My Recipe Box

Spinach & Ricotta Lasagne


Serves eight to ten.

  • To learn more, read:
    Lasagne: the Real Deal
  • by from Fine Cooking
    Issue 82

The ultimate vegetarian lasagne is made with a quick homemade tomato sauce and even quicker besciamella (cream sauce) for layering with the rich spinach-and-ricotta filling. Made-from-scratch lasagna noodles are thinner and more delicate than store-bought, and meld better with the sauces. But if time is short, you can still get excellent results from store-bought fresh pasta sheets or even good-quality dried noodles. To spread out the cooking, make the tomato sauce and pasta one day ahead, and make the cream sauce while you're waiting for the pasta water to boil. The assembled lasagne can be refrigerated overnight or frozen before baking (see Make-Ahead Tips, below).

For the filling
  • 1-1/2 lb. (about 3 cups) whole milk ricotta
  • 2 lb. fresh spinach, or 2 10-oz. packages frozen chopped spinach, thawed
  • 2 oz. (1/4 cup) unsalted butter
  • 1/2 medium yellow onion, finely chopped (about 1/2 cup)
  • 3 medium cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
  • Pinch freshly grated nutmeg
To assemble:
If time is short and you can't find fresh pasta sheets in your local stores, substitute 1 lb. of good-quality dried lasagne noodles for the fresh noodles. Skip the cooking instructions below and cook them according to the package directions.
Make the filling:

Drain the ricotta in a fine sieve set over a bowl for 1 hour, or longer if the ricotta is very wet.

If using fresh spinach, stem and rinse it well; don’t dry the leaves. In a 12-inch skillet over medium-high heat, cook the spinach until wilted, 3 to 5 minutes. Drain well, squeeze out the excess moisture, and chop finely. If using thawed frozen spinach, squeeze it dry.

Melt the butter in a 10- or 12-inch skillet over medium-low heat and add the onion. Cook until the onion is soft and translucent, 5 to 8 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for about 1 minute. Add the spinach and toss it for 1 or 2 minutes to coat it with the butter. Transfer the spinach mixture to a bowl and let it cool to room temperature. Add the ricotta, Parmigiano, eggs, salt, pepper, and nutmeg. Mix well. You should have about 4-1/2 cups.

Cook the noodles:

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Prepare a large bowl of ice water. Slip the noodles, two or three at a time, into the boiling water and cook them until they're tender and pale, 3 to 5 minutes (thinner noodles will cook more quickly). To make sure they're done, taste a small piece. If it's still tough, it needs a little more cooking (fresh pasta should not be cooked al dente like dried pasta).

Carefully scoop the noodles out of the pot with a large wire skimmer and slide them into the ice water to stop the cooking. When they're cool, layer them between clean dish towels until you're ready to assemble the lasagne (The noodles will keep this way for up to 2 hours).

Assemble the lasagne:

Position a rack in the center of the oven and heat the oven to 350°F. Choose a baking dish that’s about 9x12 inches and 3 inches deep, or about 10x14 inches and 2 inches deep. Spread 1/2 cup of the tomato sauce in a sparse layer on the bottom of the baking dish. Cover the sauce with a slightly overlapping layer of cooked noodles, cutting them as needed to fill the gaps. With a spatula, spread one-third of the spinach and ricotta filling (about 1-1/2 cups) over the first layer of noodles. Then spread one-third of the remaining tomato sauce (about 1-1/3 cups) and one-third (1/2 cup) of the cream sauce over the filling. Sprinkle 1/3 cup of the Parmigiano on top. Add a new layer of noodles, overlapping them slightly, and repeat the layers as instructed above, using all of the filling and ending with the Parmigiano, to make a total of three layers (you may not need all the pasta). Dot the top with the butter cubes.

Put the baking dish on a baking sheet and bake until heated through and bubbling at the edges, 45 to 50 minutes. Remove from the oven and let rest for 10 to 15 minutes before serving.

Make Ahead Tips

You can make the spinach and ricotta filling up to 4 hours ahead and store it in the refrigerator in an airtight container.

The assembled, unbaked lasagne will keep for at least a day in the refrigerator. Alternatively, you can freeze it for up to four months (make sure you wrap the dish tightly with plastic). Thaw the lasagne in the fridge and bring it to room temperature before baking.

nutrition information (per serving):
Size : based on ten servings, Calories (kcal): 470, Fat (kcal): 28, Fat Calories (g): 250, Saturated Fat (g): 15, Protein (g): 20, Monounsaturated Fat (g): 10, Carbohydrates (mg): 33, Polyunsaturated Fat (mg): 1.5, Sodium (g): 920, Cholesterol (g): 165, Fiber (g): 5,

Photo: Scott Phillips

Finally got around to making this and am glad I did. I followed the recipe exactly for my first attempt. It turned out fantastic and was well received by my guests. I do need to add, similar to other reviews, that this is labor intensive and requires the use of many pots/pans. My suggestion is to study the recipe carefully and plan ahead. Some things can be done ahead of time making the last minute steps a bit easier. But it's well worth the effort.

