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Green Lasagna

  • Vegetables
  • 1/2 lb nettles
  • 1 lb swiss chard
  • Sauce
  • 1/4 cup oil
  • 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups milk
  • 2 oz porcini mushrooms, dried
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 1 tsp savory leaves
  • 1 tsp marjoram leaves
  • 3 Tbs corn starch
  • water to make slurry
  • Assembly
  • 1 Tbs olive oil
  • 1/2 lb lasagna noodles (recipe follow if you want to make them fresh)
  • 2 cups ricotta
  • 2 cups shredded mozzarella
  • 2 cups grated swiss cheese
  • 1 Tbs pesto starter (chopped basil can be used, then 1/4 cup)
  • Fresh Pasta
  • 2 cups cake flour
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour, plus extra for dusting
  • 4 large egg yolks, at room temperature
  • 1/8 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter a 9- by 13- by 1-inch glass or ceramic baking dish. Set aside.

Vegetables

1. Soak porcini mushrooms in hot water - to cover. Put aside.

2. Steam the nettles for 5 minutes. Remove and cool. Steam chard in same pot for 10 minutes (these need to be soft). Remove and reserve steaming water.

3. Remove the tough stems from the nettles.

4. Chop the nettles and chard roughly - not too fine. Put together in a container and mix together well.

Sauce

1. Heat the oil in the pan, and add the flour.

2. Add some of the mushroom soaking water and milk gradually. Heat and stir, to avoid lumps. Eventually add all the liquid.

3. Add salt, mushrooms, and dry herbs. Cook for 15 minute on low.

4. Add reserved vegetable steaming water to mixture so it comes up to 1 quart. Add plain water if necessary.

5. Thicken if not a thick sauce (like pudding) with a slurry of water and corn starch. Add gradually, heat, stir, until a pudding-like thick b├ęchamel is achieved.

6. Add pesto starter (or basil) to sauce and mix well. Set aside.

Assembly

1. Cook lasagna noodles according to package directions. You will need at least nine noodles - make more if in doubt.

2. Put oil in pan and spread out. Put a layer of noodles on the bottom.

3. Spread chopped greens over the pasta, using 1/2 of them.

4. Spread ricotta over this - again 1/2.

5. Put cheeses over this - this time a bit less than 1/2

6. Put half the sauce over this.

7. You may have to press this down - fingers work best.

8. Put over another layer of noodles, and repeat.

9. Over the third layer of noodles put the cheese - you should have just enough to cover well.

10. Bake in the over till well heated and the top is brown, about 45 minute (many say less, but I like my lasagna well done)

Fresh Pasta

1. Place the cake flour, all-purpose flour, egg yolks and salt in a food processor. Pulse to combine. With the machine running, gradually add the oil then 1/3 to 1/2 cup water until the mixture forms a dough (the dough should stick together if pinched between your fingers). If necessary, add additional water, 1 teaspoon at a time if the dough is too dry.

2. Place the dough on a lightly floured surface. Gather the dough into a ball and knead until the dough is smooth, 5 to 8 minutes. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes.

3. Cut the Fresh Pasta dough in quarters and press flat. Run each piece of pasta dough several times through a pasta-rolling machine adjusting the setting each time until the pasta is about 1/16-inch thick. Cut the pasta into six 12- by 4-inch rectangles (reserve any pasta trimmings for another use). The pasta dough can also be rolled out by hand. Cut the chilled dough into quarters and using a rolling pin, roll out the dough until 1/8 to 1/16-inch thick.

Tips
Nettles are one of the finest greens. Pick them young - only up to about a foot tall, or only the tops of more mature nettles. Later summer nettles are pretty much too fibrous (unless you cut them down and these are regrowth). Use gloves or a plastic bag over your hand to avoid the stings. Once steamed, even briefly, the stings go away. They have a unique flavor all their own, with loads of protein too.

You can use any greens for this - spinach of course, but also amaranth, turnip greens, kale, etc.

I purposely did not use onions or garlic so that the flavor of the greens and mushrooms predominate. Also avoided nutmeg in the sauce (and I had to really stop myself as it's nearly universal to add this especially with greens)

I use a stoneware pan that things don't stick to. If things stick to yours put a thin layer of sauce down first, with a bit more milk added, with a bit more oil as well before putting on the noodles. I like crispy noodles myself on the bottom!


Serves 12 People
Submitted by Loki-dog - Wellsville, UT May 19, 2016 15 min 30 min 45 min

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