Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Spinach and Eggplant Lasagna

If you're a lasagna lover, you have to try this recipe. Although it's vegetarian, it's still very fulfilling and the eggplant slices give it a meatier taste. If you're observing Lent, you gotta make this on Friday! I got all my ingredients at Trader Joe's. You can find the no-boil lasagna noodles in the refrigerator section. I also used Trader Joe's Tomato & Basil organic pasta sauce. If you're not too fond of eggplant, you can omit it entirely and just simply add one more package of frozen spinach to the ricotta mixture. Buen provecho!!!

INGREDIENTS (serves 6)

  • 4 cups (32 ounces) whole-milk ricotta cheese
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 package (10 ounces) frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed to remove excess moisture
  • Kosher salt and fresh ground pepper
  • 6 cups store-bought or homemade tomato sauce
  • 12 no-boil lasagna noodles (about 8 ounces)
  • 4 cups fontina cheese, shredded (you can substitute with grated Mozzarella if you can't find Fontina)
  • 1 fairly large eggplant, sliced into 1/4" thick rounds (about 12 slices)
  • Olive oil
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Place the sliced eggplant in a colander and generously salt with kosher salt. Let it sit over the sink for 30 minutes. This removes excess moisture from eggplant. After 30 minutes, rinse the slices with water and pat them dry. Place the slices in a baking sheet and brush each one with olive oil. Bake them in the 400 degree oven for 20 to 30 minutes, or until they brown. Remove from oven and set aside. Leave the oven on.

In a medium bowl, whisk together ricotta cheese, eggs, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Add the spinach and stir well to combine.

Spread a small bit of tomato sauce in the bottom of a 9x13" glass baking dish. Arrange a layer of lasagna noodles on top. Spread 1/3 of the ricotta mixture over the noodles, followed by 6 slices of eggplant, then followed by 1/3 of the tomato sauce; sprinkle 1/3 of the grated cheese. Repeat to make two more layers. The final layer will not have eggplant slices, but do end the last layer with grated cheese.

Cover with aluminum foil. Bake 30 minutes. Remove foil; continue baking until top is golden brown, about 15 minutes more but make sure you check at 10 minutes. Let it cool a couple of minutes before serving. Serve with a side salad and country French bread.

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