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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
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
- Heat butter in medium saucepan on medium heat until bubbling.
- Add flour all at once and stir with a whisk.
- 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.
- 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
- 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 (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.
- 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. Enjoy!
- This recipe is a Wildcard Contest Winner!
- This recipe is a Community Pick!
- This recipe was entered in the contest for Your Best Dinner That Makes a Good Lunch