Lasagna refers to a type of pasta that is long and thin, cut into fat (about 3–inch wide) strips. To prepare a lasagna, you would traditionally layer the noodles in a pan. In between the layers you would add sauce (usually tomato sauce), cheese (most often ricotta), spices, perhaps meat and/or vegetables. The entire pan is then baked to perfection. After letting the lasagna settle for a while, there is nothing like cutting out that first square and seeing all the layers dripping with flavor and goodness, stacked in a neat pile on the plate.
Once you get the basic method for preparing lasagna, you can really get creative with it, using different kinds of filling between the layers, different sauces if you want, and different types of cheese. For something a little more exotic, try this recipe for spinach and goat cheese lasagna.
- 1 lb crumbled or creamy goat cheese, (drained if necessary)
- 1⁄2 cup milk
- 2 eggs, beaten
- 1 cup aged goat cheese, shredded
- 2 cups mozzarella, shredded
- 1⁄2 cup Romano cheese, grated
- 1 10 oz box frozen chopped spinach, defrosted
- 1⁄2 cup fresh basil leaves, chopped
- 1⁄4 cup fresh parsley, chopped
- Olive oil, (for greasing)
- 4 – 6 cups fresh homemade or your favorite jar pasta sauce
- 1 1⁄2 pounds non–cook lasagna noodles, (about 16 sheets)
- Take the defrosted spinach and dump it on a clean tea towel or dishtowel. Gather the ends of the towel. Over the sink, twist the ends of the towel to squeeze out all the moisture in the spinach. Set the spinach aside.
- In a large bowl, combine the crumbled or creamy goat cheese, milk, and eggs. Stir to incorporate all these ingredients. Add 1 cup of shredded mozzarella, spinach, basil, parsley, season with a pinch of salt, and a sprinkle with black pepper. Stir.
- Grease a 9–by–13 inch lasagna pan with olive oil. Spread about 1 cup of pasta sauce on the bottom of the pan. Spread out a layer of noodles (use about 4) to cover the bottom of the pan. Allow them to overlap slightly so you don’t have any gaps in your lasagna.
- Spread about 1/3 of the soft cheese and spinach mixture onto the noodles. Ladle on about 1 cup of tomato sauce.
- Add another layer of noodles to cover the first layer. Repeat with 1/3 the cheese mixture, another cup of sauce. Add a third layer of noodles, the remainder of the cheese mixture, and sauce.
- Add the top layer of noodles. Spread a cup of pasta sauce over the layer. Sprinkle on the remaining shredded goat cheese, mozzarella, and Romano cheese.
- Rub aluminum foil with olive oil on the dull side. Cover the baking dish with it.
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Put the lasagna in for about 30 to 40 minutes, until the sauce and cheese are getting bubbly.
- Remove the cover and cook an additional 15 minutes until the cheese totally melts and begins to brown.
- Let it stand for 30 minutes before slicing and serving.