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!
- 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!
Recipe slightly adapted from Food52