After weeks of restrained eating prior to the Easter feast, we are finally loosening up with a simple, yet luscious lasagne stuffed with fresh steamed spinach and coated in a creamy white sauce. This is Italian-style cuisine at its finest, the way I learned to prepare it with the late Marcella Hazan as a guide. Lasagne sheets can easily be rolled out by hand and the dough made in minutes in a food processor, (a superior eating experience) but adds more hours to the prepping time, of course.
Spinach lasagneJoumana Accad Mediterranean, Middle Eastern April 4, 2015 Main Dish, tagged, Italian, lasagne, vegetarian, pasta,
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Passive Time: 12 minutes
1 box dry lasagne about 1 pound
8 tbsp unsalted butter or 1/2 cup oil
1/2 cup all-purpose flour or 1/2 cup cake flour
4 cups whole milk or low-fat milk
1/2 tsp grated nutmeg or allspice
2 tbsp salt or reduced-sodium salt
1 tsp white pepper or black pepper
2 cups shredded mozzarella or jack cheese or Gouda
3/4 cup grated parmesan or Manchego
2 pounds fresh spinach chopped with stems
1. In a large saucepan, melt 4 tablespoons of butter and when it sizzles, add the flour and stir to form a paste; add the milk gradually, stirring constantly. Add the nutmeg and salt to taste and when the sauce has thickened, set aside.
2. In a large pot, place the chopped spinach (stems and leaves) with a sprinkle of water. Bring to a gentle simmer and set aside as soon as the leaves wilt and soften. Transfer to a large colander and drain thoroughly, in order to keep it damp but not wet. Place the spinach in a bowl, add two tablespoons of butter and salt to taste and mix gently to combine.
3. Bring 8 cups of salted water to a boil and cook the lasagne according to the package instructions. When the paste is cooked but still firm (al dente), drain it and started assembling the dish.
4. Butter a rectangular serving dish generously; ladle some white sauce, cover with cheese and spinach and add the lasagne. Keep layering with a coating of white sauce, cheese, pasta and spinach . Ladle white sauce and cheese over the last layer of lasagne. Right before serving, bake in a 350F oven for 30 minutes until the top is bubbly and a brown crust has formed and a knife inserted in the pasta comes out hot. Serve immediately.
NOTE: You can save time by using one package of MAGGI béchamel sauce to make the white sauce, if its available in your market.
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