Lasagna Florentine: Classic Spinach Lasagna

Much as we  love meat and traditional lasagna, spinach lasagna has become a classic in our family, so I want to share our family’s secret recipe, created generations ago by our Italian forefathers. (Just kidding; I don’t know if I have a drop of Italian blood, although we’re getting our DNA tested, so maybe…Alan is quite sure he has an Italian stomach.) At any rate, here’s the recipe I’ve developed through experimenting after taste-testing many a great dish.

Classic Spinach Lasagna

Prepare 12 lasagna noodles by simmering in boiling, salted water until starting to become tender (about 5 minutes; don’t over cook. If you work fast, you can boil the noodles while you’re preparing the sauce, but otherwise, prepare the sauce first.)

1.  Sauté in a big skillet with 1/4 cup melted butter:
1 chopped onion
2 tablespoons fresh garlic
1 chopped red pepper
8 oz. sliced mushrooms
10 oz. spinach (add at the end until just barely wilted)

2. Add to sauce:
8 oz. softened cream cheese (stir until blended)
16 oz. cottage cheese (or Ricotta, which is more expensive but traditional)
1 cup sour cream. Heat everything in skillet until blended.

3. Layer in a 13″ by 9″ pan:
3 pasta noodles and 1/4 of the sauce spread over them evenly
Repeat until all the pasta noodles and sauce are in the pan
Smother with 1 pound shredded mozzarella cheese

4. Bake for 45 minutes covered with foil in oven at 350.° (Make sure the foil isn’t touching the cheese, or the cheese will all melt and stick to it.) Remove foil and continue baking for 15-20 minutes or until golden brown. (Check a couple of times.) Let it cool for 10+ minutes before serving.

“Prove thy servants, I beseech thee, ten days; and let them give us pulse to eat, and water to drink. Then let our countenances be looked upon before thee, and the countenance of the children that eat of the portion of the king’s meat: and as thou seest, deal with thy servants. So he consented to them in this matter, and proved them ten days. And at the end of ten days their countenances appeared fairer and fatter in flesh than all the children which did eat the portion of the king’s meat. Thus Melzar took away the portion of their meat, and the wine that they should drink; and gave them pulse.” (Daniel 1:12-16) Spinach Lasagna