The ricotta layer is the heart and soul of the lasagna. Creamy ricotta mixed with Italian seasonings and eggs gives the dish tons of body and flavor. There are as many ways to make the mixture as there are ways to make lasagna. Here’s how to let this decadent cheese take a starring role without overpowering the other ingredients.
Things You'll Need
Thaw and drain the frozen spinach, pressing it with the back of a wooden spoon to remove as much water as possible. Set aside.
Crack the egg into a large mixing bowl and gently beat it with a fork or whisk. Add the ricotta, mozzarella, and Parmesan cheeses and stir to combine. Stir in the Italian seasoning, garlic powder, and red pepper flakes.
Add the spinach, salt, and pepper, breaking up any large clumps of spinach with a fork. Use the mixture immediately or store it in a tightly sealed container in the refrigerator for up to three days.
- You can use fresh spinach. Clean, stem, and chop 4 to 6 cups fresh baby spinach leaves. Wilt them in a skillet over medium heat with 1 teaspoon of butter, then let them cool to room temperature.
- Skip the spinach altogether if you’re not a fan.
- For a denser filling, drain the ricotta overnight in a fine mesh strainer or cheesecloth-lined sieve in the refrigerator.
- To make a creamier filling, add 1 cup fine curd cottage cheese.
- Replace the Italian seasoning with 1 to 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh basil, Italian parsley, or a combination of both.
- Replace the garlic powder with one minced garlic clove, sautéed or roasted.
- Dried herbs and fresh herbs vary in potency. Use just 1 teaspoon dried herbs to substitute for several tablespoons of fresh herbs.
- Spices and herbs may create stronger flavors the longer they sit.
- If storing the ricotta mixture, make sure the refrigerator is set at or below 41 degrees Fahrenheit to prevent spoilage and growth of pathogens.
- The ricotta mixture may separate in the refrigerator, so you may need to stir it lightly before using.