Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Green Easter Lasagna

Adapted from "A Platter of Figs" by David Tanis

Filling: Buy two big bags, 2 lbs. total, of pre-washed greens - spinach, chard, kale and rapini is a good mix. Chop the greens more finely, then heat 3 T. olive oil in a deep saucepan, add 4 minced garlic cloves, and sizzle it without browning. Add 1 tsp. red pepper flakes, then the greens. Stir and let them wilt down for a minute (you'll probably need to do this in a couple of batches). Season with salt and pepper, and stir again. Then put the wilted greens in a colander to drain, then squeeze them to get out any excess moisture.

Ricotta: Put 1 lb. fresh ricotta in a bowl, add grated zest of 1/2 lemon, salt and pepper and stir well.

Onion: Slice 2 sweet onions into thin rings, and saute until soft and lightly browned

Bechamel sauce: Melt 4 T. butter in a heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium flame. Stir in 1/4 cup flour, cook, stirring for a minute without letting it brown. Whisk in 5 cups whole milk, a cup at a time, letting the sauce thicken a bit after each addition. When all the milk is in, add a bay leaf, a tsp. of thyme, salt and pepper, and let it simmer gently on low for 10 minutes. Add 1/2 tsp nutmeg.

Parmesan cheese: 2 cups grated parmesan

To put it all together:
Butter a 9 x 12 baking dish. You'll need eight large, fresh, spinach lasagna noodles (or whatever kind). For the first layer, lay noodles side by side in the bottom of the buttered dish. Arrange a quarter of the cooked greens over the pasta. Add 1/4 of the onions. Dot with 1/4 of the ricotta. Spoon 1/2 cup bechamel sauce over the ricotta, and sprinkle with a handful of grated parmesan. Repeat the process to make 3 more layers. Finish with 2 or 3 sheets of pasta on top, coat with the remaining bechamel, and sprinkle with the remaining parmesan.

Refrigerate for several hours or overnight to mingle the flavors. Bring the lasagna to room temperature, then bake for 30 minutes or slightly more, UNCOVERED, until bubbling and browned on top. Let rest 10 minutes before serving.

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