lentil, mushroom and spinach lasagne


i remain entranced by my lentil and mushroom ragu. i’ve made it a couple of times now and each time i have used some of it to make lasagne.

the first version i tried used crème fraiche in place of the traditional final layer of white sauce. this is a cheat which i regularly use when making lasagne as the slightly sharp flavour that it provides can be a welcome contrast to the richness of the rest of the lasagne.

however, with the lentil ragu this didn’t really work – somehow it made it richer! this version, which uses a nutmeg-scented white sauce for the topping and a layer of wilted spinach in the middle of the layers was far more successful and the version i will use next time i have a batch of ragu that needs using.

this dish is my contribution to presto pasta nights, as hosted by ruth at once upon a feast.

lentil, mushroom and spinach lasagne (serves 6)

½ a batch of lentil and mushroom ragu

lasagne sheets

500g spinach, wilted with a little butter and a grating of nutmeg

1 ball of mozzarella

for the white sauce:

50g butter

50g flour

1 pint milk

grating of fresh nutmeg

salt and freshly ground black pepper

preheat the oven to 200c.

to make the white sauce, melt the butter and stir in the flour. cook the roux obver a low heat for a minute of so. turn the heat and add a small amount of milk. stir (or whisk) this in. when it is incorporated add some more milk and repeat until all the milk has been added. increase the heat and, stirring all the time, bring the sauce up to a simmer – it will thicken as you do this. when it is simmering add the nutmeg and seasoning, turn the heat down again and let the sauce cook for c5 minutes, stirring all the time.

set aside the sauce and assemble the lasagne. i start with a thin layer of ragu and then top this with lasagne. build the layers until you are halfway up your bowl then, on top of a layer of pasta, add the spinach. top this with another layer of lasagne and continue layering the pasta and ragu until you near the top of your dish. finish with a layer of pasta over which you can pour the white sauce.

tear the mozzarella into pieces and sprinkle this on top of the lasagne. cook for 35-45 minutes until the lasagne is hot and the top browned.