Seven-Layer Spinach Lasagna

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Choosing a recipe is a lot like playing the Kevin Bacon game.

The Kevin Bacon game, or Six-Degrees of Kevin Bacon, centers around the small-world principle, or the idea that any two people are linked by a finite number of connections.  With Kevin Bacon, the goal is to link him to any other actor using no more than six intermediary actors.  For instance, Elvis and Kevin Bacon are separated by only one intermediary – Edward Asner, who appeared with Elvis in Change of Habit, and with Bacon in JFK. At last count, over one million actors can be linked to Bacon in fewer than six steps.

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The principle can be applied to any number of disciplines or phenomena –  from linking baseball players in various decades, to demonstrating the thought process in choosing a recipe.

Not too long ago, I made Banana Sour Cream Pancakes.  When I conducted my research on pancakes, I found a recipe for Lemon Ricotta Pancakes.  After I made those pancakes, I found myself with leftover ricotta cheese and a fast-approaching expiration date.  And thus,

Seven-Layer Spinach Lasagna

PREP TIME: 2 to 3 episodes of The Sopranos
COOK TIME: 35 minutes, plus 15 minutes for cooling
YIELD: 15 servings

WHAT TO GRAB:
MARINARA SAUCE
2 28-ounce cans of peeled, whole tomatoes (I like San Marzano)
1 can tomato paste
1/4 cup parsley, chopped
6 cloves of garlic, finely minced
1 teaspoon oregano
3 tablespoons olive oil
Salt and Pepper to taste

SPINACH FILLING
2 tablespoons olive oil
6 cups of baby spinach
2 cloves of garlic, finely minced
1 cup grated parmesan, divided
2 cups ricotta cheese
Salt and Pepper to taste

LASAGNA
Ice water
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 pound of fresh mozzarella
2 boxes of Lasagna noodles
Salt

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HOW YOU DO IT:

MARINARA SAUCE:

1.  Heat a frying pan with the oil over low-medium heat.  Add the parsley and garlic and saute over low-medium heat for about 3 or 4 minutes, stirring frequently, and making sure not to let the garlic brown.  Remove from heat and let the mixture cool.  Empty the parsley mixture into a large sauce pan.

2.  Strain the tomato juice into that same sauce pan.  Working in batches, put the whole tomatoes into the strainer, and press down on them with your hand or a wooden spoon.  I like to use a large strainer, fitted into a mixing bowl.  Juice all of the tomatoes and run your spoon under the strainer to gather what remains of the tomatoes.  Pour the tomato juice into your sauce pan.  Discard the remaining seeds and tomato bits.

3.  Add the oregano and cook the sauce over medium heat for about 30 to 35 minutes, reducing the heat as necessary if it begins to bubble.  Season to taste.  I also like to add about a half can of tomato paste for a thicker sauce.  I add the tomato paste about halfway through the cooking time.

SPINACH FILLING:

4.  While the sauce is cooking, clean out your frying pan.  Heat the frying pan with 2 tablespoons of oil over low-medium heat.  Add the spinach and garlic and saute until the spinach is reduced.  Once the spinach has cooled slightly, add the ricotta cheese, mixing well.  Add 1/2 cup of the parmesan, and mix until well incorporated.

LASAGNA:

5.  Fill a large baking dish with ice-cold water and 1 tablespoon olive oil.  (I prefer the dish over a mixing bowl to prevent the  noodles from warping).  Generously salt a pot of boiling water, and add 1 tablespoon of olive oil.  Working in batches, cook the noodles for 15 to 20 seconds, and remove them to the ice-water.

ASSEMBLING:

6.  Preheat your oven to 375 degrees.  Pour a bit of the marinara sauce into the bottom of a large baking dish.  Cover the bottom with a layer of the lasagna sheets.  Now add a thin layer of sauce, the spinach filling, and bits of the mozzarella.  Add another layer of lasagna sheets, but in a different direction than the first layer (if your first layer was horizontal, make this layer vertical), and add just the marinara sauce.  The next layer is sauce, spinach, and cheese.  Continue alternating both the direction of the lasagna sheets and the filling in the layers until you have no more sauce, spinach, or room.  Top the last layer with the remaining 1/2 cup of parmesan, and any remaining mozzarella.

7.  Bake for 35 minutes, or until everything is melted and fragrant.  Allow the lasagna to cool and settle for another 10 or 15 minutes, but serve warm!

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4 responses to “Seven-Layer Spinach Lasagna

  1. Spinach lasagna ranks among my favorite foods. Thanks for providing such a delicious sounding recipe!

  2. Hello! Would you mind if I share your blog with my facebook
    group? There’s a lot of folks that I think would really enjoy your content. Please let me know. Cheers

  3. Go right ahead! I’m glad you enjoy my blog!

  4. I like this lasagna recipe. You made it for Super Bowl 2009, a day I remember fondly :-).

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