Florentine Lasagna has been a favorite at our family's dinner table for many years. Lasagna used to be such a labor intensive (almost miserable) dish to prepare because there was so much prep work to get each of the 'layers' in order. For me, the most miserable layer to prepare: the lasagna noodles. Dragging out the huge stock pot to boil the noodles, then rinsing cooked noodles with cold water and laying flat on wax paper to prevent noodles from sticking to each other...ugh! It wears me out just thinking about it.
Thankfully, talented food scientists at pasta manufacturers have been hard at work and have successfully developed 'Oven-Ready' or 'No Boil' lasagna noodles. This exciting product is on the supermarket shelves just ready to be placed in your lasagna. As the name suggests, no boiling required!
Being the food snob that I am, I prefer the traditional noodles to their more convenient counterpart. It could be psychological, but I think the boiled noodles have a better texture than the no-boil variety. Let me know if you are willing to bake two lasagnas side by side, one with the traditional noodles and one with the no-boil noodles. I'm happy to be a taste tester to compare!
Others that eat at the same table as me (i.e. my family) do not seem to notice the difference. For that reason, I am happy to prepare lasagna with no boil noodles.
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 yellow onion, diced
- 2 jars (or cans) of your favorite marinara sauce
- 2 teaspoons dried oregano
- 1 teaspoon dried basil
- 24 oz ricotta cheese
- 1/2 cup parmesan cheese
- 2 10-ounce frozen chopped spinach, thawed and well drained
- 1 teaspoon nutmeg
- 2 cups mozzarella cheese, shredded
- 12 ounce package of no boil lasagna noodles
- Preheat oven to 375F.
- Prepare 10.5 x 14.75-inch glass baking dish with baking spray. (A 9 x 13-inch pan is a more common size and could also be used, but it would be a tight fit.)
- Heat olive oil in large saucepan over medium heat. Add garlic cloves and onion. Saute until onions are tender, approximately 5 - 8 minutes.
- Add marinara sauce, oregano and basil to cooked onions. Simmer 20 minutes to blend the flavors.
- Combine ricotta cheese, parmesan cheese, spinach and nutmeg.
- Spread 1 cup marinara sauce on the bottom of baking dish.
- Layer half of the lasagna noodles followed by half the ricotta cheese mixture, half the remaining marinara sauce and half of the shredded mozzarella cheese. Repeat layers.
- If desired lasagne may be refrigerated overnight. (This is my preference because flavors seem to be more developed.)
- Bake at 350F for 30 minutes covered with aluminum foil. Remove foil and continue to bake until hot and bubbly and noodles are tender when pierced with a fork, approximately 15 - 20 additional minutes. Let stand 10-15 minutes prior to serving.