It’s hard for me to go grocery shopping having a few menus in mind for the week. Why? Because, I go to the store and see stuff that inspires me, what looks delicious that day, but that isn’t necessarily what I will be craving to eat another day. It’s always been like that… ever since I was a little girl, my mom never made a fixed dinner – it was all a la carte. Whatever you craved, that’s what you ate. Mind you, my mom did not have junk food at home, so all the alternatives were, for the most part, healthy. That’s how we learned to make our own food.
So this past week, I was browsing thru some fellow blogs and there I saw it… the Cooking Light Veggie Lasagna… I have that recipe clipped, but the photos this fellow blogger posted were amazing!!! That’s how I knew what I wanted to have for dinner that night – a spinach lasagna using white sauce. Yumo!!!! (like Rachael Ray would say).
I improvised with the ingredients I had on hand… remember, I do not go out and but any specific ingredients for any specific recipe. And even less when I got a craving at 7PM at night… I was craving some serious comfort food.
The results were really nice – so nice in fact that I decided to make this recipe for our upcoming Yoga Center Menu. I made a version at home that serves 2 and I also did a version that served 20. I’ll use the proportions for the smaller version, which is probably closer to what you’ll make at home. Here is the play-by-play (I’m into Super Bowl mode here I guess):
WHITE LASAGNA with SPINACH AND ALMONDS
4-6 lasagna noodles – I use DeBoles NoBoil Rice lasagna noodles 1 tbs olive oil 2 tbs sofrito 3-4oz cream cheese 1 cup milk 1 cup shredded Italian Cheese mix 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese – you can use Pecorino Romano also if you prefer Sprinkle of Garlic Salt Freshly cracked black pepper 1 cup frozen spinach measured frozen, defrosted and squeeze out of most the water but still wet 1/3 cup marcona salted almonds – but any almonds will work 4oz fresh mozarella cheese
Pre-heat over to 325 degrees F. I do this in my toaster oven for just 2 people.
In a medium saucepan over medium-high heat, heat olive oil. Add sofrito and cook for a few minutes.
Add in cream cheese and whisk in together until the sofrito and cream cheese are incorporated.
Whisk in milk. Add in the Italian cheese mix and Parmesan. Season with the garlic salt and pepper. The sauce should have a light creamy consistency. Is important the sauce be more on the liquidy side because we’re using no-boil rice pasta and the “liquidy” consistency will help the pasta cook. So you might want to err on the side of a more liquidy cream sauce rather than a tight creamy sauce.
Now we assemble the lasagna…
In the bottom of a small casserole dish, spoon a few ladles of the cream sauce. Layer lasagna noodles. Spoon more sauce. so the noodles are always touched by sauce on the top and the bottom.
Distribute evenly the thawed spinach in a layer. Sprinkle a bit of garlic salt and pepper. Sprinkle Parmesan cheese if you like. Sprinkle a 1/3 of the almonds. Shred with your hands 2-3 thin slices of the fresh mozzarella. Spoon a few ladles of the sauce.
Place another layer of noodles and spoon some sauce over them.
Repeat step #2.
Repeat step #3. This will be your last layer of noodles. Place a few slices of fresh mozzarella on top. Sprinkle the last bit of almonds you have left.
6. Cover the casserole dish and bake in oven for 30 minutes.
7. Uncover and bake for 15 minutes more until cheese on top is golden brown.
8. Turn oven off and leave in there for a few minutes until lasagna cool a bit and sets.
It seems like a lot of steps… but not really. You know how to make a lasagna… I just wanted to show you how I layered the ingredients. You don’t need to cook the spinach, just make the sauce and assemble. I had it all put together and in the oven in 20 minutes.
Believe me… this lasagna hit the spot. My cravings were curbed… until next time.