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Lasagna with Chard**

Recipe for July 5th, 2009

This recipe comes from a wonderful cookbook, Simply Organic – A Cookbook for Sustainable, Seasonal and Local Ingredients by Jesse Ziff Cool.  It is a cool cookbook!  The recipe serves 12 and is perfect for a crowd.  Young and old love it.  It is a perfect way to introduce chard to your cooking repertoire.

  • 12 ounces lasagna noodles**
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 4 cups, firmly pack, very thinly sliced red or green chard*           
  • 2 shallots, minced*                   
  • 2 tablespoons unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 4 cups milk
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • ½ cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 pound ricotta cheese
  • 8 ounces mozzarella cheese*, cut into    small chunks    
  • ½ cup grated hard or soft Jack cheese*
  • 1 large egg, beaten*
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh oregano*
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh Italian parsley*
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper

Preheat the oven to 375°F.  Lightly coat a 13-by 9 inch baking dish with oil.

Cook the lasagna noodles in a large pot of boiling water according to package directions.  Drain and rinse under cold water.  Drain thoroughly.

While the pasta is cooking, heat the oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat.  Add the chard and shallots and cook for 4 minutes, or until soft.  Using a slotted spoon, remove to a large bowl.  Whisk the flour into the liquid remaining in the pan and cook, stirring frequently, for 3 minutes.   Gradually whisk in the milk and cook, stirring often for 15 minutes, or until the sauce reaches a simmer and thickens.  Stir in the chard, shallots, nutmeg and Parmesan.  Simmer for 1 minute. 


In a medium bowl, combine the ricotta, mozzarella, hard or soft Jack, egg, oregano, parsley, salt and pepper.


Spread one-quarter of the chard sauce on the bottom of the prepared baking dish.  Layer one-third of the lasagna noodles on the sauce.  Spread one-third of the ricotta mixture on top of the lasagna.  Spread another one-quarter of the sauce over the cheese mixture.  Repeat with the remaining lasagna, ricotta and sauce.


Bake for 45 minutes, or until golden brown on top and heated through.  Let stand for 10 minutes before serving.


*Ingredients can be found at the market.

**Don’t be put-off by the directions.  This is not difficult.  Discuss with the cheese vendors to see if you might substitute one of their cheeses for the hard or soft Jack cheese.  Twelve ounces of noodles is too much.  Try less.