Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Spinach and Caramelized Onion Lasagna

Spinach Caramelised Onion Lasagna (0005) by MeetaJ  

I like to reminisce in regular intervals. While I am whisking, chopping or simply stirring I will tilt my head to a side and think to myself "So I am whisking now! What was I doing this time last year?" Tom often tells me look forward and not back. But I tend to disagree with that. I believe that by taking a look back at what you have done and where you came from, you can often reassess your goals and check if you are progressing forward the way you wanted to, if not re-focus. Furthermore, if you do not remember the mistakes you made back then how will you hinder yourself from making them again?

When my grandmother passed away in May 2007 to say I was shattered would be putting it mildly. I was so emotionally loaded, my thoughts and feelings pushing the realms of my entire being. I was having a hard time sorting them out and placing them in compartments. The situation went for months. Until my dad, who also is a writer, told me to write it all down. It was such a simple piece of advice really but one that helped me see the light at the end of my emotional tunnel. Calling it a journal would be wrong. It is really a place where I unload my feelings, sometimes just one word, sentences and often a few paragraphs.

After a while I began taking those words, sentences and paragraphs and began writing stories. Using up the feelings and the thoughts from my experience and past I found it exciting to be able to put a certain content into it. Sometimes the stories are fiction based on true feelings other times the stories are very much a reality. I rarely share the stories. They are for me and maybe a small inner circle of friends and family who have always encouraged me in this direction. However, last week I changed that and decided to share one of these stories with you. The story you read accompanying my rhubarb mango pistachio and amaretti crumble a couple of weeks ago was written sometime in January and for those who have been following this blog for a few years would have known exactly what I was referring to in that story.

Spinach2010 (0004) by MeetaK

It was a small time-frame taken out of our lives from last year. This time last year we were packing boxes, explaining the move to Soeren, celebrating a surprise 40th birthday party, flying high up in the sky, renewing vows and saying our goodbyes to our friends in Germany. However, as things took a different turn, we had to slam on the brakes fairly hard, which left us fairly dazed and put us into an emotional turmoil. We fled to Denmark to recuperate, to re-focus and to heal. Of course, just like I did back in 2007 I was writing down my feelings and thoughts on the entire ordeal. Once I was able to sort them out and look ahead positively I began composing the story.

As I looked back on last year, I was inclined to thumb through my notebooks. I smiled at how far one comes in a year. Stronger, wiser, more humble and certainly a little more courageous to actually share a part of the story with you. I enjoyed reading your feedback on it. The writer in me was ecstatic that I was able to evoke such feelings in you, but I also have to apologize to those who wrote to me thinking something had happened.

A good friend told me I had crossed the line between blog posting and story telling - she's a writer herself. Yes I did and had fun doing it! I would like to know from you however, if you had fun reading it. I would really like to share these stories with you every now and then in the future. While I know this is my space, it's still important to me to know if my reader is liking the content here and what keeps them from coming back to me and my humble blog. So tell me!

Spinach Caramelised Onion Lasagna (0010) by MeetaJ

In the meantime I am looking very much forward into the future. My future is taking me to London next week, then to Norway on a dream-come-true road-trip and then to see a-ha in concert in Dresden, with my sister-from-another-mother - Jeanne, in July. Yes, my future is looking like it's going to be a lot of fun - at least in the next two months. Hope you'll join me.

Spinach is in season and my Farmer's Market has stocked up on my favorite leafy greens to the brim. Fresh and healthy, we've been enjoying spinach in all sorts of recipes. This one is Soeren's all time favorite lasagna and I was ordered by him to share it with all the other mummies out there. Well whether you are a mummy or not - I am pretty sure you'll like this. It makes use of simple ingredients, with the caramelized onions bringing out a delicate sweet note.

Spinach and Caramelized Onion Lasagna

Printable version of recipe here

Ingredients

500g fresh lasagna sheets (you can use dried ones if you do not have fresh pasta)
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
a few drizzles of olive oil
1.5 kg, fresh spinach, leaves coarsely chopped and lightly blanched
250g ricotta cheese
800g, red onions, thinly sliced
1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
700 ml milk
35g all purpose flour
125g + more Parmesan, grated
salt and freshly ground black pepper

Method

  1. In a large non-stick skillet, heat a drizzle of olive oil over medium heat. Add garlic and sauté for approx. 30 seconds until fragrant. Add the blanched spinach and cook, stirring often, until tender – approx. 5 minutes.

  2. Transfer spinach to a bowl and stir in the ricotta cheese. Season with salt and pepper, then set aside.

  3. Wipe out the skillet clean and heat another drizzle of olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion slices and cook, stirring often, until the onions become lightly golden and are soft – approx. 15 minutes. Sprinkle with sugar and continue to cook for another 20 minutes until they are caramelized and amber in color. Splash with the balsamic vinegar, stir and then remove from heat.

