Yesterday at the greenhouse was a great antidote to the late winter storm. Thanks to Curtis and Sarah for continuing to teach us about farming, and managing the process yesterday. We need to come up with a workday in March. I am proposing Saturday, March 28th. This is the second weekend of Springfield Public Schools spring break, for those who are affected.
Here is a recipe that will allow you to use all your greens and still get your kids to eat them – at least my 17 year old son did. First, a tip from my Depression era mother, who can’t bear to throw anything away. (We like to joke that she still has the tops to cottage cheese containers from 1967 in her basement, except that it’s not a joke.) She keeps a plastic bag in her freezer, where she deposits vegetable trimmings. She later uses them for soup stock. I keep chicken bones (from organic local chickens!) in a separate bag. I put in celery ends, potato peels, carrot tops, greens that aren’t quite attractive enough for the table, tiny garlic bulbs from the middle of the clove, etc. I don’t bother to peel the garlic cloves, by the way. Just cover with water, simmer for an hour or so (longer if meat bones are included) and freeze or use. I don’t use salt and pepper in the broth, but I do but in herbs and bay leaf. Again, the thyme and rosemary stems, the parsley that isn’t as attractive, are all fair game. Leaving the salt and pepper out allows more flexibility in taste when you do use it. I cook my rice and grains in it for added flavor.
The recipe is from Martha Rose Shulman’s Mediterranean Harvest –
Lasagna with Greens and Tomato Sauce:
You can use whatever Marinara sauce you like, or a white sauce like Bechamel. I used whole grain lasagne noodles that required pre-cooking but you can use whatever noodles you like.
1 pound stemmed and cleaned greens
2 TBSP extra virgin olive oil.
2 large garlic cloves, minced
Sea or kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
1 lb ricotta cheese
1 1/4 cups freshly grated parmesan, tightly packed
fresh ground nutmeg
2 1/2 cups sauce
1/2 pound noodles
1 TBSP unsalted butter
1. Cook the greens in a large pot of water with 1 TBSP salt. Blanch for 2-3 minutes, till tender, then transfer to a bowl of ice water, cool for a minute, drain, and squeeze dry. You should have a little over 2 cups cooked greens.
2. Heat the olive oil in a large heavy skillet over med high heat and add the garlic. Cook, stirring until fragrent, about one minute and then add the greens. Cook, stirring for 2-3 min, until coated with oil. season with salt and pepper.
3. Chop the greens mix very fine or pulse in a food processor. Transfer to a bowl and stir in the ricotta and 1/2 cup of the parmesan. Season to taste with salt, pepper, and a little nutmeg. Set aside.
4. Heat the oven to 350 F. Butter or oil a 2 qu lasagna dish or baking dish. Spoon a thin layer of sauce over the bottom. Top with a layer iof noodles. Cover with a thin layer of sauce, and sprinkle on some Parmesan. Repeat the layers until the filling is used up (1/2 pound noodles usually gives four layers.)End with a layer of pasta covered with a layer of sauce and a sprinkling of Parmesan. Dot with the butter. Cover tightly with foil.
5. Bake for 30 minutes, until the sauce is bubbling. Remove the foil and bake another 5-10 minutes, until the top begins to brown. Remove from oven, allow to sit for five minutes, then serve.
Advance prep: This can be assebled up to a day ahead and help in th fridge. Cover with plastic instead of foil to avoid a reaction wtih the greens.
Quick Free-form Lasagna Variation: Prepare the greens as above, toss together with cooked noodles, the ricotta mixed with a little of the pasta cooking water to melt and thin it out, greens, and grated cheeses. The greens remain brighter than in the assembled form.