Spinach and ricotta lasagne
We all know that spinach is one of the healthiest vegetables we can eat, bursting with vitamins, minerals and antioxidants, but trying to get children to eat it is about as easy as getting them to turn off the television and do their homework! So try hiding the vegetable in this tasty lasagne. The pinch of nutmeg enhances the subtle flavours of the spinach, and the ricotta, although a low-fat cheese, gives it a creamy texture. The pine nuts add crunch and are an excellent source of zinc needed for growth.
Ingredients (Serves 4)
- 850ml semi-skimmed milk
- 50g olive oil spread
- 50g plain flour
- 1 bay leaf
- 60g grated Parmesan
- 600g spinach
- 225g ricotta
- 12 lasagne sheets (ready to cook)
- 50g pine nuts, toasted
- Half tsp of nutmeg powder
- 100g blue cheese, crumbled
- 100g grated Mozzarella
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Preheat the oven to 180°C /Gas Mark 4.
Place the milk, olive oil spread, flour and bay leaf in a saucepan, season, and whisk together over a medium heat continually until it comes to simmering point and has thickened.
Turn the heat down to its lowest possible setting and allow the sauce to cook gently for 5 minutes. Then, stir in most (50g) of the Parmesan, remove the pan from the heat and discard the bay leaf.
Remove the stalks from the spinach, then wash the leaves thoroughly in two or three changes of cold water and shake them dry. Take a large saucepan and add a little olive oil spread and the spinach leaves. Place the pan over a medium heat, put the lid on and cook the spinach for about 2 minutes.
Drain the spinach in a colander and, when it's cool enough to handle, squeeze it in your hands to get rid of excess liquid, then chop finely. Put it into a bowl, add the ricotta, 150ml of the sauce, season and add the nutmeg. Mix together and then fold in the crumbled blue cheese.
Assemble the lasagne by spreading one-quarter of the sauce into the bottom of the dish, then one-third of the spinach mixture, followed by a scattering of toasted pine nuts and place sheets of pasta on top of this. Repeat the whole process, this time adding one-third of the grated Mozzarella along with the pine nuts, then the lasagne sheets. Repeat again, finishing with a layer of pasta, the rest of the sauce and the remaining Parmesan and Mozzarella.
Bake for 50-60 minutes until the top is golden and bubbling.