My mom’s vegetable lasagna—a classic red-sauce version with spinach mixed into the ricotta layer—used to be my favorite treat when I came home from college. I haven’t had to request it from her in ages, though, ever since I started making it for myself on a regular basis.
In hindsight, given my well-documented dislike of tomatoes (although, perhaps thanks to Mom’s lasagna, I am more tolerant of them in their sauce form), I’m amazed it took me this long to figure out that lasagna can be made without tomato sauce, but instead with a creamy béchamel between the layers of pasta and vegetables.
I’m particularly amazed because another standby, growing up, was my mom’s mac and cheese with a cheesy béchamel and spinach, and I distinctly remember the night she taught me to make the sauce. I guess I was just too stuck on tradition—Mom’s lasagna has red sauce, Mom’s mac and cheese has a béchamel—to figure out how to put the pieces together.
So, Mom, in honor of Mother’s Day, I bastardized two of your recipes. It’s Smitten Kitchen‘s fault—and since you love her as much as I do, I know you’ll understand. And even though her recipe didn’t call for spinach, I had to add some—because of you, I just can’t imagine a vegetable lasagna, or a béchamel sauce, without spinach. Especially because this recipe calls for way more butter than you’d probably ever use.