spinach lasagna

Spinach lasanga makes me think of my first date with the Tall Boy.  We dined over great conversation at a little Italian restaurant near my house, and this place had the best spinach lasagna ever. Ever.  I’m still kind of wondering what possessed me to order it the very first time I tried it, since back then I was not really a vegetable lover.

I’m still not a vegetable lover (no doubt, I would choose cookies and cake over greens and root vegetables any day), but their lasagna was to die for.

I ate it on our first date, the night we got engaged, and at our rehearsal dinner.

And then the restaurant closed.  I may have cried a little bit when that happened, because not only did it hold so many wonderful memories for me, but I’ve yet to find any other restaurant that served anything even remotely like it.  So I’ve been on a mission for quite a few years to recreate it myself.

spinach lasagna 2

I have to say, while this recipe isn’t exact, it’s pretty close.  I used egg noodles here, which the original version certainly didn’t have.  However,  these are quicker to cook, don’t clump together, and have a solid bite, so they are a fairly good substitution for traditional pasta.  Plus, it’s just a little easier to make if you’re attempting to assemble this on a work night while trying to frost cookies and entertain a 4-year old at the same time.  Just sayin’.

I absolutely loved the flavors in the dish.  The sauce was creamy and rich, without being too heavy, and the garlicky flavor of the pesto throughout was just lovely.  This is a wonderful vegetarian meal, though for meat-lovers, it would pair wonderfully with grilled chicken.  We’ll definitely make this again the next time we’re craving some comfort food, or just wanting to bring back the memories of some really special moments in our lives.

I love you, Tall Boy! xo

spinach lasanga 3

Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Serves: 6
For the Creamy White Sauce:
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • ½ cup finely chopped shallots
  • ¼ cup flour
  • 2 cups milk, warmed
  • ¼ cup grated parmesan cheese
  • salt and pepper
For the Lasagna:
  • 1½ pounds baby spinach
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • salt and pepper
  • 8 ounces wide egg noodles
  • 2 cups creamy white sauce
  • 6 ounces goat cheese
  • 4 tablespoons pesto sauce
  • 1½ cups coarse fresh breadcrumbs
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
For the Creamy White Sauce:
  1. Melt butter in medium saucepan over medium heat. Add shallots and cook until tender, about five minutes. Stir in flour for two minutes. Gradually whisk in milk, and bring to a boil and cook for two minutes, whisking constantly. Remove from heat and stir in parmesan and salt and pepper, to taste.
For the Lasagna:
  1. Preheat oven to 400.
  2. In a large saucepan, bring two inches of water to a simmer. Add the spinach in batches, stirring until wilted. Drain and let cool. Squeeze out excess moisture and chop.
  3. In a large skillet, melt two tablespoons butter over medium heat. Add the garlic and stir until golden, about one minute. Stir in the spinach. Season lightly with salt and pepper; remove from heat.
  4. Cook egg noodles to al dente and drain (do not rinse) and stir in the white sauce to coat.
  5. In a greased 8x8 baking dish, layer in half of the noodles. Dot with half of the goat cheese, spread the spinach on top and press down. Stir three tablespoons pesto into the remaining noodles and spoon over the spinach. Dot with remaining cheese. Cover with foil and bake until bubbling, about 35 minutes. Let stand for 10 minutes.
  6. Meanwhile, in a large skillet, melt the remaining two tablespoons butter over medium heat. Add the breadcrumbs and cook, stirring until golden and crisp. Season with salt and pepper. Combine the remaining one tablespoon pesto with the olive oil. Drizzle the lasagna with the pesto oil and sprinkle with the breadcrumbs.
from EveryDay with Rachel Ray, October 2011