Sweet leek, ricotta and tomato lasagne – With a gorgeously rich sauce

As we cooked this dish for lunch today, we didn’t use so many layers as suggested below. We were also supposed to finish the lasagne of with the rich tomato sauce, instead the chef forget to do this, the numpty ;-), and we ended up with a crunchy cheesy lasagne sheet on top. Again some Buxers were horrified by the lack of meat in the dish, but I did not hear one unsatisfying word out of them afterwards. I do like happy customers! -enjoy-

Ingredients (serves 6)

olive oil
4 leeks , thinly sliced
2 red onions , thinly sliced
250 g spinach , washed and chopped
350 g good-quality ricotta
1 litre *base tomato sauce
1 packet lasagne sheets , wholewheat if you can find them
125 g mozzarella ball
75 g fresh Parmesan , grated
sea salt
freshly ground black pepper

Method

Preheat your oven to 180ºC/350ºF/gas 4. Heat a large saucepan and add a splash of olive oil. Add the leeks and sliced red onions, and sweat, slowly, until soft – about 10 minutes. Add the chopped spinach and briefly cook until wilted down. Set aside to cool slightly, then drain off any excess liquid in the pan.
Mix the ricotta into the leek and onion mixture and season with a tiny pinch of salt and pepper.
Spoon a quarter of the base tomato sauce into the bottom of 6 individual ovenproof dishes, or into a 3-litre ovenproof dish. Cover with sheets of lasagne. Spread half the leek and ricotta mixture over the lasagne, then add a third of the remaining tomato sauce. Repeat with more lasagne sheets, the remaining leek and ricotta mixture and then half the remaining tomato sauce. Finish with a final layer of lasagne sheets, then spread the rest of the tomato sauce over the top.
Tear the mozzarella into small pieces and dot over the top of the lasagne. Sprinkle with the Parmesan. Place on a baking sheet and bake the individual lasagnes for 25–30 minutes or the large one for 45 minutes – they need to be cooked through and golden brown on top.

*Base tomato sauce – the gorgeously rich sauce

Ingredients

olive oil
4 cloves garlic , peeled and finely sliced
1 bunch fresh basil , leaves picked and torn
3 x 400 g good-quality tinned plum tomatoes
sea salt
freshly ground black pepper

Method

Place a large non-stick frying pan on the heat and pour in 4 generous lugs of olive oil. Add the garlic, shake the pan around a bit and, once the garlic begins to colour lightly, add the basil and the tomatoes. Using the back of a wooden spoon, mush and squash the tomatoes as much as you can.
Season the sauce with salt and pepper. As soon as it comes to the boil, remove the pan from the heat. Strain the sauce through a coarse sieve into a bowl, using your wooden spoon to push any larger bits of tomato through. Discard the basil and garlic that will be left in the sieve, but make sure you scrape any of the tomato goodness off the back of the sieve into the bowl.
Pour the sauce back into the pan, bring to the boil, then turn the heat down and simmer for 5 minutes to concentrate the flavours.

 

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