Cheesy Tomato and Spinach Lasagna

October 2, 2012

I wanted to buy heirloom tomatoes since the beginning of this past spring and for some reason I never did. It’s funny how that happens a lot in life too. We want to do something and other things get in the way. We want to achieve something but distractions all around get the better part of us, losing motivation and not allowing us to get where we want to be.

That is why is so important to surround yourself with good people who will lift you up, keep you grounded, focused and who will be there when times get tough. Starting this blog has been one of those projects that require a lot of faith. For the past two years I have been blogging in some form but never finalized my dream of sharing what I am really passionate about: food for the belly and soul. So, I want to thank all of you that have encouraged me and that have been a constant reminder that I can do it. Thank you for helping me be stronger than all the noise and distractions around me.

Back to the heirloom tomatoes! As a blogger, I decided to keep ideas flowing by subscribing to culinary magazines like Bon Appetit, as a way of surrounding myself with good inspiration. It was their August issue cover picture that placed me back on track to cook with tomatoes at last.

There I was one to one with these plump, meaty, and juicy tomatoes. I was first tempted to eat them as-is to enjoy their fresh and exquisite sweetness but I also pondered if it would be a good idea to use them as a meat replacement in a vegetable lasagna. So I did.

Here is my extra Cheesy Heirloom Tomatoes and Spinach Lasagna

I used three types of cheese: fresh mozzarella, pecorino romano, and ricotta which I mixed with fresh basil.

You can take a regular lasagna recipe and enhance it with extra cheese and substitute ground meat for tomatoes and spinach.

For this recipe I used heirloom tomatoes as they have depth of flavor that can’t compare with regular commercial tomatoes. If you have not tried them you are really missing out.

Cheesy Heirloom Tomatoes and Spinach Lasagna – yields 6 to 8

Inspired by yummy mummy kitchen’s recipe

Ingredients

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

3 garlic cloves (chopped)

10 oz. baby spinach

3 medium heirloom tomatoes (cored and sliced)

16 oz. ricotta cheese

10 leaves of basil (chopped)

1 cup Pecorino Romano Cheese (grated)

16 oz. marinara sauce

8 oz. heavy cream

8 oz. fresh mozzarella cheese (sliced)

9 oz. lasagna noodles (cooked)

Directions

Preheat oven to 375.

Heat olive oil in a large pot on medium heat with chopped garlic cloves . Add spinach and season to taste with salt and pepper. Toss for about 5 minutes until spinach leaves are wilted. Set aside and make sure to wring as much water as possible before adding them to the lasagna.

Drain tomatoes slices by pressing paper towels on top of them soaking some of the juices.  Do the same with the mozzarella slices.

In a medium bowl, stir together the ricotta cheese with pecorino and basil.

In a medium pot combine the marinara sauce with heavy cream and warm over medium heat until sauce has reduce a bit, about 8 to 10 minutes.

To start assembling the lasagna, coat the bottom of a 9 x 13 inch dish with a layer of the creamy marinara sauce. Place a layer of noodles on top of the sauce. Spread 1/3 of the ricotta, basil and romano mixture over the noodles. Place 1/3 of the mozzarella over the ricotta layer. Top with 1/2 of the cooked spinach and 1/2 of the tomatoes over the cheese. Pour a thin layer of sauce on top. Add a second layer of noodles. Spread another 1/3 of the ricotta, basil romano mixture over the noodles, and layer the mozzarella on top. Continue this layering process until all of the ingredients have been used. End with a layer of noodles and some more sauce on top. Sprinkle with the remaining 1/2 cup of Romano Cheese. Bake for 45 minutes or until top is golden brown and bubbling.

TIP

Do not serve hot. Let lasagna rest in the counter for about 15 minutes.

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