When we read Millions by Frank Cottrell Boyce in my mother-daughter book club, my daughter and I served lasagna for dinner, because it matched a special dinner mentioned in the book. Lasagna is such a great comfort food to serve to a crowd on a cold night. It’s also easy to prepare ahead so it’s ready to pop in the oven and cook in time for your book club meeting. Just serve a green salad and bread or rolls to go with it, and you have a complete meal. Here’s a great lasagna recipe that comes from one of my book club moms. It serves 6 to 8 and can easily be doubled.
Karen Gotting, Portland, Oregon
Prepared spaghetti sauce and pre-grated cheese make this easy to assemble. I don’t remember when or why I started adding the spinach but it adds color and seems healthier. I like to serve it with warm foccacia bread and a green salad. You can make it the night before and heat it up.
- 1 lb. lean ground beef
- 1 onion, chopped
- 2 Tblsp. minced garlic
- 1 jar prepared spaghetti sauce
- 9 lasagna noodles
- 16 oz. ricotta cheese
- 1 egg
- 1 tsp. nutmeg
- 1 10-oz package chopped, frozen spinach
- 1 lb. grated mozzarella cheese
- 1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Brown ground beef, onion and garlic over medium heat until cooked through. Drain any fat. Stir in spaghetti sauce, simmer while cooking noodles, stirring occasionally.
Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Cook lasagna noodles in boiling water for 8 to 10 minutes. Drain noodles, and rinse with cold water.
Microwave frozen spinach 3 to 5 minutes until thawed; drain and press out excess liquid.
In a mixing bowl, combine ricotta cheese with egg, nutmeg and drained spinach. Set aside 1/2 cup meat sauce. To assemble, spread 1/3 of remaining meat sauce in the bottom of a 9 x 13” baking dish. Arrange 3 noodles lengthwise over meat sauce. It doesn’t cover completely, leave a little space in between noodles. Spread with one half of the ricotta cheese mixture. Top with 1/3 of mozzarella cheese. Repeat layers, end with third layer of noodles. Top with reserved meat sauce and remaining mozzarella and parmesan cheese.
Cover with foil. Bake in preheated oven for 25 minutes. Remove foil, and bake an additional 25 minutes. Cool for 15 minutes before serving.