Monday, February 20, 2012

Recipe: Corn and Spinach Lasagna

Lasagna is a classic Italian dish that has become Americanized with the addition of sausage, an abundance of cheese and ground beef.  But lasagna's origins were in Greece, not Italy where it was called "lasanon" where refers to a chamber pot.  Romans took the name and shape of the pot and made a dish with layers in a "lasanum" a Roman Lasagna Pot.
Lasagna or lasagne (plural) is dated back to the 13th century, where layers of cheese, meats and vegetables were featured.
Today's lasagna is commonly thought of as a casserole, being made in a large dish and served at events, functions and holidays.
Homemade lasagna, made with homemade sauce, noodles and fillings is quite an undertaking.  I came up with an rather untraditional vegetable lasagna, featuring corn and spinach and being "tomato free".

16 oz marscapone
12 oz part skim ricotta
1 cup grated Parmigiano cheese
2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
3 cups fresh spinach leaves, washed and dried
2 cups corn kernels
1/2 tsp grated nutmeg
salt & pepper
1/2 cup light cream
2 T olive oil
1 pound dried lasagna noodles, cooked partially very al dente --just enough to make it flexible

Prepare the fillings by blending blending the marscapone with ricotta in a food processor until the mixture is smooth.  Add in 1/3 cup Parmigiano cheese and 1 cup grated mozzarella. Add in salt and pepper to taste.  Pulse 4-5 times.  Add the light cream and corn.  Blend until combined.
Scoop out half of the mixture into a medium sized bowl, leaving 1/2 the mixture inside the food processor.  In the processor mixing bowl add the spinach and nutmeg.  Pulse until combined. Set aside.
Grease a lasagna pan with olive oil.
Layer the bottom of the pan with lasagna noodles.
Spread a layer of corn filling on top of noodles.  You should use 2/3 of the mixture.
Add another noodle layer.
Spread a layer of the spinach filling, about 1/2 of the mixture.
Add another noodle layer.
Spread remaining corn and spinach layer over noodles.
Add one more noodle layer.
Top with remaining mozzarella and Parmigiano cheese. Drizzle with olive oil.
Place a layer of parchment paper on top of the lasagna.
Cover with tin foil.
Place in 350 degree oven for 45 minutes.
Or freeze until ready to use.  Thaw and then cook as directed.
Or refrigerate lasagna until ready to serve.  Let dish warm in room temperature for 20 minutes before placing in oven at 375 for 45 minutes.

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