Wednesday, August 4, 2010

How to Make a Greens/Ricotta/Mozzarella Lasagna

I’m a big fan of improvisation in the kitchen.

As I’ve discussed, I make greens pies (using phyllo dough) all the time using greens from my garden. I also frequently cook spinach/ricotta/mozzarella lasagna (using frozen spinach).

Over the weekend I cut a ton of purple kale. But being that my freezer is full of greens pies, the last thing I needed to do was to make more. So, how about a purple kale/ricotta/mozzarella lasagna?

The only difference between using the frozen and fresh greens is that I had to cook the raw purple kale, let it cool and then squeeze out the excess liquid. Frozen spinach is already cooked, so I just let it thaw before squeezing.

Here’s how to make a greens/ricotta/mozzarella lasagna, using a boatload (not a technical term) of fresh greens or three 10-ounce packages of frozen spinach, lasagna noodles, a little less than a pound each of ricotta cheese and mozzarella cheese, a quarter pound of grated Parmigiano-Reggiano or similar grating cheese, salt and pepper:
Coat bottom of 9 X 13 oven-proof dish (I use glass) with thin layer of olive oil. Cook the number of lasagna noodles needed to cover dish’s surface to seriously al dente (about 5 minutes). Place lasagna sheets side-by-side on bottom of dish. Put same amount of noodles in water and cook same way.

While these are cooking, spread one third of greens, ricotta, mozzarella and grated cheese—plus salt and pepper to taste—on top of first batch of noodles. When second batch of noodles is seriously al dente, place them on top of first layer of greens and cheese. Repeat the process using second third of greens and cheese. Repeat a third time.

If you want your lasagna open (greens and cheese showing) you are done. If you want it closed (layer of noodles showing), cook more noodles. Bake in a 350 degree oven for about 30 minutes, or until cheese is bubbling and/or top starts to brown. If you are making a closed lasagna, feel free to put more mozzarella on top of the fourth layer of noodles.

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