“One of the secrets to good lasagne is to precook your pasta, even if the packet instructions say it’s not required. You can use this recipe to make one large lasagne, adjusting the cooking time as required. ”
Preheat the oven to 170ºC/gas 3. Line a shallow baking tray with baking paper.
Halve the cherry tomatoes, then place, cut-side up, on the tray, pick over the thyme leaves, drizzle with 4 tablespoons of oil, and season. Place in the oven to roast for 1 hour 15 minutes, until the tomatoes start to caramelise.
While you're waiting, prepare the other elements of the lasagne. Peel and finely chop the shallots, then peel and crush the garlic to a paste with a little sea salt.
Heat a large frying pan and add a few drops of oil. Add the chopped shallots and cook for 5 minutes until soft. Stir in the crushed garlic and cook for another minute, then remove the shallots and garlic from the pan and set aside.
Add the spinach to the pan in 3 batches, using tongs, and sauté over a high heat until just wilted. Using the tongs, squeeze out as much liquid as possible. Add to the shallot mixture, toss to mix and season with pepper to taste. Set aside to cool.
For the white sauce, heat the milk in a large saucepan to just below boiling point, then pour into a jug. Wipe out the pan, return to a medium heat and add the butter. Once melted, stir in the flour and cook for 1 to 2 minutes. Remove from the heat and gradually whisk in the hot milk until you have a smooth sauce. Return to the heat and cook over a medium heat until thickened – it shouldn’t be super-thick. Off the heat, grate in half the mature cheese and tear in half the mozzarella. Taste, and adjust the seasoning if necessary.
Bring a large pan of water to the boil and blanch the lasagne sheets, 2 at a time, for 2 minutes if fresh, 6 minutes if dried. Plunge into a bowl of ice-cold water, then drain on kitchen paper.
Preheat the oven to 180ºC/gas 4.
To assemble the lasagnes, drizzle 1 to 2 tablespoons of white sauce into 4 x 300 to 350ml ramekins or single-serve pie dishes that are 5 to 7.5cm deep. Top with a sheet of lasagne; trim to fit if required. Scatter over a few roasted tomatoes, a little spinach and some crumbled ricotta. Repeat with another 2 to 3 layers of white sauce, lasagne, tomatoes. spinach and ricotta, finishing with vegetables and sauce.
Grate over the remaining mature cheese and tear over the mozzarella, then place on a baking tray. Bake for 30 minutes, until golden brown and bubbling. Allow the lasagnes to stand for 10 minutes before serving.