Friday, May 27, 2011

chard lasagna & lemon ricotta

Bitter, leafy greens are one of those produce options that I don't jump for joy to eat or cook with.

Until now...

Gorgeous swiss chard is currently in season and was an impeccable starring role in this simple lasagna recipe delicately layered with fresh herbs, lemony ricotta and creamy fresh mozzarella.

Your mouth will be watering while you're waiting for this baked treat to cool...

Swiss Chard Lasagna with Fresh Mozzarella

yields approximately 4 servings

Not only is this lasagna simple to make, but the recipe list is quite simple as well. No side salad is even necessary with this veggie-packed Italian delight.

1 bunch swiss chard, washed and dried
1 can diced tomatoes with basil & oregano
1 eight ounce ball of fresh mozzarella
1 cup ricotta
1 t herbs de provence, plus additional to sprinkle
1 T lemon zest
6 "n0-boil" lasagna sheets
1/2 t crushed red pepper flakes plus additional to sprinkle
salt and fresh-cracked pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 375 degrees and grease a 9x5x3 loaf pan.

Start by trimming woodsy red stems at the bottom of each swiss chard leaf. Usually, I would trim the bitter stem within the membrane but the bitterness lends a lovely flavor complement in this particular dish.

Stack a few leaves at a time, roll them like a cigar horizontally, then slice into uniform ribbons.

Heat a large saute pan to medium-high heat. Add a swirl of olive oil, sliced swiss chard, red pepper flakes, salt and pepper (as shown).

Saute and wilt for a few minutes then add can of diced tomatoes (as shown). Simmer approximately 10 minutes to slightly reduce liquid. Re-adjust seasonings if needed.

While swiss chard mixture is simmering, mix herbs de provence, lemon zest, salt and pepper with ricotta. Slice fresh mozzarella (as shown).

Take swiss chard mixture off the heat and have all ingredients ready to layer lasagna.

Begin with a small amount of swiss chard mixture on the bottom of pan followed by 2 lasagna sheets, 1/3 of ricotta mixture, half of fresh mozzarella slices, 1/2 swiss chard mixture, 2 more lasagna sheets, next 1/3 of ricotta mixture, remaining swiss chard mixture, remaining lasagna sheets, remaining ricotta mixture and last slices of fresh mozzarella.

Sprinkle with red pepper flakes and herbs de provence (as shown).

Bake at 375 degrees approximately 30 minutes then raise temperature to 425 degrees and bake an additional 15 minutes until golden brown and bubbling (as shown).

Let cool 15 minutes before cutting into portions and serving (pour a glass of wine while you're waiting anxiously).

Oh, those gorgeous layers!

Enjoy your bubbling creation.


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