Spinach Lasagna with Fresh Basil

2016-01-22 13.46.25Someone in this house had some dental surgery and was limited to soft foods for a week or so. This is a great go-to comfort meal for when you want taste but can’t really chew. Or anytime, really. It’s good for dinner, good cold for breakfast, good heated up in a bowl for lunch. And it gets better every day.

Ingredients

  • 1 package lasagna noodles.  You want to use the whole package, because some of them will break, and this way you’ll have whole ones when it’s time to layer.
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 cups chopped shiitake mushrooms (substitutions are ok, but I wouldn’t use anything but shiitake myself)
  • 1 chopped onion
  • 1 clove minced garlic
  • 3 cups fresh spinach
  • 3 cups ricotta cheese
  • 1 cup grated Romano cheese
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 2 bunches fresh basil leaves
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 large egg
  • 3 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 3 cups tomato pasta sauce—I don’t make this from scratch very often, so to entertain myself I’ll blend three different jar sauces
  • 5 cups grated Parmesan cheese

Directions

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  • Bring a large pot of lightly salted and oiled water to a boil.
  • Blanch the spinach for a few minutes, and use a strainer to remove it. Drain, then squeeze out excess liquid. I do this with my hands; it’s fun. Chop spinach.
  • You can use the same water for cooking the noodles. Add lasagna noodles one at a time, so they don’t stick to each other. Don’t use instant lasagna noodles for this dish. Cook for 8 to 10 minutes or until al dente, then drain.
  • In a skillet over medium-high heat, cook mushrooms, onions, and garlic in olive oil until onions are tender. Drain excess liquid and cool.
  • Combine ricotta cheese, Romano cheese, spinach, salt, oregano, pepper, and egg in a bowl. Add cooled mushroom mixture. Beat for 1 minute. Lay 5 lasagna noodles in bottom of a 9 x1 3 inch baking dish. Spread one third of the cheese/spinach mixture over noodles. Sprinkle 1 cup mozzarella cheese and 1/3 cup Parmesan cheese on top. Spread 1 cup pasta sauce over cheese. Place fresh basil leaves on top of each layer.  Repeat layering 2 times.
  • Cover dish with aluminum foil and bake in a preheated oven for 1 hour.
  • Add 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese. Cook uncovered, just until cheese is bubbling, about 10 more minutes.
  • Cool 15 minutes before serving.

The house mouth invalid said this was the best lasagna he’d ever eaten. I don’t know if that was the painkillers speaking, but I liked it too. (He’s back to real food now.)

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