Last weekend I went home to Cork for the Taste of West Cork Festival. Lots of amazing food was eaten, copious amount of jam was made and my sister and her boyfriend made me dinner! I was really impressed with this dish and decided to recreate it last night for a friend who was coming over to dinner. I cooked mine in a bit of a mad post-work panic but it still worked out pretty well! This cheesy spinach and pine nut lasagne was so comforting yet so tasty, especially when Gubbeen Smoked bacon was added to the mix. If you’re a vegetarian, leave out the bacon & it’s equally yum.
This dish is seriously tasty and seriously cheesy! I suggest buying fresh lasagne sheets as it does decreases cooking time (30 to 40 minutes instead of an hour!) You actually get them in most supermarkets, I got mine in Tesco and they cost the same as dried lasagne sheets. It’s best served with a salad. It easily serves six people and you can freeze leftover portions for a quick meal the following week. Enjoy and let me know what you think!
Ingredients (serves 6):
For the cheesy sauce:
750ml whole milk
50g plain flour
70g grated parmesan cheese
Salt and pepper
For the lasagne:
6 fresh lasagne sheets depending on size (enough to cover your dish for three layers)
150g smoked streaky bacon (I used Gubbeen)
700g baby spinach
250g ricotta cheese
60g pine nuts
½ tsp freshly grated nutmeg (more flavoursome than powdered nutmeg)
Extra grated parmesan for sprinkling on top
- Fry pine nuts in a dry pan for a minute until they brown. They burn quickly so keep your eye on them!
- Chop bacon into little bits (about an inch long) and fry until cooked but not crispy. Remove from heat when done and place on kitchen paper. Save this pan to wilt the spinach in.
- Make the sauce first by adding all ingredients to saucepan except the parmesan cheese over a medium flame. Whisk until its hot and thickening, then turn down heat, add parmesan and stir for a few minutes. Remove from heat & cover with kitchen towel or foil to prevent skin forming.
- Wash spinach and dry. Place in the pan you cooked the bacon in with some butter and salt. Stir gently until spinach is lightly wilted. Remove when cooked and squeeze out moisture (you may need to pat off excess water with a kitchen towel.) Add ricotta cheese and a half cup of the sauce, stir together and season with salt, pepper & nutmeg.
- Now it is time to assemble! Spread a half cup of sauce over the base of your lasagne dish, cover with a third of your spinach mix, a handful of pine nuts and a scatter of bacon. Cover with your pasta sheets. Repeat this process again adding all your sliced mozzarella. Repeat process again and cover with your last layer of lasagne sheets. Cover your assembled lasagne with the remainder of your cheese sauce (keep a generous amount for this) and more parmesan cheese gratings).
- Cook for 30 to 40 minutes until golden. If your lasagne starts to brown too quickly, add cover with tinfoil and pop back in to the oven.
- Enjoy, preferably with a large glass of wine if it’s going!