I was served this, Ricotta, Thyme & Sweet Potato Bake, by a friend at a bridge supper – we spent so much time having seconds and thirds that we did not play much cards. I came home and planned to cook it for my vegetarian kids who were coming home the next weekend. The recipe is from Anna Jones’ recipe book, a Modern Way To Eat, and apparently she is the Queen of veggie cooking.
Ricotta, Thyme & Sweet Potato Bake
Ingredients serves 6
For the Layered Bake
4 medium sweet potatoes, scrubbed & cut into 1cm rounds
sea salt & freshly ground pepper
2 sprigs fresh rosemary, leaves picked
2 x 400g tins of good chopped tomatoes
2 red onions, peeled & roughly sliced
4 cloves garlic, peeled & finely sliced
small bunch fresh thyme
2 x 200g bags of spinach, washed
1 x 200g pot of ricotta cheese
100g parmesan or pecorino cheese
optional: 8 no-cook lasagne sheets
For the butter bean sauce:
1 x 400g tin of butter beans
1 unwaxed lemon, grated zest & juice
3 tbspns olive oil
How to Prepare
Preheat the oven to 240℃/fan 220℃/gas 9
Place the sweet potatoes in one layer on a couple of baking trays, sprinkle with salt & pepper, drizzle with olive oil and roast for 30 mins until just cooked and browning around the edges.
While the veg are cooking, get on with your tomato sauce. Fry the sliced garlic in a little olive oil on a medium heat until it begins to brown around the edges. then add the rosemary and stir around for a few seconds. Quickly pour in the tinned tomatoes, breaking them up a bit with a back of a wooden spoon. Bring to a simmer, then let it blip away for about 10 mins, until the sauce becomes a little thicker and sweet. season well with salt and pepper, and set aside.
Soften the onions in a little olive oil with the thyme on a medium heat until soft and sweet, this will take about 10 minutes. Then add the spinach and let it wilt (add it in batches). When the sweet potatoes are ready take them out of the oven and turn the heat down to 220℃/fan 200℃/ gas 7.
Now on to your butter bean sauce. Put the butter beans into a blender with the liquid from their tin, the lemon juice and zest, the olive oil and some salt and pepper and blitz to a sauce that will be smooth and loose enough to spread over the top of the lasagne. If it’s too thick add a couple of spoons of water and blitz again.
Once everything is ready you can start layering into a big ovenproof dish. Put a layer of the tomato sauce on the bottom, top with a layer of spinach, then dollop over half the ricotta and grate over a thick layer of Parmesan. Add a layer of pasta here, if you like, then top this with some sweet potatoes. Finish with half the butter bean sauce and a final grating of Parmesan. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with more thyme leaves.
Bake in the over for 30 minutes, until golden brown on top. Serve with a crisp green salad.
‘A SIMPLY BRILLIANT BOOK – MODERN, CLEVER, BEAUTIFUL AND FULL OF DELICIOUS RECIPES. GO ANNA!’ – JAMIE OLIVER