  4. Heat about 3/4 of the milk in a medium saucepan until steaming. In the meantime stir in the flour with the remaining milk in a small bowl and whisk smooth. Whisk the flour mixture into the hot milk. Continue whisking until the sauce begins to simmer and thicken. Keep whisking to cook the flour  approx. 1 minute. Add 125g Parmesan cheese and stir until the sauce is smooth and creamy. Season to taste. 

  5. Preheat oven to 200 degrees C. Lightly oil a 33 x 23 cm rectangular baking dish.

  6. Begin assembling the lasagna by first coating the base of the baking dish with a ladle full of cheese sauce, then line the bottom with a single layer of lasagna sheets. Spread half the spinach over the pasta. Add another layer of pasta sheets, then arrange the caramelized onions on top and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Spread another layer of cheese sauce over the onion layer and top with with pasta sheets. Spread the remaining spinach and finish off with a final layer of pasta and sauce. Sprinkle some more grated Parmesan over the top.

  7. Brush a sheet of aluminum foil with some oil and tightly cover the baking dish. Bake lasagna for 30 minutes, then uncover and bake for another 15 minutes (or more depending on your oven). The top should be lightly browned and bubbling.

  8. Let lasagna stand for 10 minutes before tucking in.

 

The Food Guide tip:

 

Selecting, storing and the health benefits of Spinach.

 

 

 


Verdict

Spinach Caramelised Onion Lasagna (0013) by MeetaJ

A pure and simple pleasure. A perfect harmony of flavors with guaranteed smiling faces around the dinner table. Hope you enjoyed one of Soeren’s favorite pasta dishes.

Time for me to get back to my preparing my presentation for the Food Blogger Connect next week. Hope I’ll see you there!

More pasta ideas from WFLH:

Fettuccine with Spicy Lamb Sausage Meatballs in a Piquant Tomato Sauce Ricotta Pesto & Mushroom Lasagne Spaghetti Alla Bolognese


All photographs and written content on What's For Lunch, Honey? © 2006-2010 Meeta Khurana unless otherwise indicated. | All rights reserved | Please Ask First

44 comments :

  1. A delightful lasagna! I love the idea of using caramelized onions with spinach...

    Cheers,

    Rosa

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  2. This looks like a wonderful Lasagna. I am not used to this combo and something I definitely want to try. Awesome Ikea Dinnerware. I have those as well. :)
    Looks like you calendar is packed with fun things for the next 2 months. I wish I could join you..but being a mom to a toddler, my legs are shackled. It looks like I am not going anywhere after-all.But I am looking forward to all you photos and stories to quench my thirst.

    Enjoy!

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  3. Heya Meeta.. I just caught up with the story as I have been a recent recurrent visitor of your blog.. I know what you mean by having somewhere to open up and pour out and somehow we seem to have shared history in many ways.. I just keep telling myself, the sun will shine again.. In the meantime, I have a wonderful family and that keeps me happy and sane.. HUGS to you..

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  4. First of I love the recipe. Using the caramelised onions is a beautiful choice Meeta. Secondly, in regards to your stories...I love them. I thought last week's blog post was about your time last year but wasn't sure. It was beautifully told!

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  5. A simple, graceful lasagna...you can see the colour contrast. I've made spinach pasta for lasagna so I have a hint of what this tastes like.

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  6. Have a wonderful time at the food blogger meet-up in London. (I'll be there next year, I promise!) I love the look of this lasagna -- light and healthy. I'm bookmarking.

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  7. This lasagna looks wonderful. I have a ton of spinach from the farmers market, so this recipe is perfect! Yum!

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  8. Love caramelized onions in so many things. Actually just a batch to blog about. You guys need to come to the Caribbean one year so I can attend this event. London is too far away. Sob:-(

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  9. I believewe grow most in times of turmoil and yes I would love to hear more of thses stories....I always find something in there that I can relate to!

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  10. Simply amazing pic and recipe. I have bookmarked and will surely try it out :)

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  11. Hey Meeta,
    Already addicted to ur wonderful blog...
    Never tried this combination before although it looks very tempting...
    All de best to ur busy yet full of fun future plans....
    Between love ur shots dear....they all are awesome.
    Cheers.

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  12. first thing's first, i love that soeren wanted you to share this recipe with other mummies out there, that's just too cute. and generous of him to share his mom's cooking secrets :) another gorgeous creation of yours, looks delicious. dinner tonight?

    i am sorry to hear about your loss in 2007. as you know, i went through a similarly life-shattering traumatic loss years ago - and turned to writing. a simple word... or 10 pages! writing for us is a pleasure, a release, an important form of communication - with others and/or ourselves. as a reader and a friend, i enjoy what you share on the blog, your thoughts, story telling, recipes, ideas, images... it's all a part of who you are. thank you for sharing.

