Aired December 19, 2007
2/3 cup plus 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil (EVOO), divided
1 medium onion, finely chopped
6 cloves garlic, finely chopped or grated, divided
Pinch of dried oregano
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 28-ounce can San Marzano whole plum tomatoes
1/4 cup (about a handful) torn fresh basil
8 roasted red peppers (in a jar or from an olive bar), pureed in a food processor
2 pounds spinach, trimmed of thick stems
2 cups pine nuts, toasted
1 32-ounce container part-skim or whole milk ricotta cheese
1 box oven-ready lasagna noodles
1 cup (2 generous handfuls) shredded provolone cheese
1/2 cup (a generous handful) grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
Preheat oven to 375F.
Reconstitute the sun-dried tomatoes by placing them into a small bowl and pouring hot water over them. Let them sit while you prepare the sauce.
Place a medium-size saucepot over medium-high heat with 2 tablespoons EVOO, about 2 turns of the pan. Add the onion, 3 cloves garlic and oregano to the pot and cook until the veggies begin to soften, 4-5 minutes. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper.
Add in the tomatoes, breaking up the tomatoes with the back of your spoon or a potato masher. Add the basil, then reduce the heat to medium and allow the sauce to come up to a bubble.
Remove the reconstituted sun-dried tomatoes from the water and roughly chop them up. Add them to the sauce along with the pureed roasted peppers. Simmer the sauce until it thickens up, 7-8 minutes.
While the sauce is simmering, make a spinach pesto by adding the spinach, pine nuts, and remaining 3 cloves of garlic to the bowl of a food processor. Pour in a couple of tablespoons of EVOO and pulse the machine until everything is chopped up. Stream in the remaining 2/3 cup EVOO and add the Parmigiano. Transfer pesto to a mixing bowl and season with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Stir in the ricotta cheese and egg, and reserve.
Assemble the lasagna by ladling a small amount (about 1/2 cup, just eyeball it) of the red sauce into the bottom of a 13x9" baking dish. Top the red sauce with three lasagna noodles and cover those with 1/2 of the spinach pesto mixture. Top the spinach pesto with three more lasagna noodles then ladle half of the remaining red sauce on top of that. Cover that layer with three more noodles and top them off with the remaining spinach pesto. Place your last three noodles over that layer and spoon the remaining red sauce over the top. Sprinkle the cheeses on top and cover the pan with aluminum foil.
Bake the lasagna for 30 minutes, then remove the foil and bake 15 minutes more the cheese is bubbly and melted.