Spinach, Cheese & Tomato Lasagna ( Part 1 ) Recipe

Step 1

EGG PASTA: Combine the flour and the salt in a bowl, make a well inthe middle, add the egg and the olive oil. Using your fingers,lightly and gradually work the egg into the flour so that it iscompletely distributed throughout. When it is well combined, pressthe mixture together to form a dough. Turn it out onto a counter andbegin to work it together. If it is too dry, add drops of water, afew at a time, to moisten the dough and help it come together. Kneadthe dough for about 10 minutes, until it feels smooth and supple. Putit in a plastic bag or wrap it in plastic, and set it aside to restat least half an hour, preferably an hour before rolling it out.

Step 2

LASAGNE: Prepare the pasta dough and set it aside to rest. Grate orslice the cheese; then prepare the tomato sauce and spinach-cheesefilling. Heat the oil in a wide skillet, add the onion, garlic andmarjoram or oregano and saute until the onion is transparent andsoft. Season with salt; then add the tomatoes and wine. Cook slowlyuntil the sauce is thickened. If the tomatoes are overly tart,correct the acidity by adding a pinch or two of sugar. Once they arecooked, pass them through a food mill; then season to taste with afew drops of vinegar, freshly ground black pepper and more salt ifneeded.

Step 3

SPINACH-CHEESE FILLING: Remove the stems from the spinach;discard any bruised or yellow leaves. Wash the spinach well in 2changes of water. Roughly chop the leaves into small pieces about aninch square. In a wide pan, heat the oil and saute the onion forseveral minutes; then add half the garlic, the spinach leaves and asprinkling of salt. Cook until the spinach is wilted; then remove itto a bowl and combine it with the ricotta, eggs, Parmesan, theremaining garlic and the parsley and lemon peel. Season to taste withsalt, freshly ground pepper and a scraping or two of nutmeg.

Step 4

BECHAMEL: Melt the butter in a saucepan, add the flour, and cook overlow flame for 2-to-3 minutes, stirring continuously. Scald the milkin a separate pan, then pour it into the flour-butter mixture,whisking as you do so. Season with salt, pepper and a scraping ofnutmeg and continue to cook the sauce for 15 minutes over low heat,giving an occasional stir.

Step 5

Roll the dough thin, and cut the finalstrips into pieces that will fit your baking pan. Bring a pot ofwater to a boil and add salt. Have ready a large bowl of cold water.Cook several pieces of dough at a time. Remove them when they rise tothe surface, and put them in the cold water to cool; spread on akitchen towel.

Step 6

Preheat the oven to 350F.

Step 7

Butter a 9-by-13-inch bakingdish and spread half the bechamel over the bottom. Piece togetherseveral strips of the pasta so that they cover the bottom and hangover the edges of the baking dish. (Later they will be folded overthe top, effectively sealing in the fillings.) Spread 1/2 the tomatosauce over this first layer of pasta and cover with 1/2 themozzarella. Put down another layer of pasta and cover this with 1/2the spinach-cheese filling. Continue with more pasta, tomato andmozzarella, pasta and spinach-cheese filling. Finish by laying 1-or-2strips of pasta down the center and folding the overhanging edgesover the top. Cover with the remaining bechamel sauce.

Step 8

Cover thelasagna with foil and bake for 20 minutes. Remove the foil andcontinue baking for another 15 minutes, or until the top is puffedand browned. Let the lasagne rest for a few minutes; then cut it intopieces and serve.

NOTE: Lasagne can also be made by using commercialfresh pasta sheets,

Things You'll Need

-------------EGG PASTA------------------
  • 2c Unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 2pn Salt
  • 2lg Eggs
  • 2ts Olive oil
  • 8oz Mozzarella cheese; shredded
  • 2 1/2lb Tomatoes; fresh or canned
  • - peeled, seeded, chopped
  • 3tb Virgin olive oil
  • 1sm Onion; finely diced
  • 2 Garlic cloves; minced
  • 1 1/2ts Fresh marjoram or oregano
  • - OR 1/2 tsp each dried
  • 1/2c Red wine
  • Sugar; if needed
  • Red wine vinegar
-------SPINACH-CHEESE FILLING-----------
  • 3sm Bunches spinach
  • 2tb Olive oil
  • 1sm Onion; finely diced
  • 2 Garlic cloves; minced
  • Salt, pepper and nutmeg
  • 2c Ricotta
  • 2 Eggs
  • 1c Parmesan; freshly grated
  • 3tb Parsley; chopped
  • 1ts Lemon peel; minced or grated
  • 1tb Butter
  • 1tb Flour
  • 1c Milk
  • Salt, pepper and nutmeg

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