Two and a half pounds of spinach and half a pound Swiss chard. Quite a lot of anti-oxidants, fiber, iron and magnesium in one creamy lasagna.
The creaminess of the dish is achieved by grinding the raw Swiss chard into a smooth pesto that is spread on every layer. Together with sautéed spinach, fresh ricotta and béchamel, the result is rich, delicious, and very, very, green.
Swiss chard, spinach and ricotta lasagna
This lasagna calls for fresh lasagna sheets. I used spinach flavored ones, but natural flavor will work as well. If you’re using dry lasagna noodles, you can use more of the liquid accumulated from the sautéed spinach.
Hand-dipped ricotta is available at gourmet supermarkets and specialty cheese stores.
Yields 9” x 13” lasagna
For the Béchamel:
3 tablespoons butter
4 tablespoons flour
4 cups milk
1.5 teaspoons kosher salt
0.25 teaspoon nutmeg
For the spinach:
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
6 garlic cloves, sliced
2.5 lb. fresh spinach or frozen spinach, thawed
0.5 teaspoon kosher salt
0.5 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
For the Swiss chard pesto:
0.5 lb. Swiss chard leaves, stem removed (weight without the stem)
2 oz. pine nuts
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 garlic clove
3 oz. grated parmesan
For the lasagna:
Spinach-flavored lasagna noodles for 5 layers of your pan (about 1.3 lb.), or one and a half packs dry lasagna noodles
1 lb. hand-dipped ricotta
2 oz. grated parmesan
1. To make the béchamel, heat the butter in a saucepan over medium heat until melted. Add the flour and stir until smooth. Cook until the mixture turns a light golden color, about 2 to 3 minutes. Meanwhile, heat the milk in the microwave or in a separate pot just to boil. Add the hot milk to the butter mixture one cup at a time, whisking continuously until smooth. Bring to a boil. Cook for about 10 minutes, stirring constantly, until the sauce coats a wooden spoon. Remove from heat, season with salt and nutmeg, and set aside until ready to use.
2. For the spinach, melt 2 tablespoons butter in a large sauté pan over medium-high heat. Add garlic and sauté until it turns light golden in color. Start adding spinach, as much as you can each time without overflowing the pan. Stir occasionally, and when the spinach has wilted remove it with a slotted spoon to a large bowl. Add more spinach and continue until all of it is sautéed, add 2 more tablespoons butter in the middle of the process. Season with salt and pepper. Set aside.
3. To make the pesto put all the ingredients in a blender or food processor and blend until smooth.
4. Oven to 350 degrees. Spray the lasagna pan with oil.
5. Assemble the lasagna: Spread a very thin layer of béchamel at the bottom of the pan and top with a layer of lasagna noodles. Spread 1/4 of the pesto over the lasagna noodles, followed by a 1/4 of the sautéed spinach. Top with dollops of 1/4 of the ricotta and 1/2 cup of the béchamel. Repeat to make three more layers. Top the last layer with lasagna noodles, cover with the rest of the béchamel and sprinkle with parmesan.
6. Bake in the oven for 35 to 40 minutes, until top is golden-brown. Remove from the oven, cover loosely with aluminum foil, and let sit for 10 minutes before serving.
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