The Ultimate Winter Warmer: Spinach & Ricotta Lasagne

 

Serves 6

Preparation 30 minutes

Cooking time 30-40 minutes

Ingredients
2 tbsp olive oil + 1 tsp olive oil
1 knob of butter
2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
½ tsp ground nutmeg
1kg fresh spinach (or 450g frozen spinach)
450g ricotta
200g grated Parmesan + 3 tbsp for the béchamel sauce
salt and black pepper
600ml béchamel sauce (see below)
12 sheets of dried or fresh lasagne
40×20cm gratin dish

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For the béchamel sauce (makes 600ml)
2 tbsp butter
1 pinch of salt
4 tbsp plain flour
500ml milk
1 pinch each of pepper and ground nutmeg

Method
To make the béchamel sauce, melt the butter in a saucepan over a low heat. Sprinkle in the flour and salt, and whisk to form a paste. Add the milk, little by little, stirring constantly. The sauce should thicken and become smooth and creamy. Season with pepper and nutmeg. Homemade béchamel sauce should not be too thick, as you want the lasagne to be soft rather than heavy.

Preheat the oven to 180°C/gas 4. Heat 2 tbsp olive oil along with the butter in a frying pan. Add the garlic and nutmeg, fry for 2 minutes, then add the spinach.

Cook until the spinach has wilted. Remove from the heat, allow to cool, then remove as much water as possible by squeezing the spinach with your hands. Roughly chop the spinach and put it in a bowl with the ricotta and 2 tbsp grated Parmesan. Season with salt and pepper, and stir well.

Stir 3 tbsp grated Parmesan into the béchamel sauce.

Pour 1 tsp olive oil into the bottom of the gratin dish.

Lay 3 sheets of lasagne in the bottom of the dish, side by side, then alternate layers of spinach and ricotta mixture, lasagne and béchamel sauce. Repeat the process, finishing with a layer of béchamel sauce. Top with the remaining Parmesan and bake in the oven for 30-40 minutes.

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Extracted from Lasagne by Sandra Mahut (Hardie Grant, approx €10). Photography © Sandra Mahut.

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