Well, this lasagna was the other recipe that I was really interested in trying. There’s just something about a steaming dish of lasagna that is the quintessential comfort food! So, if there’s an opportunity to try a new lasagna, we’re not going to pass it up!
That, and I was intrigued by the simple homemade tomato sauce that it used. As much as we would like to, we all don’t always have the time to chop a bunch of tomatoes and make our own pasta sauce completely from scratch!
This recipe starts with canned tomatoes and adds in onion, garlic, oregano, and a bit of red pepper flakes. I thought it needed a little more and added in fresh parsley, spinach, and more red pepper flakes to amp up the flavor.
I really liked having the bits of tomato to bite into instead of having a completely smooth sauce. Between that and the spinach, the flavor was a lot fresher than a typical lasagna using jarred pasta sauce.
I also used more cheese. Because, around here, we don’t skimp on cheese! I also really wanted to be able to taste the Parmesan on the top layer of cheese. That slight nutty flavor gives more flavor than just a plain mozzarella layer.
The end result was a hearty, comforting pasta dish that tastes like you spent more time on it than you actually did!
Cheesy Spinach Lasagna
Yield: 12 servings
For the Tomato Sauce
1 tbsp olive oil
1 small onion, finely chopped
1 tsp salt
4-6 garlic cloves (depending on taste preference), minced
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp black pepper
1/4 tsp dried red pepper flakes
2 (14.5 oz) cans petite diced tomatoes, undrained
2 (14.5 oz) cans crushed tomatoes, undrained
5 C packed baby spinach
3 tbsp chopped fresh parsley
For the Lasagna
15 oz. part-skim ricotta cheese
1 1/2 C grated Parmesan cheese, divided
1/2 C chopped fresh basil
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
14 no boil lasagna noodles
4 1/2 C shredded whole milk mozzarella cheese
Prepare Tomato Sauce:
Combine olive oil, onion, and salt in a large saucepan over medium heat. Cook until onion is softened, about 5 minutes. Add garlic, oregano, black pepper, and red pepper flakes. Cook for an additional minute.
Stir in tomatoes and bring to a simmer. Simmer until sauce thickens, about 15-20 minutes. Stir in spinach and parsley, cover, and remove from heat.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
In a medium bowl, mix together ricotta cheese, 1 cup Parmesan cheese, basil, egg, salt, and pepper until combined.
Spread 1/3 cup of spinach tomato sauce in the bottom of a 9x13 inch baking dish. (Dish will be very full, so do not use a smaller baking dish) Lay 3 noodles over the top. (Break pieces of noodle to fill in the crack at the end of each noodle, if desired) Spread 3 tablespoons of the ricotta mixture over each noodle. Sprinkle 1 cup of mozzarella cheese over the top. Spread 1 1/2 cups spinach tomato sauce over the cheese.
Top spinach tomato sauce with 3 noodles (filling in cracks, if desired). Spread 3 tablespoons of ricotta mixture over each noodle. Sprinkle 1 cup of mozzarella cheese over the top Spread 1 1/2 cups of spinach tomato sauce over the cheese.
Top tomato sauce with 3 noodles (filling in cracks, if desired). Spread 3 tablespoons of ricotta mixture over each noodle. Sprinkle 1 cup of mozzarella cheese over the top Spread 1 1/2 cups of spinach tomato sauce over the cheese.
Top with remaining 3 noodles (filling in cracks, if desired). Spread remaining spinach tomato sauce over the top. Sprinkle with remaining mozzarella and parmesan cheeses.
Cover baking dish with aluminum foil that has been lightly sprayed with non-stick cooking spray. Bake for 15 minutes. Remove foil and bake for an additional 25-30 minutes, or until cheese is browned and filling is bubbling.
Remove to a wire rack and allow to cool for at least 10 minutes before serving.
Store leftovers in the refrigerator.
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