I had a packet of Ricotta lying in my fridge. I had initially bought it for making an Indian sweet, but the amount was too much, so my hubby asked me to make something Italian with it. I did not like the idea of making pasta with it, but then one day I felt like making something with frozen spinach...and thought of "......ricotta?" I knew a recipe of ricotta and spinach, Ravioli, but neither had the time to start making this time consuming recipe nor the motivation. "Hmmm.......... A lasagna?......A spinach ricotta lasagna?? YES!!"
I'm sure all those cooking regularly know what I am talking about. Once you start using an ingredient, know its smell, texture, taste, you get more an more flexible with how to use it without having to look for recipes.
450 g frozen spinach (4 pieces of Iglo spinach)
200 g Ricotta cheese
1/2 tsp vegetable stock
1 pinch black pepper
1 pinch chilli powder
1 tsp dijon mustard
1-2 large tomatoes, chopped
1 large clove garlic, sliced
1 large onion, finely chopped
salt to taste (if required)
1 heaped tbsp all purpose wheat flour (type 405 or 550)
2 tbsp rape seed oil (or butter)
20-30 g Parmesan, grated
200 ml milk
50 ml cream
100 ml water
1 tsp vegetable stock
salt, to taste (if required)
8 lasagne plates (not requiring any precooking)
1-2 tbsp breadcrumbs (optional)
5-6 thin slices of goat cheese (optional)
a bunch Basil leaves, washed and chopped
- Thaw the spinach in a bowl, covered, in the microwave with a tsp of water
- Or : in a saucepan on the cooktop with 1/4 cup water on low heat and discard the water left after thawing
- Stir together ricotta, mustard, vegetable stock, chilli and pepper
- Chop the tomatoes into small cubes, mix with spinach and ricotta cream
- For the sauce heat the oil in a saucepan, add flour and keep stirring till frothy and starts smelling good.
- Take the saucepan from cooktop and add milk while quickly stirring with a whisk.
- Put back on cooktop and cook while stirring regularly. Once it starts cooking, stir with a whisk constantly, reduce heat, add cream, vegetable stock and water.
- Cook for further 2-3 minutes, add parmesan and switch off the heat
- Wet lasagne noodle sheets with water
- Spread some sauce on the base of a porcelain baking dish (approx. size 30 cm x 20 cm) and then place two lasagne plates next to each other. Spread the ricotta-spinach filling over it and a few tablespoons of the sauce.
- Put the next layer of wet lasagne plates, the ricotta-spinach and the sauce and repeat the steps with the third layer.
- Cover with the last two sheets of lasagne, pour the rest of the sauce over it, sprinkle breadcrumbs and put some slices of goat cheese on top and bake in the oven at 180 °C convection oven for 30 minutes (200°C electric)
- Serve garnished with chopped basil
I use a dried vegetable stock without any kinds of flavours, aromas, emulsifiers, binding agents, flavour enhancers, i.e., no Maggie and Knorr for me. I have used them before, whenever the recipe called for it and was always irritated with these totally displeasing Maggie/ Knorr taste in the food. Until I discovered that organic vegetable stocks can be a thousand times better substitutes. And that brings a world of difference in the flavour - it also tastes thousand times better, in my opinion.
You'll also find the recipe at the blog : The back burner