A little bit of a departure from your traditional tomato sauce based lasagne, this has a creamy béchamel sauce along with Swiss chard and leeks. I've got an AWESOME time saving tip for you -- if you don't have time (your just don't want to) layer everything, you can mix it all together and turn it into a casserole instead!
Lasagna with Leeks, Swiss Chard and Bechamel
- 6 tablespoons butter
- 1/2 cup flour
- 5 cups milk
- 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
- 2 ½ cups shredded Gruyère cheese
- 3/4 cup shredded Parmesan
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 3 large leeks, tough green parts removed, washed and finely chopped
- 3 cloves of garlic, minced
- 1 to 2 teaspoons red pepper flakes, or more or less to taste
- 2 bunches Swiss chard, torn, inner ribs discarded
- 2 boxes no-boil lasagna sheets (if you're making a casserole, use 2 boxes of large shells)
- salt and pepper, to taste
- 6 ounces fresh mozzarella (use either a round ball, cut into circles OR shredded)
- fresh basil
- Heat butter in medium saucepan on medium heat until it starts to bubble a bit.
- Whisk in the flour, and continue to whisk and cook over medium heat, until mixture is smooth, about 2-3 minutes.
- Add milk a little bit at a time, whisking it into the flour and butter mixture until smooth. Switch out the whisk for a spoon, and continue to stir until the mixture has thickened so it coats the back of a spoon. The heat should still be at medium, but if it starts boiling, turn down heat to maintain at a low simmer. This should take about 10 minutes.
- Remove from heat and add spices and seasonings. Stir in Gruyère and Parmesan until fully melted and incorporated. Set béchamel aside.
For the vegetables and assembly:
- Preheat oven to 375º F and butter a large baking dish (I generally use 9 x 13 for lasagna or, for baked pastas, a 9 x 9).
- Heat olive oil over medium heat in large frying pan until shimmering.
- Add leeks and cook until slightly caramelized.
- Add garlic and red pepper flakes and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds.
- Add Swiss chard and cook until just wilted. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Set vegetables aside.
- To assemble, start with a little béchamel on the bottom of your dish. I use about 1/4 cup. Add a pasta layer, 1/3 of the wilted vegetables, and then cover with 1/3 of béchamel. You can also add optional fresh mozzarella, torn into small pieces, and/or fresh basil before the layer of béchamel for extra cheesiness.
- Repeat until you have used up all of the pasta, vegetables, and sauce.
- You should end with a layer of pasta, followed by a thin coating of béchamel, and then add the shredded Gruyère and Parmesan on top.
- To assemble (casserole-style), combine the pasta, béchamel, vegetables, and mozzarella with a large spoon or spatula. Add mixture to baking dish and cover with the shredded cheeses on top.
- Bake for 35 to 45 minutes, or until edges are golden brown. Let rest 10 minutes before serving.
- TIP: If you want it to resemble more of a casserole than lasagne (it will still be incredibly delicious!) combine the pasta, béchamel, vegetables, and mozzarella with a large spoon or spatula. Add mixture to baking dish and cover with the shredded cheeses on top. This is a great way to cook the dish if you're short on time!