Why: Cook’s Illustrated has a new magazine out called Entertainment. It’s a quarterly featuring “best of” seasonal recipes. I signed up for a free trial, and I think I’m hooked. The first recipe I tried was this spinach lasagna.
Complications: The only complications were getting S to go along with all the instructions. When I grabbed cottage cheese instead of ricotta at HT, mutiny was narrowly avoided by reminding him of the number of lasagnes he’s made (0) compared to the CI kitchen (→∞). Oh, and I subbed mozzarella for fontina.
Result: This recipe alone will get me to subscribe. It was so good! I’m ashamed of all the spinach lasagnas I’ve made in the past, they come nowhere near this masterpiece. Seriously. So delicious. Recipe follows.
from Cook’s Illustrated
1 tb table salt
2 (10 oz) packages curly spinach (not baby), stemmed and rinsed
Fill large bowl w/ ice water. Bring 4 quarts of water to boil in a very large pot over high heat. Add salt and spinach for 5 SECONDS, then skim out spinach very quickly into ice water. When cool, drain spinach and transfer to kitchen towel. Squeeze out ALL water, then chop medium. Set aside.
5 tb butter (+1 for baking dish)
5 large shallots, minced (~ 1 c)
4 med garlic cloves, minced (~ 4 ts)
3 1/2 c milk
2 bay leaves
3/4 ts fresh grated nutmeg
1/2 ts table salt
1/4 ts black pepper
1 oz (~ 1/2 c) Parmesan cheese (I omitted)
Melt butter, add shallots and garlic and cook about 4 mins. Add flour and cook about 2 minutes but don’t brown. Gradually whisk in milk. Bring to boil, whisk in spices, reduce heat to simmer for about 10 minutes. Whisk in parm, discard bay leaves. Transfer to bowl, press plastic wrap on surface (to avoid skin forming), and set aside.
Cheese & Pasta
8 oz whole milk cottage cheese
1 lg egg
1/4 ts table salt
Blend those three in a blender until smooth and set aside.
Place 12 no boil lasagna noodles (Barilla are best) in broiler proof (I used glass Pyrex, even though not really broiler proof) 13 X 9 pan. Cover with hot tap water and let sit 5 minutes. Remove and lay on kitchen towel in single layer. Rinse out and dry pan.
8 oz (~2 c) Italian fontina chz, shredded (I used mozz)
Preheat oven to 425 with rack in the middle. Grease pan w/ 1 tb of butter.
- Spread 1/2 bechamel. Top w/ 3 noodles.
- Mix the spinach in the rest of the sauce, then spread 1 c over noodles. Top w/ 3 noodles.
- Spread 1 c of spinach/bechamel, sprinkle 1 c shredded cheese, top w/ 3 noodles.
- 1 c spinach/bechamel, spread cottage cheese mixture evenly, top w/ 3 noodles.
- Remaining 1 c spinach/bechamel, remaining 1 c shredded cheese, 3 noodles.
- I still had more noodles, so I topped the whole last layer w/ 3 more noodles and sprinkled a little more shredded cheese. It did not get too dry.
Cover with foil and bake 20 minutes. Remove foil and cook under broiler for 4-6 minutes until the cheese is spotty brown. Cool 10 minutes before serving.