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  13. I am sure i have told you before that i love comming jere as you pour you soul out here, good things happening to you and bad things happening aslo. Which most od us don't do, I write in my place the good things but neve rthe bad and that is what i love aobut you here you write about both. And we read that life is not always rosie but there is also hard times.
    Ofcourse i come ehre for the pics and recipes :-)

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  14. (redux) Anything with caramelized onions is a must-eat in my book and I love this fresh, clean, summery vegetable lasagne. Perfect! And for those of us who are writers as well as bloggers, we often have to cross that somewhat blurry, fuzzy line between blog and story, jumping back and forth as the urge takes us. We know that it is a risk, but it is something that is so necessary to us! Some readers will simply jump to the luscious food, others will savor the words and the emotions. So be it. You are a truly gifted writer and I am moved and soothed by your stories. And we all learn from the past and looking back can only help us live more happily in the future. Keep going, hon. And your food ain't half bad either (wink wink) xo

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  15. Fantástica lasaña yla idea de la cebolla caramelizada rotunda.
    Buen día

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  16. Probably I am in minority here, but since you asked,here's what I think.

    I have been a follower of WFLH since the last 3 years.Your blog is inspiring and I love coming here every second day to read your stories and enjoy the pics.

    I was touched and really sorry when I read about the Doha ordeal, but was happy to see that you, tom amd soren found comfort and got some lovely time in Denmark to heal and relax. I understand that the wound has been deep, but 2 back-to-back post on not-so-good happenings in 2009, make me go, "come on meeta, its time to move on."

    I am fully aware this is your space and I have no right to make this comment. I am only doing this since you asked.

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  17. Dear Meeta, I discovered your blog only a few weekes ago, but, believe me, I am totally fascinated by your photos, recipes and stories. I do love the emotions and memories you accompany your recipes with and I am back every time you update your blog to read about them. So please, keep telling us stories! NB: are you really going to se a A-ha concert? It's fantastic!!!

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  18. Thank you so much everyone for these amazing comments. Some of these have me in tears. I am really loving this feedback.

    @ Cool Lassie - i can understand the restraints of a child very well. but from one mum to another the little ones are extremely robust. You'll be surprised!

    @Asha - yes the sun always shines and that is the great thing about it. there is always a lot of good and we should live that intensively because it's what makes us believe when we go through the bad times. never give up!

    @Peter G - thank you. you are one of those cherished visitors to my blog and always love getting your feedback!

    @Peter M - you have to try it with the caramelized onions! it'll blow you away!

    @Lydia thank you! i have it in writing and also on Twitter. I am looking forward to next year already!

    @WizzyTheStick - oh yes i would like that very much. beats the weather issue in london for sure!

    @nina - thanks. yes that's what makes the community special we can usually relate to the stories!

    @kerrin - yes we write to release the pain. that is why i adore all our email correspondence. thank you for your motivation my sweet friend!

    @happy cook (finla) - i love having you here. you are always very positive and are a true sunshine. thanks for your feedback!

    @jamie - you are my biggest support! i think without you i would not have been courageous enough to put up the story! thank you for your encouragement and support!

    @janet - THANK YOU for your purely honest feedback. first i am touched that you are with me on this space for so long. thanks! second in a way you are totally right and i do agree with you - it would seem like i am stuck in 2009 wouldn't it? but it's not i have moved on and as i mention in this post looking forward to what's happening in the future. the thing is with the story on the rhubarb mango crumble it was what moved me as i was reading through my notebooks recently. i think if i had not moved on i would not have been able to present it on this space. as you have been a part of this blog for so long you will know that i am one that does look ahead and shares many a happy moment too. and janet you have all the right to make this comment - it's what i love the most about my readers - they are honest!

    @onde99 thanks for your feedback. YES i am going to see a-ha AGAIN in July. i saw them in october 2009 and will be doing so again. they are the best!

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  19. I have been visiting this blog since a few weeks, but I must say I am completely blown away by your stories, Photography and your recipes. There is hardly a single day when I dont visit your blog for updates.
    "Very Inspiring and Truly ExceptionaL" - is all that I can say.

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  20. I'm always up for caramelised onions! Looks beautiful!

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  21. Meeta, I only read the story in your last post, but I feel you have a natural talent. That story was wonderfully written and I devoured every world from the beginning to the end. So I think if you enjoy writing and telling stories why not to share your stories here, at the place where you share your recipes, your thought and your photos. I would call it a blog with a bonus! :)
    As for the lasagna, my big thanks to Soeren that he was wanted to share this recipe with us! I love love spinach and I just made spinach lasagna yesterday, but I didn't like my recipe so much. I should have known your recipe before I made it. Your spinach lasagna looks divine! The combination of lots of spinach and caramelised onion sounds amazing.

