Thursday, August 5, 2010

Use Your Booty: Lasagna Verde

I admit it, I had blog envy. I saw this gorgeous post on radicchio lasagna over at AuthorJane's Cooking from the Farms series and got lasagna on the brain. She had gotten her radicchio through one of her CSA memberships. I didn't have radicchio, but have a lot of greens so I decided to use my bunch of amaranth and half of my kale.

I'm going to give this recipe to you in several steps (pasta, filling, bechamel, assembly) because each component can be made ahead and/or used as its own dish. Make sure each component is well-seasoned and delicious on its own before layering it into the lasagna.

This looks like a lot of steps and components, but from start to finish I pulled this dish together in 45 fast-paced minutes (not counting baking time). It would have been even easier had I had a stash of cooked greens in the fridge like I usually do.

Pasta Verde
I made a green pasta for my lasagna. If you don't want to make your own pasta, skip this step and use Barilla No-Boil lasagna noodles.
Makes about 1 pound of pasta
  • 4 cups tender greens (amaranth, spinach, chard leaves, etc.)
  • 2 eggs
  • pinch salt
  • approximately 2 1/4 cups (about 10 ounces) flour
In a saucepan of boiling water, cook the greens until they are tender, about 5 minutes. Drain the greens and run cool water over them to cool them off. Squeeze as much water out of the greens as you can.

Put the greens into the bowl of a food processor with the eggs and salt. Process until the greens are very finely chopped. Add 1 1/2 cups of flour into the processor bowl and process, pulsing, to pull the eggs, greens and flour into a dough. The dough will come up onto the blade of the processor and roll around. Feel the dough and it will likely be sticky, add about 1/4 cup into the bowl and process a little more.

Pull the dough out of the bowl and knead the dough, adding flour as needed to keep the dough from sticking to the countertop. The dough should be soft, smooth and supple. Wrap the dough in plastic and set aside until you're ready to roll it out.

After the dough has rested for 20 minutes, it's ready to roll.

Sautéed Greens
Makes about 3-4 cups of greens
  • olive oil
  • 1 large onion, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 10-12 cups of greens leaves, coarsely chopped (kale, amaranth, chard, spinach, collards, etc.)
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
  • 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
  • salt
In a large skillet, over medium-high heat sauté the onion in olive oil until softened. Add the greens and a pinch of salt to the skillet and continue to cook, stirring and tossing the greens to wilt them down - this will take about 10 minutes. If the skillet seems too dry, add a 1/2 cup of water and keep cooking. After the greens are wilted, add the garlic and vinegar to the pan and sauté for another 5 minutes.

Set aside to let the greens cool.

Bechamel Sauce
Makes 4 cups
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 4 tablespoons flour
  • 4 cups milk
  • pinch of nutmeg
  • salt & pepper
Melt the butter in a saucepan over medium heat and then add the flour. Using a heatproof rubber spatula, stir in the flour making sure it's well blended. When the flour has started to turn golden, add a splash of milk. Stir the milk in well with the spatula. Whisk in the rest of the milk in 1 cup increments.

Bring the bechamel to a gentle boil, whisking frequently. Season well with nutmeg, salt and pepper.

Set aside. If making aside, cover the surface of the bechamel with a piece of waxed paper.

Lasagna Verde
Note that I don't pre-boil my fresh pasta noodles in this dish, the pasta stays much softer this way. For more firm pasta layers, parboil the noodles for 1-2 minutes before layering them into the dish.
  • 1 recipe green pasta or 1 pound Barilla no-boil noodles
  • 3-4 cups cooked greens
  • 8 oz mozzarella, shredded (I used the little mozzarella balls called perlini)
  • 3 ounces parmesan cheese
Preheat the oven to 375.

Grease a 9" x 13" baking dish and cover the bottom of the pan with a few spoonfuls of bechamel.

Roll the pasta in a pasta roller (I like to roll as I assemble because it's so much easier to just put the sheets straight into the pan), rolling each new layer of pasta as you need it.

Stack ingredients up in the pan to make three layers in the lasagna. Each layer contains: 1 layer pasta, 1 layer greens, mozzarella, grated parmesan and about 1/2 cup of bechamel. The final and top layer is pasta, bechamel and parmesan. Make sure the entire surface is covered with bechamel.

Cover the dish loosely with foil and bake for 30 minutes, until the sauce is bubbling. Take off the foil and broil the top to brown the cheese.

Let the lasagna sit for 5 minutes before serving.

This Summer, I am chronicling my first CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) experience. My CSA share is from Arrowhead Farm, a farm based in Newburyport, MA. Each week, I am posting about what was in my share and what I'm doing with it. By way of full disclosure, I won my share through a raffle and am not paying for it. However, Arrowhead did not know I was entered in the raffle, and I received no special consideration because of this blog. I paid for my livestock share. A full set of all the photos I've taken of this share is here.


UrMomCooks said...

Lovely post. Great way to use greens and it looks so fresh and summery, (despite the bechamel!!!) Just discovered your blog and I really enjoy it!

Sunday Cook said...

Thanks! It's lovely to have you here.

The béchamel is milk-based so it's pretty light, but if you want an even lighter sauce, you could make a velouté with chicken or vegetable broth subbed in for the milk.

Koek! said...

This looks scrum-diddly-umptious. I wish I had more time to cook dishes like this!

Sunday Cook said...

Thanks! I agree that is does look like a lot, but you can make it more time-friendly:

The lasagna noodles can be store bought
The greens can be made as fas as four days ahead
The bechamel can be made 2 days ahead

So all you need to do is assemble!

The other option, is use cooked short pasta instead and just stir everything together and bake like a casserole!

Thanks for stopping by.

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