White Lasagna with Swiss Chard, Leeks, and Gruyère

September 23, 2014

Test Kitchen-Approved

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. sarahschuster

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
Prep time: 40 min
Cook time: 1 hrs 15 min

Ingredients

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

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
  • 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
  • 1 pinch salt and pepper, plus more to taste
  • 6 ounces fresh mozzarella, torn (optional)
  • 1/4 cup fresh basil (optional)
  • 1/2 cup shredded Gruyère
  • 1/4 cup shredded Parmigiano Reggiano
In This Recipe

Directions

For the béchamel

  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. Preheat oven to 375° 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!

More Great Recipes:
Pasta|Lasagna|Italian|Mozzarella|Swiss Chard|Leek|Milk/Cream|Make Ahead|Serves a Crowd|Vegetarian|Entree

Reviews (27) Questions (1)

27 Reviews

Kevin K. April 20, 2018
Hate when recipes say to discard the ribs of greens (chard, kale, et al.), especially when the greens are going to be sautéed. Remove the ribs, slice thinly, and sauté along with the leeks; add the greens later as directed.
 
AudreyXuan February 25, 2018
Rating: 7.25/10<br /><br />Quite good. The red pepper flakes really kick it up a notch; without them, it'd be sorely lacking in flavour. I agree with some of the commenters that the addition of mushrooms or other veggies would add a lot to this dish. But it was overall pretty easy prep (something not often found on this site) and the cheese sauce was delicious.
 
Sabine G. July 28, 2017
I loved it all. My husband loved it all. Toddler approved, too. I used just one box of noodles so I justified eating two servings instead of one.
 
Katie H. January 8, 2017
This was excellent! I saw the other comments about there not being enough veggies, so I made sure to compensate for that. I opted to use two bags of frozen, chopped kale and one bag of frozen peas in addition to the leeks. The peas were great with the kale and leeks! I also sauteed a handful of chopped bacon into my leeks before adding the kale and peas: the bacon imparted a smoky, umami flavor that settled nicely into the final dish. Using frozen kale was also a huge time saver. For the bechamel, I changed the ratio of the flour to butter to be equal, since the ratio in this recipe uses more flour than butter, which seems unnecessary. I added a healthy amount of Aleppo chili flakes and nutmeg to my sauce, which gave it a nice kick. I only ended up using one package of no-boil lasagne sheets. I also broiled the top for a few minutes at the end. I'll definitely make this again.
 
Amanda November 20, 2016
This was really, really good. I agree with the other comments that it needs a substantial amount more vegetables (mushrooms would be great, I added mashed sweet potato, which was super good). I had my doubts when I looked in the oven about 20 minutes into it - it looked like a pool of bechamel w/ the pasta drowning...but 35 minutes of cook time + 5 minutes broil, was perfect. Definitely let it congeal for the full 10 minutes out of the oven, prior to serving. I would probably decrease the amount of bechamel by a cup (of milk) next time, as well. Great recipe!!
 
Alex August 14, 2016
Delicious!!! I used two bunches of swiss chard and half a bag of spinach, which gave me 2 (thin) layers of veggies. I also used less than one box of lasagna. So, other than the measurements being a bit off, this was awesome! LOVE the bechamel sauce.
 
arielleclementine March 19, 2016
this was so wonderful! i'll make it again and again. the gruyere is simply perfect!
 
annie February 22, 2016
I totally agree about not having enough bunches of greens! I loved the bechamel with the gruyere, such good flavor, but will definitely add more veggies next time. I used kale instead of the chard, and then added some cremini mushrooms. Next time, I'll throw in more anything green and then some.
 
c February 5, 2016
I just assembled this but I think that my 2 bunches of Swiss chard must've been much too small as I didn't have anywhere near enough of the vegetable filling to use up the 2 boxes of lasagne sheets and béchamel. Could you give me a an idea of how many cups of the wilted vegetables I should have, roughly?<br /><br />Thanks!
 
