Lasagne Florentine! a favorite…

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I know, hot summer days and nights call for lighter versions of our favorites dishes of the year. This Lasagna alla Fiorentina, has lighter ingredients then the Bolognese , as the  vegetarian sister, very flavorful  when prepared  with a Béchamel sauce and it can be served at a friends gathering or family, in small portions to satisfy everybody appetite, with a fresh insalata all’ Italiana,  bib salad, tomatoes, radishes, in a lemony vinaigrette. It is a perfect dish for a summer event!!

For sure, lasagna dishes take some time and love to prepare it, yet everyone will really really  like  it!, trust me!

If you have any leftovers, probably not, it will  easy to keep refrigerated at least two days, or vacuum frozen. Once cut in single portions it will be an easy week family dinner put together in a hurry!!!

I prefer this dish when made with a béchamel sauce, if you prefer using ricotta, both are great and  total crowds pleasers…

Ingredients: Serves 8 to 10

  • 1 package 16 oz. Lasagne  pasta (to boil)
  • 5 cups sauce Bechamel  (see recipe)   or
  • 3 to 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 lb low fat ricotta cheese
  • 1 lb mozzarella cheese thin slices or
  • 2 + 1/2 cups shredded mozzarella
  • 3/4 cup  grated Parmesan cheese
  • 8 to 12 oz. sliced mushrooms
  • 2 garlic gloves chopped thin
  • 10 to 12 oz. cooked spinach
  • 1 medium onion chopped thin
  • 2 8 oz cans whole tomatoes, crushed
  • 1 cup fresh parsley, basil shredded or dried
  • salt and ground fresh pepper to taste
  • 1 pinch of sugar
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 2 eggs
  • cooking spray or a thin slice of butter for the lasagna dish

How you make it :

With ricotta

  1. . pre heat the oven at 350F
  2. .In a large skillet over medium heat, add olive oil and  cook the previously chopped mushrooms, onions and garlic until soft, stirring  often, add salt and pepper.
  3. . in a large flat dish, pour tomatoes and crushed them with a fork. Stir in tomatoes, 1/2  of basil, parsley, pinch of sugar, adjust salt and pepper, stir gently, reduce heat to low, cover lightly and simmer for at least 15 minutes.
  4. . meanwhile boil fresh spinach, drain well and press thoroughly, making sure all liquid is out. set aside.
  5. . Boil a large pot of  salted  water  with a drop of canola oil, add lasagna pasta (work in batches if necessary) and cook following package directions until al dente about 11 minutes. While pasta boil, prepare a clean board or a kitchen towel. Drain pasta on your usual colander, then using kitchen tongs, lay lasagna pasta on the board to dry
  6. . in a large bowl, with a spoon or better using a blender,  mix ricotta, add eggs, add spinach, mix well , add cumin and taste for good seasoning. In a separate bowl have grated parmesan and mozzarella , and/ or mozzarella slices, ready as well.

…with Sauce Bechamel

  • 5 to 6 tablespoons of butter or divided 3 Tbsp of canola oil 3 of butter
  • 5 to 6 tablespoons all purpose flour
  • 4 to cups milk ( whole or 2% not skim)
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoons of freshly grated nutmeg
How you make it:
  1. In a medium saucepan, heat butter and/or oil over meium low heat until melted.
  2. Add flour and stir constantly till smooth. Have ready heated  to warm milk in a separate pan.
  3. When your butter/flour mixture is smooth, and starts to become dense, add warm milk one cup at the time, whisking constantly until very smooth (like a custard).
  4. Bring to boil and cook making sure you whisk all time and your bechamel  is not lumpy, then remove from heat, season well, set aside until ready to use.
  5. Béchamel can be made dense (use 1 tablespoon more of flour, or lighter less flour and more milk)

To Assemble:

  1. Using an 8x 11 (that you  will have previously buttered)  baking dish, place in alternate layers, lasagna, mushrooms mixture, ricotta or béchamel then cheese slices and parmesan. Repeat at least once.
  2. Cover and bake at 350F for 40 to 45 minutes. 5 minutes before the end, uncover to let it form a nice crust. Let it rest 10 minutes before serving.


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