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Wednesday, April 21, 2010

The mystical GREEN layer

lasagna 001For the last couple of years, I have made a point of  always including this weird, magical, mystical GREEN layer in almost every lasagna I have made.

It’s easy and turns any everyday lasagna into a gourmet treat!

So what’s in the green stuff?

A tub of ricotta cheese, some frozen spinach, an egg and salt.  Okay, sometimes, if I’m not sick and miserable – like today – I use fresh spinach, wash it check it steam it.  But today, it was frozen Bodek spinach, straight into the blender with the other stuff.  Poke it around a bit if it doesn’t blend smoothly at first, and then it’s done.

The other trick with lasagna, which I didn’t do today, is the old “hiding-the-veggies-from-your-family-so-they-won’t-know-it’s-healthy” trick, only since my intention is not to HIDE the veggie but to combine it, it’s okay.  Just roast a red pepper or two and then purée it with the tomato sauce. 

Oh, also, in addition to one tin of pasta sauce, I blend in one tin of tomatoes.  So the red layer is usually pasta sauce – tomatoes – red peppers.  I omit the red peppers if my sister is coming over; she can’t stand them.  Also when I don’t have any or if I’m sick… like today. 

Sniffle.

Here’s how I assemble it:  red layer, pasta layer (precooked; rarely oven-ready anymore, because it just doesn’t taste as good), green layer, sprinkle mozzarella, red layer.  Repeat as many times as you have pasta and room in the pan.  Finish with a pasta layer and then a red layer over the pasta.  Wrap tightly, bake at 375 for 30-45 minutes.  Uncover, sprinkle top generously with mozzarella, and bake another 15 minutes uncovered.  Serve and delish!

lasagna 003One final word of lasagna wisdom:  if you notice halfway through the layers that you are running out of mozzarella cheese, stop!  Save it!  Nobody will notice if it’s a little skimpy in the middle… but everybody will complain if there’s none on top!

Mmm… secrets of the lasagna-making pros.

7 comments:

naomicatgirl said...

You can use regular lasagna noodles just like oven ready ones - just add a bit of extra sauce. No boiling needed, and just as yummy! Saves time, too!

Mrs. Gamgee said...

It's been ages and ages since I made lasagna! I love the green layer... I'm going to steal that one from you.

ICLW

Kristin said...

That sounds absolutely delicious. DO you have any idea if the green layer would work as well with something other than Spinach? My hubby has a horrible allergy to spinach.

~ICLW

justine said...

And ICLW blogger stopping by ... LOVE spinach lasagna! I do the same thing. :)

Sweet Pea said...

I had to do a double take on the green layer. You have some really great tips !

~ICLW #159

-K said...

At first glance I though tit was tooth paste, lol. Great blog, can't wait to read more. I'm your newest follower from IComLeavWe.

-K
http://mypottyseat.blogspot.com/

Jay3fer said...

I'm sure you could use almost ANYTHING to create the green layer. Steamed broccoli comes to mind, but really, any veggie you like which will steam and purée well.

Is your dh okay with chard? Beet greens? Both are good substitues for spinach that will work in almost any recipe.

There is also, if you garden, a "New Zealand Spinach" that is not spinach at all. If he's allergic to real spinach, you might want to check that out. Never tried it, though.

Thanks to all ICLW participants for dropping by! Looking forward to seeing your blogs...