Sophies F. September 9, 2015
An a amazing wonderful special lasagna creation! I used swiss chard & leeks from my own garden in here! Excellent flavors! :) MMMMM!
 
heatheranne December 22, 2014
This was amazing! I wanted to drink all the sauce right out of the pan. Immediately. Next time I am going to try spinach. I keep trying to like chard and I just don't. Even covered in cheese sauce! I also think it would be tasty with zucchini. Or mushrooms.
 
DragonFly November 17, 2014
I made almost the same lasagna last week but I added some roasted butternut squash!
 
drose November 16, 2014
What are the nutritional values of this dish?
 
heatheranne May 8, 2015
I froze it too because my bf is lactose intolerant and only I am able to eat it. I've been enjoying a slice occasionally as lunch ever since :)
 
heatheranne May 8, 2015
Opps. Sorry. Meant to reply to the comment below.
 
linda November 12, 2014
when I made this - I made two and froze one - wasn't sure if it would thaw and cook succesfully but it was just as great the second time around! We thawed completely in fridge and cooked per normal instructions and it was fabulous.
 
Kitchie November 30, 2014
I was just wondering about dividing and freezing this recipe. Thanks for answering my question before I asked it! (BTW your dog's smile made me smile!)
 
Brenny November 11, 2014
I would like to assemble and cook this dish a day before I serve it. What is your recommendation for reheating the lasagna once it has been refrigerated for a day?<br />Thank you.
 
Author Comment
sarahschuster November 17, 2014
Hi Brenny,<br /><br />Sorry for the late reply, but I would reheat it in the oven, covered with foil, at 350 until it sizzles and is warm all the way through. If you're just cooking one serving, however, it's really nice in a frying pan!
 
ChefJune November 11, 2014
my kind of dish! lagougerie, try using the lasagne noodles dry. They hydrate just fine in the liquid of your dish. No need to use "no bake" noodles.
 
Author Comment
sarahschuster November 17, 2014
thanks for the tip, ChefJune! When I use a regular pasta and bake this as a casserole, I par-boil the noodles for just a few minutes, but I always like my pasta super al dente, so I'll try them dry next time!
 
linda October 27, 2014
this was delicious! i went with what I had on hand so I subbed spinach for the swiss chard and I did throw in some nutmeg! It was fantastic. I volunteer monthly to take dinner to some folks in need so made extra to take to them as well and threw one in the freezer - we'll see how well it thaws?!
 
Fran M. September 27, 2014
This sounds heavenly, it also sounds like something I tasted 20 years ago in Rome. I've thought about it many times. Thank you for the recipe.
 
Author Comment
sarahschuster September 29, 2014
Lovely to hear! I hope you enjoy it.
 
Author Comment
sarahschuster September 25, 2014
This is the first time I've written down a recipe so I was bound to make a few errors. Just to clarify, the leeks should be with tough green parts removed, cut into 1/4 inch slices and garlic should be minced. Sorry!
 
Darlene September 25, 2014
Ha! You saved me two of my questions! Here are my others: 1) Is the butter listed in the second list of ingredients just meant for the buttering of the baking dish?, 2) When making as a casserole, you would pre-cook the pasta, yes?, 3) Red pepper flakes was missing from the list of ingredients. I made this last night using about a half tsp of red pepper flakes and chopped Vidalias (I had no leeks on hand). I added a little nutmeg to the Bechamel and some pan browned sausage to the casserole. As fabulous as this was, I can't wait to have it for leftovers as I am certain it will taste even better!
 
Author Comment
sarahschuster September 25, 2014
Aha! Thanks so much for your comment. You're right. Ugh, writing recipes is SUPER hard. To answer your questions:<br /><br />(1) Yes<br />(2) Yes, I would severely undercook it, though, maybe cutting the cooking time on the box in half, until the outside has softened just a little. <br />(3) My mistake -- something happened when I was trying to upload this and had to redo it a bunch of times. It was in there at some point but I must have left it out. 1/2 tsp. sounds appropriate.<br /><br />Something definitely happened when uploading, because nutmeg was supposed to be on there as well. I will work on my uploading skills. Nutmeg and something like a sweet fennel sausage are great ideas! Adds to the earthiness.