29 June 2007

Really Fresh Lasagne or: Hiding Beet Greens

So we're a part of a local organic CSA (community supported agriculture) coop, and we get all kinds of great veggies with our weekly share.

Sometimes great also is rather weird.

This week I received a ton of beet greens, thanks to thinning-the-rows. I know this is the reason because I've been thinning-the-rows of beets in my own garden...

As you can imagine we had a TON of beet greens. The Carnivore hates beet greens.

Lasagne to the rescue!

I was really nervous about this lasagne because it was the first lasagne that I've ever done completely vegetarian, and, frankly, the first one I'd made completely from scratch with really fresh ingredients. (our basil plants and herbs are misbehaving in a good way).

I'm glad I took the plunge because this lasagne was fabulous in a shoot-it-in-your-veins way. There was only a teeny bit left for lunch the next day, and we fought over that.

I'm posting the recipe. Feel free to substitute pre-made pasta noodles or sauce in your own, and be warned: Beet greens DO tend to bleed a bit into the ricotta and pasta... so a thicker sauce would help hide that.

REALLY Fresh Lasagne
1 pound pasta, preferably homemade
Leafy Layer
1 pound beet greens, or other leafy greens (spinach is great)
1 clove garlic finely minced
Extra Virgin Olive oil
pinch Nutmeg
Quick Tomato Sauce
six vine-ripe tomatoes
1/4 c fresh basil
2 tbsp fresh oregano
1 clove garlic
1 small spring onion (or one small onion)
3 fennel seeds (optional)
2 tsp salt (we use sea salt)
26 oz Whole Milk Ricotta Cheese (get one without fillers.)
16 oz Fresh, water-packed whole milk Mozzarella, grated.
(It is really worth it.)

If making fresh pasta, cut the pasta into strips (at least 1/8th and no more than 3/8ths inch thick)

In a heavy skillet saute the beet greens, garlic, olive oil, and nutmeg until wilted. Set aside.

In your blender, blend the tomatoes, basil, oregano, garlic, onion, fennel seeds, and salt.

Grease a 9x13 inch baking pan. put 1/2 of the tomato sauce. Add a layer of lasagne noodles, and top with 8 oz. mozzarella. Top with the sauteed beet greens. Spread the ricotta cheese over the greens. Add another layer of pasta. Pour the rest of the tomato sauce mixture and top with the remaining 8 oz. of cheese.

Cover very lightly with a greased sheet of foil (the idea is not to touch the top of the lasagne -- you're creating a tent) or parchment paper.

Cook at 350 degrees for 45 minutes, removing the foil or paper the last 10 minutes.

Serve with salad and a nice crusty french-style bread.

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