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  22. You always hit a chord with me Meeta...your stories ring true in my heart! Gorgeous lasagna, and yes you are a wonderful blog-story-teller!

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  23. I have been struggling to keep up with blogging but I read your last post just now and thought this is the sort of quality that we can find on blogs and it is breathtaking - really enjoyed your writing and would love to read more (and hope that I will be able to find the time because it is so worth it) Glad you are in a stronger happier place now

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  24. Meeta, I went thru' most traumatic time of my life last year and then I recovered, emotionally stronger than ever before although felt utterly devastated, got affected physically, started blogging again. Then again my blogs went kaput for about 8 weeks for no reason. So I didn't read any blogs or even opened the PC for quite a few months.
    I have missed being part of your life too. So I read all the links today. So sorry that Doha didn't happen but I believe that everything happens for a reason, glad you all had a great time relaxing in Denmark. S has grown so much, you all look great too.
    Thinking about the past is very necessary, to learn from it and to move on to bigger and better things. My best wishes are always with you and your's.
    Now Spinach, (Feta would be great too) and Caramelized onions Lasagne is probably the only veg dish my kids would love to eat! Looks gorgeous! :)

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  25. Hi meeta, WOnderful recipe and the clicks as well...never tried anythiung with caramelized onions so far, so this should go in a must try list, even though the quantity is slughtly too much for our little family....

    Loved teh way soeren thought about sharing the recipe to other mothers around, how sweet of him......And yeah, I am not a good reader, infact i hate reading, but there are only a hanful of blogs that i love to read and the one among them is you!Please DO write cos we love reading. I believe blog is one place where you can pour in your thoughts, feelings, emotions and everything!!...You have taken me all the way back to dubai with that Dubai trip travelogue!.....

    And just a little suggestion if you dont mind- If you Justify the paragraphs in the post rather than keeping them left alligned, it will look better and the paragraphs will be uniform rather than having uneven endings...hope u got what I mean.... I am so used to allingning the paragraphs in my blog so, i notice it whenever it is not!!Sorry if i bothered you with this.

    Love,
    Shabs.

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  26. Meeta...first about your grandma...I feel your loss because my Nonna was so precious too my existance. My Mom and I miss her terribly from our triangular closeness. I really miss her spunk the most;o)
    About this lasagna...well, mention caramelized onions...I'm a fan already!
    Glad for you to be going through very pleasant moments also...I'm sure you are very deserving of them ;)
    Have yourself a great Norway adventure...I hear it's superb!!!
    All the very best, Claudia

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  27. Looks lovely! I love spinach and onion combo.

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  28. Dear Meeta, PLEASE share your stories with us!!! Stories help me learn, heal, grow, not feel alone in my own struggles. I loved the story you shared and hope you will continue sharing them. :-)

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  29. The Lasagna looks wonderful! Gorgeous Pics!

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  30. I love your writing style and what you have to tell. Keep the ink flowing sweetie. And this lasagna is just stunning. Thanx for sharing your recipe. I have a veg friend who will love this. xxx

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  31. I love everything that you do your writing, your photos (artistic abilities) your food so I cannot give much criticism; I wish I had known about food blogs years ago when you started!

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  32. Being a vegetarian always looks easier when I come to this site....beautiful!

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  33. Meeta, what a beautiful lasagna! I love it that you used spinach - it's so healthy!
    Is there an extra seat on the table? I'd love to come for dinner. :)

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  34. I swear I'm putting on weight just looking at your pictures. Especially liked the first one.
    You know you do write very well, as do Jamie and Jeanne.

    Have fun with the FBC. A-Ha! That's what you have planned for the near future. :) Enjoy.

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  35. Every post I read of yours just makes me want to pull up a chair in your kitchen. Beautiful food and a storyline to keep my interest.

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  36. I've seen this blog by chance, but I think that has a very interesesantes content. You are doing a good job. A greeting.

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  37. The spinach and caramelized onions combo sounds great for a lasagna!

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  38. I have a question about the serving size of this recipe - I had to convert your metrics to the U.S. metrics and all of what is in your ingredients is a lot! On the plus side, this looks like a FANTASTIC recipe to try out for dinner :)

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  39. Very delicious and mouth watering dish.

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  40. This looks so fantastic! Will definitely try soon! Also, happy to stumble upon your lovely blog home. :-)

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  41. These have got to be the simplest treat ever to make and yet are SO VERY ADDICTIVE! Make sure...http://ahmz-homecooking.blogspot.com

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Thank you for visiting What's For Lunch, Honey? and taking time to browse through my recipes, listen to my ramblings and enjoy my photographs. I appreciate all your comments, feedback and input. I will answer your questions to my best knowledge and respond to your comments as soon as possible.

In the meantime I hope you enjoy your stay here and that I was able to make this an experience for your senses.

Hugs
Meeta