatter the remaining 1 c shredded mozzarella on top.  Lay sliced mozzarella over that and drizzle with olive oil.

Bake, uncovered, until the lasagna is hot and bubbly, about 40 to 45 minutes. Let lasagna stand for 10 minutes before serving.

Tomato Sauce

Put the olive oil and garlic in a saucepan and cook until fragrant, 2 minutes. Add tomatoes and salt. Break up the tomatoes into small chunks with a wooden spoon and bring to a boil over high heat, lower heat to a brisk simmer, and cook until thickened, about 30 to 40 minutes.
While sauce cooks, tear basil leaves into small pieces. Remove the sauce from the heat, stir in the basil, and adjust seasoning with salt and pepper, to taste.