What to do with all those lasagne sheets? I've rediscovered a no frills, no photographs paperback cookbook from the 1980's called Pastability. The author Lizzie Spender provides some great recipes and I'm working through her collection of lasagne recipes. Here's her recipe for spinach lasagne, it's very good and so simple:
For the spinach filling
2 cloves garlic, crushed
350g cottage cheese
2 egg yolks
grated rind of 1 large lemon
3/4 teaspoon grated nutmeg
125g grated Cheddar cheese
salt and pepper
For the bechamel sauce
1/2 teaspoon mustard powder
salt and pepper
450g ready to cook lasagne
175g grated Cheddar cheese
Melt the butter in the bottom of a large saucepan over a very low heat. Add the garlic, and almost immediately add the spinach, wilting it down steadily for a few minutes on the low heat (or if you are buying ready washed leaves in bags you can microwave the leaves in the bag, then put them into the pan with the butter and garlic). Put to one side. Mix together the cottage cheese, egg yolks, lemon rind, nutmeg, Cheddar cheese and seasoning, and add to the cooked spinach. Mix all the ingredients together well.
Make the bechamel sauce by putting the milk into a pan with 2 bay leaves, half an onion and a few peppercorns. Bring to just below the boil, then remove from the heat and leave to infuse for 15 minutes. Strain. Melt the butter slowly in a heavy-bottomed pan, taking care to to let it burn. Mix in the flour, stirring well with a wooden spoon. Add the milk, a little at a time, stirring constantly until the lumps disappear and the sauce thickens. Stir in the mustard powder when you have used up all the milk.
Take a fairly shallow (7.5 - 10cm deep) and butter it well. Spread a layer of the spinach mixture very sparsely on the bottom of the dish. Spread a couple of large spoonfuls of bechamel sauce over it, then add some grated cheese and seasoning. Follow with a layer of lasagne, overlapping the edges slightly. Repeat the process until you run out of ingredients, ending with some bechamel sauce on top of the last layer of lasagne, and a generous sprinkling of Cheddar cheese.
Cover with foil and bake in a fairly hot (Lizzie says 200 degrees centigrade, I cooked it at 180 degrees in a fan-assisted oven) for 1 - 1 1/2 hours. Remove the foil for the last 15-20 minutes to allow the cheese topping to brown.
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Next stop is Carrot, Courgette, Leek and Mushroom Lasagne, then a return to the more traditional Lasagne al Forno. I've just checked on Amazon and a second hand copy of Lizzie Spender's Pastability can be purchased for just 1p (plus postage and packaging). It's extremely useful for mid-week inspiration, but not for you if you are looking for luscious photos and a bit of food porn.
One of my favourite food and cookery blogs is Belleau Kitchen. If your cookery is becoming a little stale and uninspirational, a suggestion is to join in the random recipe challenge which is about ringing the changes and putting a little va va voom back into your home cooking. How many hundreds (or even thousands) of recipes from cookbooks you own have you never ever cooked?
I'm hooking up to Sarah Miles's Monday Club.