Cook’s Illustrated #67 Spinach Lasagna
When I was looking for a recipe for spinach lasagna, Tom’s archival memory located the exact back issue from his collection in which such a recipe appeared. This one comes from the March & April 2004 issue of Cook’s Illustrated magazine.
My lasagna didn’t come out looking quite so spinach-y as the picture in the magazine, but as anyone who complains about a CI recipe will ultimately reveal… I didn’t follow the recipe exactly. I changed things up a bit by making two smaller, square lasagne instead of one big 13×9. I usually do this when making lasagna as it is basically the same effort, and I get two dinners out my time instead of one. Lasagna #2 is already in the freezer waiting for the next time I don’t feel like cooking.
A few last words…
As it says in the article, “…use Italian fontina rather than bland and rubbery Danish or American fontina…” I found Italian fontina at the Wedge and I was glad I did. I passed up the Wisconsin variety (Don’t be fooled by Bel Gioso’s name… it’s Americano.) at Rainbow for the good stuff and it smelled sooo good when I took the cheese out of the plastic wrap today. No more non-Italian fontina!
Tom’s first words when coming in the door after work: “Smells like shallots!” I used to think “5 shallots” meant five of the shallot-shapes that come lumped in twos sometimes. I have known since I got some schooling from Tom a while back that 1 shallot is whatever the unit is BEFORE you take the skin off. I’m glad I know this now as my 5 large shallots that I picked out equalled exactly 1 cup—just as the recipe said they would when minced.
Giving no-boil noodles a soak for 5 minutes in hot tap water makes for a WAY better end result. I used Barilla as CI suggested and did this soak that they talked about in a “Key Step” caption with photo. What a difference. As they said, “A five-minute soak… dramatically reduces the baking time for the no-boil noodles, allowing the spinach to remain fresh looking and tasting.” Try this the next time you use no boils… and don’t forget the foil on top!
Freshly ground nutmeg is awesome. I was reminded of nuez moscada en croquetas as I was grating it into the béchamel with my Microplane grater. If you don’t have one of these already (I know that most of you do), you should get one. Nothing is better for ultra-fine parmesan grating, chocolate shaving, nutmeg grating, and citrus zest creation!
The hardest part? Waiting the 10 minutes after it came out of the oven for it to cool before I could cut it and EAT.