1 medium onion – chopped
1 tablespoon garlic – minced
1 tablespoon olive oil
3 stalks celery – chopped finely
1 tablespoon dried fennel seeds – coarsely chopped
1 tablespoon dried basil
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 14oz can diced tomato – with juice
2 8oz cans tomato sauce
1 pack frozen spinach – thawed and well drained
1 tablespoon parsley – minced
2 tablespoons romano cheese
1/2 pound ricotta cheese
1/2 pound lasagna noodles (uncooked)
1/2 pound mozzarella cheese – grated
1. Ricotta is much easier to spread if it is heated in a double boiler to soften. Be careful to stir it often.
2. Lasagna needs to sit for at least 10 mins after cooking to ‘set’. This is important, or it will slide all over the place.
Part 1 – Making the Sauce
1. Heat the olive oil in a large pan and sauté onions, garlic and celery until the onions are translucent.
2. Add the fennel seeds, dry basil and salt, and sauté for an additional minute.
3. Add diced tomatoes with juice plus tomato sauce. Using a flame tamer to diffuse the flame (if you have a gas stove) and the lowest heat possible, simmer sauce for about 35-45 mins, stirring occasionally.
Part 2 – Making the Spinach/Ricotta Filling
1. Squeeze or press liquid from spinach.
2. Mix parsley and spinach and romano cheese with the ricotta.
Part 3 – Preparing for Lasagna Assembly and Baking
1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
2. Oil an ovenproof lasagna dish/pan and cover with a thin layer of sauce.
3. Layer uncooked lasagna noodles over the sauce, then a layer of spinach-ricotta mixture and mozzarella followed by a layer of sauce.
4. Continue layering in this way until there are at least 3-4 layers of noodles in each pan.
5. Finish with noodles on the top, covered completely with sauce.
Part 4 – Baking the Lasagna
1. Bake covered for 40-45 minutes.
2. After 45 minutes, remove the cover and continue baking for an additional 10 minutes or until the top browns lightly and the lasagna interior is hot. Note that baking time may vary depending on the number of pans in the oven, their oven positions and the lasagna thickness.
3. Remove lasagna from the oven and allow to sit for 10 minutes prior to cutting so it will set.