Lasagna with Beef, Spinach, and Mushrooms
Community meeting dinner, 2/27/12 – served with roasted garlic bread
This recipe includes a homemade sauce, but you can also use 2 jars of store-bought sauce. The whole business takes some time to put together, but it makes a large batch than can easily be shared, stored for later, or even frozen.
- 2 28-ounce cans diced tomatoes*
- 1 onion
- 1 stick butter
(Alternative: use two jars store-bought tomato sauce)
- 1 16-ounce tub ricotta cheese
- 1 12-ounce tub cottage cheese
- ¼ cup chopped parsley (optional)
- salt and pepper
- 2 eggs
- 6 teaspoons canola oil, divided between beef, spinach, and mushrooms
- 1 lb lean ground beef
- ½ teaspoon plus 2 large pinches salt
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- 1 teaspoon italian seasoning
- 9 ounces fresh spinach (or use 1 package frozen, see notes in recipe)**
- 8 ounces fresh mushrooms, sliced***
- 2 cloves garlic, chopped****
- 1 9-oz box no-cook lasagna pasta
- 1 ½ cups shredded mozzarella cheese
- 4 ounces grated parmesan cheese
Place all ingredients in a large pot. Bring to a boil, then lower to a simmer for 45 minutes to an hour. Remove the onion, allow it to cool slightly, chop into bite size pieces, and return to sauce.
Combine cheeses and parsely (if using). Add salt and pepper to taste (the amount you need will depend on how salty your cheese was – you may not need any salt at all). Add eggs and mix thoroughly. Refrigerate until ready to use.
In a large skillet, heat 2 teaspoons oil. Brown the beef. While browning, add ½ teaspoon salt, black pepper, and italian seasoning. Remove the beef from the pan and allow to drain.
Return the skillet to the heat with an additional 2 teaspoons oil. Add the spinach and a large pinch of salt. Cook, stirring regularly, until the spinach is just wilted, 1-3 minutes. Remove from the pan and allow to drain. (Note: if using frozen spinach, cook according to package directions.)
Return the skilled to the heat with the remaining 2 teaspoons oil. Add the sliced mushrooms and chopped garlic with a large pinch of salt. Cook until the mushrooms are browned, 5-8 minutes. Remove from the pan and allow to drain.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
In a 9×13” pan, add ½ cup of the sauce. Lay one layer of pasta sheets on top (this should be ¼ of the total sheets, since you will be making 4 layers).
Add another 1 ½ cups of sauce (this measurement is approximate – the pasta should be covered with a thin layer of sauce). Sprinkle half the ground beef over the sauce. Then add ⅓ of the cheese mixture (it doesn’t have to be spread perfectly evenly). Top with the second layer of pasta.
Add another 1 ½ cups of sauce. Squeeze excess liquid out of spinach, then spread over the layer. Sprinkle the mushrooms over the layer. Add another ⅓ of the cheese mixture, then top with the third layer of pasta sheets.
Add another 1 ½ cups of sauce. Sprinkle remaining ground beef, then remaining ⅓ cheese mixture. Top with the last pasta sheets.
Add a final 1 ½ cups of sauce (reserve any remaining sauce for another use). Sprinkle with the mozzarella and parmesan cheeses.
Cover the pan with foil and bake for 30 minutes. Remove foil and bake an additional 30 minutes. Allow to cool 15 minutes before slicing into 20 portions and serving.
Yield: 20 servings.
*Canning summer tomatoes allows you to use your garden produce any time of year.
**Garden spinach can be blanched and frozen for use any time of year.
***For the ambitious and entrepreneurial, mushroom growing (generally done indoors) can be a lucrative operation.
****Garlic is easy to grow in Nebraska and store for long periods of time.