For as much as I love food and all things food-related, there are whole worlds of food content that I’m entirely clueless about. Take, for example, the presence of a food blogging community. Prior to beginning my own blog, I had no idea that such a community of like-minded individuals existed. I emphasize the word, community, because it truly describes the support and camaraderie which exists amongst this group of food-lovin’, food-writing, food-photo-taking people.
And it’s through this group of food-focused people, that a whole other world of food knowledge has been opened for me. I’m talking about the world of food holidays; national days of observance devoted to food. Take, for example, September 26, which is National Corned Beef Hash Day or October 8 which is National Fluffernutter Day. And you can bet your bippy I’ll be celebrating National Bagels and Lox Day when February 9 rolls around. I found out, only after reading another food blogger’s blog, that yesterday was National Watermelon Day. I did an inner dance of joy for the accidental appropriateness of yesterday’s Watermelon Roll post. Then I started probing around for more information about food holidays, cause I’m all over the idea of celebrating food. And I found this link, with a comprehensive list of food holidays.
Turns out that today is Nationa Lasagna Day. How in the world is a girl supposed to let a special day like this go by without a little celebration? So, tonight I’m making a lasagna inspired by my favorite kind of pizza in the whole world; white garlic. My husband and I clash heads on this topic almost every time we order pizza. He asks what kind of pizza I want. I say White Garlic. He says Bleh. Occasionally he’ll agree to a garlic pizza, as long as we add some crumbled sausage on top. But I could eat white garlic pizza every time and never miss the tomato sauce.
You won’t miss the tomato sauce in this lasagna either. For the sauce, I made a basic white sauce, with the addition of minced garlic and a bit of asiago cheese. I could eat bowls full of this garlicky sauce as if it were soup. It would be seriously fantastic over pasta. Then, I threw a bit more garlic in the spinach mixture so the lasagna is absolutely oozing with garlic. For my hubby, I added some spicy Italian sausage to the lasagna, but it would totally work without it. I truly love how this lasagna came out. It’s like having a slice of garlic pizza, between noodles of lasagna.
Happy National Lasagna Day!
White Garlic Lasagna
For the Spinach Mixture
- 1 16 oz package Frozen Chopped Spinach, defrosted and squeezed dry
- 1 15 oz container Ricotta Cheese”
- 2 tsp Garlic, minced
- 1/4 tsp Salt
- 1 egg, lightly beaten
For the Garlic Sauce
- 3 Tbsp Butter
- 1 Tbsp Garlic, minced
- 3 Tbsp Flour
- 2 cups Milk”
- 1/2 cup Asiago Cheese, shredded
- 1/2 tsp Salt
- 1/8 tsp Cayenne
- Pinch of Nutmeg
*Reduced fat cheeses and milk would work fine with this recipe.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Spray a 13×9 baking dish with cooking spray. Heat 1 Tablespoon olive oil in a skillet. Remove the sausage meat from the casings. Add the sausage meat to the hot skillet and cook until fully-cooked, using a spoon to break it into small pieces. Set the cooked sausage aside.
Combine the spinach with the ricotta cheese, minced garlic, and salt. Stir in the lightly beaten egg. The egg will help to bind the spinach-ricotta mixture.
In a saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the 1 Tablespoon minced garlic to the butter. Cook for about two minutes. Add the flour to the mixture and stir. Cook for about 3 minutes, stirring frequently. Gradually whisk in the milk until smooth. Bring to a simmer and continue cooking for 4-5 minutes, until the milk begins to thicken. Turn down the heat. Add the asiago cheese, salt, cayenne, and nutmeg. Stir to combine.
Spread a very thin layer of the sauce into the prepared baking dish. Lay 3 no-boil lasagna noodles over the sauce. Spread half of the spinach mixture on top of the noodles. Sprinkle with half of the sausage. Drizzle with about a third of the sauce. Lay 3 more lasagna noodles on top. Spread the other half of spinach mixture. Sprinkle the other half of sausage. Drizzle another third of the sauce. Lay 3 more lasagna noodles on top. Drizzle with the remaining third of sauce. Sprinkle with the mozzarella and fontina cheeses. Cover the baking dish with foil. Bake in the oven for about 45 minutes. Remove the foil. Bake for 10-15 more minutes, until the top begins to brown. Remove from the oven and wait 5 minutes before cutting.