Recipe: Spinach, ricotta and tomato lasagne

By Annabel Karmel, March 4, 2010
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I have been busy writing a new book, 100 Top Pasta Dishes, so every night for six months if anyone asked what was for dinner, it was always pasta. If it were it any other food my children would rebel but pasta is so versatile I haven't heard a squeak from them. Here is a sneak preview from the book which is published in May.

Makes 6 portions

Ingredients
9 sheets, not pre-cooked or fresh lasagne

Tomato Sauce
● 2 tbsp olive oil
● 1 large onion, peeled and chopped
● 1 garlic clove, crushed
● 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
● 2 x 400g cans chopped tomatoes
● 4 tbsp sun blushed tomatoes, chopped
● 2 tbsp tomato puree

Spinach and Ricotta Filling
● 1 tbsp olive oil
● Half small onion
● 500g fresh spinach, washed and tough stalks removed
● 250g ricotta cheese
● 2 tbsp grated Parmesan
● Salt and black pepper

Cheese Sauce
● 30g butter
● 30g plain flour
● 450 ml milk
● 75g grated gruyere cheese
● Salt and freshly ground black pepper
● 4 tbsp fresh grated Parmesan cheese

Method

● Preheat the oven to 180°C/350° F/ Gas 4. To make the tomato sauce, heat the olive oil and sauté the onion and garlic for 4 minutes.
● Add the balsamic vinegar and cook for about 30 seconds. Drain half the juice from the cans of chopped tomatoes and add the tomatoes, sun blushed tomatoes and tomato puree.
● Bring to the boil and simmer for 10 minutes.
● Meanwhile, heat the oil and sauté the onion for 4 minutes until softened, stir in the spinach and cook until wilted, then squeeze out the excess water. Mix with the ricotta cheese and 2 tbsp of freshly grated Parmesan and chop for a few seconds in a food processor. Season with a little salt and pepper. Set aside.
● For the cheese sauce, melt the butter and stir in the flour and cook for about one minute. Gradually stir in the milk and cook for about 2 minutes until thickened. Stir in the grated gruyere and season to taste.
● If using fresh lasagne, cook it according to the instructions on the packet.
● To assemble the lasagne, spoon a third of the tomato sauce on the base of a fairly deep ovenproof dish (about 24cm x 19 x 7) and cover with a layer of the spinach and ricotta mixture. Cover with 3 sheets of lasagne followed by a layer of tomato sauce.
● Repeat with each layer twice, finishing off with a layer of the cheese sauce.
● Sprinkle over the Parmesan cheese and bake in the preheated oven for 30 minutes.

Annabel Karmel has written 19 books on feeding babies, children and families. For more recipes, visit www.annabelkarmel.com

Last updated: 11:29am, March 4 2010