If you are looking for a filling one-pot meal then Lasagna is the perfect choice. It is the delicious combination of lasagna noodles baked with alternate layers of tangy and creamy sauce - usually Bechamel or Bolognaise sauce; with meat or veggies of your choice. Easy to make but a bit time consuming, I usually find it hard to finish off more than one portion of lasagna; a generous slice of lasagna is more than enough to satiate your rumbling appetite!
Well, wouldn't actually classify it as healthy as it is very cheesy. But definitely something that you can afford to have once in a while as a special treat :D I try to minimize the cheese as much as possible (just add it on the top layer) but you can make it even richer by layering cheese as well. Normally, in most Italian restaurants you find only meat lasagna and I keep craving for the veggie version. So thought of trying it out at home and spinach and cheese is always a winning combination.
Couple of pointers: I have specified the use of Kraft Jocca cottage cheese as it is creamier than normal cottage cheese; which tends to be crumbly. So a better alternative is ricotta cheese, which was not available in our nearby store. You can experiment with different fillings but the basic method remains the same. The number of lasagna sheets to be used and the time of cooking would largely depend on the type of pasta used so it is important to follow the instructions behind the pack carefully.
Spinach Cottage Cheese Lasagna: Recipe
- Lasagna sheets 20' - 6 to 8 (as required)
- Crushed tomatoes - 2 to 2.5 cups
- Fresh spinach - 250gm chopped
- Kraft Jocca Cottage Cheese - 250gm
- Garlic - 6 to 8 pods minced
- Red chili flakes - 1/4 tsp
- Bay leaf - 1
- Italian herb seasoning - as required
- Egg (optional) - 1 slightly beaten
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Mozzarella and Parmesan cheese - as required
- Olive oil - as required
- Preheat oven to 220 deg C. Precook lasagna as per instructions on the pack (I used lasagna sheets that do not require any precooking).
- Warm 1 teaspoon of olive oil in a wok and add a quarter of the minced garlic (about 2 garlic pods). Fry for few seconds.
- As the garlic starts to sizzle, add the chopped spinach and season with salt and pepper. Stir fry on high flame for few minutes till the water dries out. Set aside to cool.
- In the same wok warm a tablespoon of olive oil, add the bay leaf and remaining minced garlic.
- As the garlic begins to brown, add the red chili flakes. To this add the crushed tomatoes. Season with salt, pepper and Italian herb seasoning. Simmer for few minutes till the sauce begins to thicken. Set aside.
- In a bowl mix cottage cheese, mozzarella cheese, Parmesan cheese and sauteed spinach. Do a taste test and adjust the salt, pepper and seasoning as required. Mix in the egg and form a uniform mixture.
- In an oven proof dish (I used a 9x5" bread pan), spread about a tablespoon of the tomato sauce. Then place a sheet of lasagne, followed by a layer of the spinach and cheese mixture. Top this with another layer of the tomato sauce. Continue layering till you have made about 5 to 6 layers. (Any excess sauce can be drizzled over the lasagna slice while serving.)
- Sprinkle a generous amount of mozzarella and Parmesan cheese on top and bake for about 15 to 20 minutes or till the cheese layer at the top begins to bubble and brown.
- Once baked, keep aside for about 10 minutes to allow the lasagna to set. Then cut into the layers for a large slice of the delicious lasagna. Serve with green salad and garlic bread for a complete meal.