I haven’t made a lasagna in ages, but I’m always looking for a new use for the beautiful bunches of chard that I find impossible to resist at the farmstand, so chard lasagna sounded like a great idea. Turns out, it was!
The best thing about lasagna, in my humble opinion, is that it makes a TON. So, there’s plenty for leftovers the next day, and the rest can be frozen in slices and reheated for an easy meal later.
I love that this particular recipe doesn’t use a tomato sauce, so that the chard and mushrooms can really shine. Ricotta cheese packs a protein punch, too, so what’s not to love?
Chard and Mushroom Lasagna
Based on this recipe from Bon Appétit, January 2011
2 1/2 cups whole milk
1 bay leaf
6 Tbsp (3/4 stick) unsalted butter
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg, divided
Pinch of ground cloves
1 lb chard
4 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil, divided
1 1/3 cups chopped onion
4 large garlic cloves, minced, divided
1/4 tsp dried crushed red pepper
1 lb crimini mushrooms, sliced
9 7 x 3-inch lasagna noodles
Extra-virgin olive oil
1 15 oz container whole-milk ricotta cheese, divided
6 oz fontina cheese, coarsely grated (about 1 1/2 cups packed), divided
8 Tbsp finely grated parmesan cheese, divided
Melt the butter in a heavy large saucepan over medium-low heat. Add flour and whisk to blend. Cook for 2 minutes, whisking almost constantly (do not let roux brown). Gradually whisk the milk into the roux. Add the bay leaf, 1/2 tsp kosher salt, 1/4 tsp nutmeg, and cloves and bring to simmer. Cook until the sauce thickens enough to coat a spoon, whisking often, about 3 minutes. Remove the bay leaf.*
Remove the stems from the chard and chop into small pieces, setting the leaves aside. Blanch the stems in a large pot of boiling salted water for about 2 minutes, then add the leaves and blanch 1 minute more. Drain, pressing out all water, then chop coarsely.
Heat 2 Tbsp olive oil in a medium skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onion, half of the garlic, and crushed red pepper. Sauté until the onion is tender, then mix in the chard leaves and stems and season to taste with salt and pepper.
Heat the remaining 2 Tbsp of olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the mushrooms and the remaining garlic. Sauté until the mushrooms are brown and tender, 7 to 8 minutes. Mix in 1/4 tsp nutmeg and season with salt and pepper.
Cook the lasagna noodles in a medium pot of boiling salted water according to the package directions. Drain and arrange them in a single layer on a sheet of plastic wrap.
Brush a 13 x 9 x 2-inch glass baking dish with oil to coat.**
Spread 3 Tbsp of the béchamel sauce thinly over bottom of the dish. Arrange 3 noodles in the dish to cover the bottom. Spread half of the chard mixture over the noodles, then half of the mushrooms. Drop half of the ricotta over in dollops and spread in an even layer. Sprinkle with half of the fontina, then 4 Tbsp parmesan, and spread 3/4 cup béchamel over. Repeat the same layering with 3 noodles, the remaining chard, mushrooms, ricotta, fontina, parmesan, and 3/4 cup béchamel. Cover with 3 noodles and remaining béchamel.***
Preheat the oven to 400°. Bake the lasagna covered for 30 minutes. Uncover and bake until it is heated through**** and the top is golden brown, 20 to 30 minutes longer. Let stand 15 minutes before serving.
* Béchamel sauce can be made 1 day ahead. Press plastic wrap directly onto surface and chill. Remove plastic and rewarm sauce before using, whisking to smooth.
** Or use your Misto. I heart my Misto (as I’m sure I’ve mentioned before). In case you’re looking for a great inexpensive gift for the foodie in your life, this is it!
*** Can be made up to 2 hours ahead. Cover with foil and let stand at room temperature.
**** To test for doneness, insert the blade of a small knife deep into the center of the lasagna for 30 seconds. Remove the knife and feel the blade. If it’s hot, so is the lasagna.