White Lasagna with Swiss Chard, Leeks, and Gruyère

By • September 23, 2014 23 Comments

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Author Notes: I have a (somewhat rational) hatred towards leftovers. But this lasagna, with its creamy béchamel, wilted greens, and subtle earthiness, retains its goodness overnight. It's essentially an elevated mac and cheese, and even I will eat it the next day. Some might even say it gets better with time. My better half will eat it for breakfast, reheated in a pan with a fried egg on top! Simplify it by combining all the components with a chunky pasta shape and baking it as a casserole instead of as a layered lasagna. lagougerie

Food52 Review: WHO: Lagougerie is a cook who made the move from Paris to Brooklyn.
WHAT: Cheese and pasta. And some vegetables, too.
HOW: Make a cheesy béchamel and then use it to smother noodles and sautéed vegetables. Top with more cheese (obviously), and bake until golden brown.
WHY WE LOVE IT: All of the things we want -- green vegetables, pasta, and copious amounts of cheese -- come together in the most comforting casserole imaginable. We like the elegance of a layered lasagna, but we can imagine making this as a homier baked pasta on a weeknight. And then reheating it for breakfast (our editors were happy to dig in when this came out of the oven at 10 AM).
The Editors

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Serves 6 to 8

For the béchamel:

  • 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 cups shredded Gruyère cheese
  • 1/2 cup shredded Parmigiano Reggiano
  1. Heat butter in medium saucepan on medium heat until bubbling.
  2. Add flour all at once and stir with a whisk.
  3. Add milk in splashes and incorporate it into flour and butter mixture with whisk until mixture is smooth. Continue to stir until the mixture has thickened significantly.
  4. Remove from heat and add spices and seasonings. Whisk in cheeses until fully melted and incorporated. Set béchamel aside.

For the vegetables and assembly:

  • 1 tablespoon butter, for greasing pan
  • 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 or 1 pound chunky pasta
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • 6 ounces fresh mozzarella, torn (optional)
  • fresh basil (optional)
  • 1/2 cup shredded Gruyère
  • 1/4 cup shredded Parmigiano Reggiano
  1. 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).
  2. Heat olive oil over medium heat in large frying pan until shimmering.
  3. Add leeks and cook until slightly caramelized.
  4. Add garlic and red pepper flakes and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds.
  5. Add Swiss chard and cook until just wilted. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Set vegetables aside.
  6. To assemble (lasagna-style), start with a little béchamel on the bottom of your dish. Add a pasta layer, some of the wilted vegetables, and then cover with a layer 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. Try to end with a layer of pasta, followed by a thin coating of béchamel, and then add the shredded Gruyère and Parmesan on top.
  7. 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.
  8. Bake for 35 to 45 minutes, or until edges are golden brown. Let rest 10 minutes before serving. Enjoy!

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