We tend to eat lighter dishes during the warmer months, and I find that of late I am enjoying more and more meatless meals such as this one. This lasagna contains two of my favorite ingredients, goat cheese and spinach, and typifies my appreciation for uncomplicated lasagna dishes.
It is a very simple lasagna recipe, but as I always say, simplicity is indeed what makes Italian cuisine so wonderful. As long as you buy good quality ingredients, you can create wonderful dishes with just a few items. There are three different cheeses used in this lasagna, mozzarella, goat cheese, and Parmesan giving this baked pasta dish lots of flavor.
My favorite brands of chopped tomatoes are Pomi and Mutti. Both these products you could eat straight out of the can they are so tasty, and the tomatoes are sweet and vibrant in flavor. I use these tomatoes for everything from my Quick Sauce to my uncooked pizza sauce.
The goat cheese that works best in this recipe is the creamy, soft cheese that comes in logs and is white in color. In fact, this type of goat cheese is so soft you could actually spread it. I will encourage you to make your own pasta noodles which really does make this dish extra special, but if you are absolutely pressed for time try to buy fresh store bought sheets. The very last resort would be to use dry lasagna sheets from a box.
This lasagna is one that I had on my blog over ten years ago, but was another one of those recipes that didn’t make it back on when I did my redesign as I needed better/larger photos of it. I have been told by a number of folks that it has become their favorite lasagna recipe so I decided it was time to remake it once more to ensure the recipe worked well and to get some photos of it. I made this lasagna in 2 (8-inch square) casserole dishes, but I usually use one larger lasagna pan. I recently bought a couple of gorgeous oven-proof ceramic, hand painted casserole dishes from Deruta that I wanted to try out as seen in the photos.
- 3 Cups Unbleached Flour
- 4 Large Eggs
- Pinch of Salt
- 3 (14 oz) Cans Chopped Italian Tomatoes
- 3 Cloves Garlic Minced
- 2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
- 5 Tablespoons Chopped Fresh Basil
- Pinch of Red Pepper Flakes
- Salt & Pepper
- 1 (16 oz) Bag Fresh Spinach
- 1 (6 oz) Log Goat Cheese
- 2 Cups Grated Mozzarella
- 1 Cup Grated Parmesan Cheese
- To make the pasta, mound your flour on a large pastry board, or the counter with the salt, and make a well in the center.
- Break the eggs into this well, and start to scramble each egg with a fork as it is being added.
- Start to incorporate the eggs and flour by slowly bringing more flour in from the inside edges of the well.
- Continue adding the flour to the eggs until they are no longer runny.
- Using your hands now, bring the outside edges in, forming a large mass on your board.
- Use only the amount of flour needed to form a soft ball.
- Begin to knead the ball of dough as you would bread, pushing it down with the heel of your hand.
- Continue kneading until the dough is smooth and satiny, for about 5 to 7 minutes.
- Wrap the prepared dough in plastic wrap, and let it sit for about 30 minutes.
- Use a pasta roller or roll by hand to make long sheets of pasta 1/4 thick.
- I use my Kitchen Aide table mixer with the pasta attachment and roll my pasta to the third last position or to number 6 on the dial.
- After rolling, cut into 12 inch long strips.
- Precook in boiling water for 30 seconds, then place in ice water.
- Dry and set aside on clean kitchen towels.
- To make the sauce, cook the garlic in the oil the onion until it is tender.
- Finally add the tomatoes, basil and seasonings.
- Bring everything to a boil and then reduce heat to a simmer.
- Cook for about 10 minutes until thickened.
- Cook the spinach by either steaming it or by using the microwave.
- Allow to cool and squeeze to remove as much of the liquid as possible, then coarsely chop.
- To assemble the lasagne, add about 1/2 cup of sauce to the bottom of a large lasagne pan.
- Add a little water and mix.
- Make an overlapping layer of the noodles across the bottom of the pan.
- Spread a large spoonful of sauce on top, making sure the noodles are well covered.
- Take about a quarter of the spinach and layer on top of the sauce.
- Sprinkle some of the mozzarella on top.
- Add the next layer of noodles, then sauce, then break up some goat cheese on top.
- Sprinkle with some of the parmesan cheese.
- Continue layering in this fashion, alternating spinach and goat cheese layers.
- Spoon enough sauce to cover the top, and then sprinkle on the last of the parmesan and mozzarella cheese.
- Drop small dollops of the goat cheese to finish.
- Cover the dish with foil and refrigerate until ready to bake.
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
- If the lasagna was refrigerated, allow it to come to room temperature before baking.
- Bake for about 30 minutes.
- Remove the foil topping and bake an additional 15 to 20 minutes or until the top is lightly browned and the lasagna is bubbling.
- Let rest 10 minutes before cutting.