I made this from scratch- start to finish- with my own noodles as well. It was a fantastic recipe. It was creamy without the "gooeyness"that one might find with using Mozzarella. I think one of the keys is grating fresh nutmeg. It really stands out and was one of the highlights of the dish. My son said."I'll never eat Lasagne out again!"

Method was easy enough and came together nicely. I would prefer a lasagna with more marinara and less bechamel sauce next time. The onion and spinach gave a great texture, and everything fit perfectly in my le creuset, bubbled just to the edge. Used fine ingredients from DeLaurenti in Pike Place Market Seattle, but it didn't make much of a difference when it all came together. To the user that left a review on spinach - Spinach shouldn't take 2 hours to steam; more like 10 minutes if you use baby spinach leaves and steam them in a big dutch oven or other large pot with a lid. Overall, great texture and flavor (if you like bechamel), I thought it drowned the other flavors of the dish and might use this recipe again, omitting bechamel for more marinara and parmesan (and add mozzarella and fresh italian parsley).

This review is on the making of it...I did not bake it yet...It took a very long time for all the steps...I am hopeful it will be delicious I have had this issue of Fine Cooking since 2006 and have been wanting to make it since then.

Speaking for the 6 members of my family, this recipe gets 6 out of 6 thumbs up. I doubled the recipe thinking there would be leftovers for work, school, etc. But I was wrong, no leftovers, just 6 people in various levels of pain from overstuffing themselves at the dinner table. Beware! This Lasagne is delicious

This was fantastic. It was a great vegetarian dish that was multi-layered in taste and texture. I used a high end jarred sauce to save time and fresh lasagna noodles. The big secret is to use fresh ricotta. I also added some mozzarella to the filling and the topping.

I added mushrooms to the spinach and ricotta mixture and it was absolutely exquisite. I will be making this again, for sure.

This is worth the time it takes to make it.

This is a great recipe! This time, I used the spinach filling and cream sauce in conjunction with my meat sauce recipe, although the simple tomato sauce is good too. Just a word of warning when planning your time, I doubled the spinach filling recipe (I make 8 lasagnas in loaf pans at a time, and freeze them) and used fresh spinach (tastes better), but it takes 2 hours alone to prep 4 lbs of fresh spinach. Allow for a 1/2 hour prep time per pound. Next time, I'll use 2 lbs fresh, plus two boxes of the frozen, chopped kind. All in all, this is a very versatile recipe which can be used in many different ways!

Delicious lasagna. I must admit that I cheated and used my favorite jarred sauce as I didn't have time to make fresh sauce the afternoon I was making this lasagna. Also used no-boil noodles. Really delicious and incredible as leftovers.

Delicious lasagna. I must admit that I cheated and used my favorite jarred sauce as I didn't have time to make fresh sauce the afternoon I was making this lasagna. Also used no-boil noodles. Really delicious and incredible as leftovers.

I've made this recipe several times now and get great reviews from everyone...... including the meat lovers in my life. Making both the white and red sauce is a bit labour intensive but worth the effort. My time saver is substituting ready to bake lasagne noodles vice fresh and I really don't think it takes away from the fresh flavours of the dish.

Excellent recipe, easy to follow, delish and feeds a hungry crowd. Served it for a friends birthday dinner and Everyone loved it! Great vegetarian main course.

Excellent special occasion lasagna, works well for a crowd. It's very rich. I'm making it again and will try it with no-cook lasagna noodles. I love homemade pasta, but the purchased fresh pasta is no improvement over the no-cook, imo.

This is the best lasagna. My six year old is asking for dinner early today since eating some yesterday, and wants this for his birthday. I did use Barilla noodles and Rao's marinara(expensive sauce but tastes like homemade and worth it)as a shortcut.

This is absolutely the best! My husband wasn't excited about a meatless dish, but raved and raved about it. I used Prego spaghetti sauce as a time saver (using a thin layer) Next time I will make the tomato sauce the day before. Well worth the time this takes - this is now added to my favorites!

While this recipe does take some time to prepare, it doubles very easily if you want to make extra to freeze or give away. I made the lasagne with two layers of noodles/filling rather than three and it was thick enough to completely fill the disposable foil pans I used. If you are using dried noodles rather than fresh, I made them ahead according to the fresh noodle instructions (by boiling them with a bit of oil, putting them in an ice bath, and then layering them between dish towels) - they stayed ready while I finished preparing the other elements. Perfect for fall as i is both hearty and delicious. I will definitely make this again when I have the time.

Excellent recipe but a bit complicated in terms of time to prepare, number of different pans necessary to make sauce etc. I used fresh ricotta but did not drain nearly as long and precooked lasagna noodles. Helps to have two people working if all of sauces have to be made from scratch. Liked the fact that cream sauce was made with milk not cream. I cut servings and freeze seperately so can be thawed and used for individual servings. Be sure and freeze in single layer. Can be stacked after frozen.

Cookbooks, DVDs & More