You may have made a ‘charred’ lasagna before, but have you ever tried a ‘chard’ lasagna? (Ha ha.) This is a tomato-less lasagna and is a good winter alternative to the traditional version.
1 lb. chard (after broken down, leaves should weigh 1 lb.)
1 c. walnuts, chopped finely
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 cups ricotta
1 c. Parmesan, grated
3 balls fresh mozzarella, coarsely chopped
1 1/4 c. milk
fresh lasagna noodles (or about 12 boxed noodles)
olive oil, salt, white pepper
- Rinse chard and remove the stems and thick middle rib. To do this, press your knife down on the leaf against the midrib and pull up on the stem. Zip! One side of the leaf will come off easily. Set the chard leaves aside.
- Cook fresh pasta noodles for 1 1/2 minutes. Remove from water with a mesh strainer to a bowl. When cool enough to touch, hang or lay out on a clean towel. (If your noodles touch, they may stick to each other.)
- Toss the chard leaves into the boiling pasta water and cook for 4 minutes. Drain as much water from the chard as possible and set aside to cool.
- Mince garlic.
- With your hands (or wrapped in an old dishtowel), squeeze the chard out over the sink. Squeeze until most of the water is out.
- Toast walnuts in a pan set over medium for about 5 minutes. (Watch these nuts carefully. Don’t multi-task.) Remove walnuts from pan and wipe it out, if needed.
- Add 1 tbls. olive oil to the same pan. Cook garlic and chard for about 2 minutes. Cool briefly.
- Mix chard, garlic Parmesan, salt, and pepper together.
- Oil a 9X13 pan and pour 1/4. c. milk on the bottom. Proceed to layer:
noodle, cheese/chard mixture, mozzarella, nuts, milk, noodle, etc.
noodle, mozzarella, nuts, sprinkle of Parmesan
- Cover your lasagna with foil (see note). Bake at 400F for 25 minutes. Uncover and bake for about 10 more minutes, until the top is nicely browned.
- If you are making fresh pasta noodles, roll out to width 5. You do not need to be overly concerned about moisture content, however you do want to flour the noodles enough so that they won’t stick to themselves.
- If using boxed noodles, cook them until only al dente – they will cook more in the oven.
- If your homemade ricotta is too dry, add a few tablespoons of whey back in. When you stir the ricotta mixture, it should be loose enough that your spoon doesn’t give you much resistance.
- Tired of foil sticking to the top of your beautiful lasagna? Place a piece of oiled parchment on the top before covering with foil.
- If you’re making everything from scratch at the same time, I found this sequence to be efficient: heat milk for cheese, make pasta dough and, while it rests, break down chard, chop garlic, hang cheese, roll noodles, boil noodles, then remove and boil chard in same water