• Extra virgin olive oil, to grease
• Extra 2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
• 2 brown onions, finely diced
• 6 cloves garlic, crushed
• 1 small eggplant, peeled, diced
• Sea-salt flakes and freshly ground black pepper, to season
• 500g beef mince
• 2 Tbsp tomato paste
• 2 tsp dried Italian herbs
• 700g baby spinach leaves
• 3 cups cottage cheese
• 1 cup finely grated parmesan cheese
• 1 tsp ground nutmeg
• 2 cups tomato passata
• 250g oven-ready wholemeal lasagne sheets
• 2 cups grated low-fat mozzarella
• Tomato, fennel and herb salad, to serve
Preheat oven to 180°C. Grease a 30 x 20cm baking dish with oil. Heat ½ of the extra oil in a large frying pan over a medium heat. Add onions and garlic and cook for 5 minutes or until softened. Add eggplant and cook for 5 minutes or until softened. Season, then transfer mixture to a bowl. Wash pan.
Heat remaining oil in clean pan over a medium heat. Add mince and cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes or until browned. Add tomato paste and Italian herbs and cook, stirring to combine, for 2 minutes. Stir in eggplant mixture, then set pan aside.
Put spinach leaves in a large bowl and cover with boiling water. Stand for 1 minute or until just softened. Drain
and cover with cold water. Drain again, squeezing liquid from spinach with your hands, then roughly chop and set aside. Put cottage cheese, parmesan and nutmeg in a bowl and beat until well combined. Season with salt and pepper.
Pour passata into base of prepared baking dish, spreading evenly. Arrange a layer of pasta sheets over sauce. Spread ¹⁄³ of the cottage cheese mixture over pasta sheets, then ½ of the meat sauce and top with ½ of the spinach. Repeat with another layer each of pasta, cheese, meat and spinach. Finish with a layer of pasta, remaining cottage cheese mixture and grated mozzarella. Cover dish with baking paper and aluminium foil and bake for 1 hour. Remove foil and paper and bake for a further 20 minutes or until top is golden. Serve lasagne
with tomato, fennel and herb salad.