Get your face right in there.
You’re like, wait, though, isn’t that too close? PUH-LEEZ. You and I both know that a person can never be too close to those browned lasagna edges that are the perfect amount of chewy, and that’s exactly why we like to hang out together and get wild about all the foods.
This creamy tomato lasagna florentine is layer upon layer of saucy tomato tang and garlic sauteed spinach nestled into a creamy blanket over the sauce, soaked up on all sides by thick and chewy lasagna noodles for a perfectly clean slice of comfort food. And it is giving my whole self a hug today. Correction: this week. I’ve been eating pan after pan after pan, hot out of the oven for dinner, leftovers reheated in the oven because it’s the only way I’m satisfied with the reheating of a piece of lasagna (cold lasagna centers. WHY.), and deliciously thick and pasta-sticky right out of the pan in the fridge a few hours after dinner, taking to my sauce-drip-stained 9×13 of delicious layers with a straight up fork. I’m usually not grossly in love with lasagna, but new lines have been drawn.
This week the Crazy Train is coming by our house and we are hopping right on that thing. In the next four weeks, we’ll be hitting up Galveston, San Fran, Seattle, Kansas City, and potentially a small mountain town somewhere on the West Coast where we’re going to hide out and work for a week “on location” – a term which makes it sound way more fancy that what it would actually be which is us wearing sweatpants for 7 days straight. If you have an opinion on whether or not it’s a good idea to time this over the middle portion of our kitchen remodel, hop on over to this post and leave a comment to help a clueless girl out. And to those of you who already weighed in, 1) why can’t you all just agree and make the decision easy for us? and 2) the fact that you’re willing to leave us sound remodel advice on the internet is reason #825 why I luv your self.
While we’re in and out and on the road, and because this is the way the Crazy Train rides, our house will be undergoing major demolition and re-building for the start of our semi-big-deal kitchen remodel. I’m talking like T-7 days. Can I just say one thing really quick? NEW FRIDGE. In between travel and remodel, we’re going to try to keep living at home. *cringe* I sense that this is a bad idea on some level but the Crazy Train won’t stop now, and since we’re going to be gone for a few days here and there, I’m telling myself I’ll be glad to keep close (like ultra close in your face) tabs on the progress. Do you guys mind if I do a series of posts on the best snacks in wrappers to eat while living in a kitchen construction zone? Things ’bouta get interesting.
In between the travel and the remodel, I’m going to squeeze in a few training sessions with our newest Pinch of Yum intern wait YES I SAID INTERN who will be starting this week. Someone pinch me. It’s weird enough to me that we technically own and operate a little business that is headquartered in our spider-webby, boxes-everywhere, dusty unfinished basement, but now a real live an intern? It gives me the giggles. In a totes professional way.
Last week I made this lasagna florentine so many times that I could cry. Okay, truth: I did cry. This moment brought to you by self-induced lasagna florentine perfectionism, impatience, and a head cold. I made so many tweaks to the filling and every time I cut into it, it would still be soupy. A few tears were shed somewhere between globbily gloopy lasagna attempts #800-#900. And I will now be accepting the Most Ridiculous Person of the Year award.
What I learned, though, is that if you don’t need your lasagna to hold together with awesome sliceability, and you’re more the kind of person who is okay with scooping it out with a spoon and straight into your mouth or I guess a plate if you’re normal, then you are in for a real lasagna treat when you make it the Super Saucy Way which basically just means you use a little more filling and you boil your noodles prior to baking.
This pan of hot melted cheese I MEAN LASAGNA, while not at all clean and tidy like lasagna is supposed to be, was actually my favorite – it was so saucy, so soupy at first, but absolute lasagna perfection the next day with just the right amount of moisture and a clean(er) sliceability once it was completely cooled.
Showing the Semi-Failed Lasagna Florentine in THREE.
Hey, that was kind of a fun bonding experience. Maybe we should do that more often.
Because of, like, the massive MESS that was involved with these first few attempts, I felt like it couldn’t quite be called a “lasagna”. It was somewhere between soup and casserole and melted cheese explosion, so I kept tweaking the recipe so it would be all that’s wonderful about those first few messy attempts except in a clean, sliceable form for those of us who take a lasagna out of the oven and want to eat it now now now and maybe even serve it to guests without needing bowls.
That being said, I put some extra notes in the recipe about how to get this kind of saucy wonderfulness that is lasagna florentine because I know some of you are down with this kind of delicious food messery, and if that’s you, we are of the same food spirit.
Now if you’ll excuse me, I am going to go back to trying with all my inner-goddess–green-smoothie-extra-doses-of-lasagna-and-Advil strength to kick a cold that has made itself comfy riiight here in my face. *pouts* *eatz more lazanyaz*
Your turn! Go get out your 9×13 and get yourself cozy with a bubbly pan of creamy, tomato-saucy, vegetarian comfort food.
PS. After I finished testing and perfecting this recipe, I was digging through my archives for something and I found an almost identical recipe for a spinach lasagna posted about 6 months ago. Oh my gosh. Seriously, I just forgot about it? Just pretend you don’t know that.
PSS. If you are only going to try one of my two almost identical recipes, this one is better because of the – wait for it – cottage cheese. I know. It sounds weird, but the texture of the cottage cheese when it’s run through a food processor is so creamy and wonderful and it stays creamy and wonderful in this lasagna florentine unlike ricotta which can sometimes get (hate to say it) dry and grainy and chunky, especially if you’re using good ol’ store bought ricotta. Nunnathat here – just creamy, velvety layers of spinach and cheese which we all likey.
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 2-3 cloves garlic, minced
- 4-5 cups fresh spinach
- 2 cups 4% cottage cheese
- 2 eggs
- ¼ cup ground flaxmeal (see notes)
- 1 teaspoon oregano
- 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning (mine was salty - if you're using a non-salted variety, add an additional ¼-1/2 teaspoon salt)
- a very tiny dusting of nutmeg
- a squeeze of lemon juice
- ½ cup Parmesan cheese
- 4 cups tomato sauce (DeLallo Tomato Basil. DO IT.)
- 12 no-boil or oven ready lasagna noodles (see notes)
- 2½ cups shredded Mozzarella cheese
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Heat the olive oil in a medium pan over medium high heat. Add the garlic and saute for 1-2 minutes. Add the spinach and stir around until just barely wilted. Remove from heat and set aside.
- Blend the cottage cheese in a food processor or blender until mostly smooth and creamy. Transfer to a bowl and mix with eggs, flaxmeal, oregano, Italian seasoning, nutmeg, lemon juice, and Parmesan cheese. Stir in the spinach and set aside.
- To assemble lasagna, spray a 9x13 baking dish with nonstick spray and spread a few spoonfuls of sauce around in the bottom of the pan. Arrange 3 noodles, top with about 1 cup sauce, 1 cup creamy spinach mixture, and ½ cup Mozzarella cheese. Repeat for three complete layers. Top it all off with the last three lasagna noodles, 1 cup sauce, and 1 cup Mozzarella cheese. Cover with greased foil so the cheese doesn't stick and bake for 40 minutes. Remove foil and bake for another 10 to brown the cheese. Remove from oven and let stand for 10-15 minutes before slicing and serving.
The flaxmeal adds a nice flavor/texture and helps the lasagna hold together, but I don't think it would be essential if you didn't have any on hand.