Dinner tonight was lasagna (a pretty good one, if I do say so myself).
(I might be a little obsessive-compulsive about my leftovers, but I hate sending Dave off to work without a home-cooked meal for lunch. Wait, what’s that? 1952 called and they want their homemaker back?)
(Okay to be perfectly honest, I keep lunch portions in the freezer not just for my sweet husband who’s totally deserving of a home-cooked meal every day for lunch, but also because in my current line of employment, if I don’t bring my lunch – and sometimes breakfast, dinner and snacks – to work with me, I don’t eat, so it’s pretty much self-motivated, this whole keeping food around in ready-to-go containers thing. And if it’s a sad morning where I’m running late or didn’t plan out my meals appropriately enough to have adequate leftovers, I rely on the freezer to provide noms. Dave benefits from this odd form of OCD.)
Back to my story. After everything was all portioned out, there were little bits of lasagna noodles, ricotta/spinach filling, sausage, tomatoes and mozzarella left in the pan. A rational person would’ve just thrown the pan in the dishwasher after rinsing it off. However, this lasagna was special: there was beschamel sauce on the bottom. Mmmm, beschamel. And it was soooo. gooood. I just didn’t get enough of it, after eating my lasagna portion and licking the whisk that I used to, well, whisk up the sauce. So, I did what the irrational and perhaps emotional eaters among us (myself included, of course) would do: dug in with my fingers and scraped the pan, licking the bits of lasagna- and beschamel-y goodness right off my hands.
Really, I kind of went primal with that pan of leftovers. I basically ate like a 2 year old would. Closed my eyes and just devoured the tiny bits of leftovers in beschamel. And it was delicious. The should show stuff like that on the Food Network.
Just had to confess that to y’all.
Lasagna with Beschamel
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
4 teaspoons all purpose flour
1 1/4 cup milk (I used a combo of heavy cream & 2% – just because)
salt & pepper
freshly grated nutmeg (important to be freshly grated, really it is)
Melt the butter in a medium, nonstick saucepan over medium-high heat. Whisk in the flour, cook about 2 minutes, whisking constantly. Whisk in the milk; incorporate to the roux. It’ll start to thicken, eventually. At the last minute (after it’s thickened up some), whisk in the salt, pepper & nutmeg. Remove from heat and set aside.
Bring a big pot of salted water to a boil, and cook about 13 regular old lasagna noodles for 6 minutes. They won’t be done, but that’s fine. Drain, and let cool so you can handle them.
While that’s going, cook 1/2 pound Italian hot sausage (pork is my favorite; turkey sausage works just fine) in a nonstick skillet. Make sure it’s crubmly and cooked. Set aside.
In the meantime, prepare the ricotta filling:
1 15 oz container of whole milk ricotta
some grated parmesan (this is one of only two times I use parmesan in the green plastic container – totally allowed here)
salt & pepper
handful of mozzarella
1 10 oz package of chopped frozen spinach, thawed in microwave and squeezed dry
Just combine all that together in a bowl with a fork.
Get yourself 2 jars of marinara sauce (plain tomato & basil works really well) and about 2 cups of shredded mozzarella, and you’re ready to assemble.
Preheat oven to about 375. Spray a 9 x 13 pan with nonstick cooking spray.
Layer as follows:
Pour ALL the beschamel sauce on the bottom of the pan. Spread out as evenly as you can.
Place one layer of lasagna noodles on top of the beschamel.
Then spread out half the ricotta/spinach mixture over the noodles.
Top with a handful (or two) of mozzarella.
Then half the sausage.
Then some marinara sauce (I don’t know how much, just enough to cover what’s in the layer).
Then top with noodles.
Then the rest of the ricotta.
Then some more mozzarella.
Then the rest of the sausage.
Then some more marinara.
Then noodles again.
Then mozzarella & parmesan.
Cover, place on a baking sheet (prevents spillage from coming into your oven) and cook for 45 minutes, covered. Remove foil, then cook for 5 more minutes. Remove from oven, cool for 15 minutes, and dig in.