Spinach and basil lasagna

lasagna1.jpgOne of the fun things about the CSA is figuring out what to do when, for example, you have way too much fresh spinach, and too much basil for everyday seasoning, but not enough to make pesto. This is a variation on my sausage, onion, and green pepper lasagna designed to solve this problem.

I only had so much spinach and basil, and I can really only eat so much lasagna, so I make mine in a 4 1/2" x 8 1/2" glass loaf pan. That's four servings, about a third of a 9x13 pan. I should also point out that this is an extremely thick lasagna, over three inches tall!

In a sauté pan over medium heat, add a small amount of olive oil and wilt 8 oz. of fresh spinach. Season with salt and pepper. You may need to do it in two batches. Squeeze out the excess water; the easiest way to do this is to put it in a kitchen towel and twist the towel.
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Chop several handfuls of fresh basil.
lasagna3.jpgIn a large bowl prepare the ricotta cheese mixture:

1 egg, beaten
5 oz. (by weight) ricotta cheese (1/3 container)
0.6 oz. grated parmesan cheese
2.6 oz. shredded mozzarella
Red pepper flakes

Should make about 10 oz.

4 sheets of no-boil lasagna
26 oz. (by weight) tomato sauce

I like the Barilla "flat like homemade" no-boil noodles because they're perfectly sized for a 4 1/2" x 8 1/2" loaf pan.

I prepared my own homemade tomato sauce this time instead of using a jar of regular spaghetti sauce as I did before. You still need about 26 oz. (by weight) of sauce regardless.

Coat the inside of a 4 1/2" x 8 1/2" glass loaf pan with spray oil. Add the following layers, starting from the bottom:

4.3 oz. sauce
-- pasta
3.3 oz. ricotta mixture (1/3 of total amount)
half of the spinach
half of the basil
1.3 oz. mozzarella
4.3 oz. sauce
-- pasta
3.3 oz. ricotta mixture (1/3 of total amount)
4.3 oz. sauce
-- pasta
3.3 oz. ricotta mixture (1/3 of total amount)
half of the spinach
half of the basil
4.3 oz. sauce
-- pasta
8.8 oz. sauce (remainder)
1.3 oz. mozzarella

In case you're wondering about the all of the crazy weights, I prepare dishes like this on a scale. You just zero out the scale before adding each ingredient and it makes it really easy to make the same dish very uniformly and consistently.

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There is a very strong possibility that the lasagna will bubble over, so put a piece of foil on a sheet pan and set the baking dish on that for easy clean-up.

Spray the underside of another piece of foil with spray oil to minimize cheese sticking to it. Cover the baking pan with foil.

Cook at 375°F for 45 minutes, remove the top foil, and then cook for 15 more minutes uncovered.
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One problem with a lasagna this thick is that I haven't quite figured out how to serve it without it falling over, as it is above, without creating a ridiculously large serving. It still tastes great, however!

It can be frozen, but I haven't really perfected the reheating method. Boil-in-bag from frozen gets its hot without drying it out, but the cheese doesn't melt properly. Defrosting then baking at 350°F for 30 minutes dries it out too much.