Tuesday, April 7, 2020

Covid-19 lockdown recipe 5: kale lasagne

Remember those pre-lockdown trips to the supermarket where shelves were bare? A lot of people complained that it wasn't really possible to 'shop normally' because 'normal' things weren't available. 
In fact I couldn't find any frozen spinach from Talley, but never mind, all the kale was there, sitting alone among the empty spaces previously occupied by frozen peas and mix veggies. I wonder why, I always thought that frozen kale was one of the best frozen veggie out there after mine got all eaten up by bugs! So, lucky for me :-). I use kale in the same way as I would use spinach, and silverbeet too (fortunately still alive in the garden, but either too young or too leaf deprived (by me this time, not by the bugs) to use now. Of course lasagne with kale taste different from lasagne with spinach (or silverbeet) but I love them (btw, to me lasagne is a plural noun, lasagna is just one sheet a pasta).  At the same time I could use the Barilla lasagne I scored when all the other pasta was not available! I usually make fresh lasagne, but I have to say that these ones are super easy to use and quick, and give good results. I wouldn't use any other brand in fact.

Start by cooking the kale. Place the kale in a bowl and let it defrost at room temperature (one pack is 500g, I use it all). Chop a couple of shallots (if you don't have shallots substitute with an onion), and sauté in olive oil, add a little salt and then the defrosted kale and stir well. Cover and simmer on low for 30 minutes, stirring from time to time and adding more water when needed. Towards the end of cooking add more salt to taste. Let the Kale cool down completely. I cooked mine the day before so I stored it in the fridge overnight. 

Then make a white sauce. Easy version: mix two tbsp of plain flour with a little full cream milk taken from 1 litre to make a paste with no lumps, add most of the milk and 60 g of butter. Bring to the boil stirring constantly, when it is creamy add the rest of the milk and stir well. Add salt, pepper and freshly grated nutmeg. If you like the more traditional version melt the butter, mix in the flour and then add the milk. Procede as above. 

To layer: place a small amount of white sauce at the bottom of a lasagne dish, cover with sheets of pasta, breaking up some to fit your dish perfectly. Add some kale, a little more white sauce and some grated Parmigiano Reggiano. Add more pasta and continue to layer as above, making sure that you have as many layer of pasta as possible: good lasagne have many layers, so keep the kale/white sauce layers very very thin!! Make sure that you keep enough white sauce for the last layer which is just pasta completely covered with white sauce and grated Parmigiano.

Bake at 180℃ for 45 minutes, or until you get a nice crust. Cover with tin foil or a lid and let it sit for 20 minutes (in the warm oven if you like) before serving. Or if serving later on in the day keep covered and then reheat in the oven for 20 minutes.

Easy to cut and I love a bit of crunch on the crust and the creamy white sauce just underneath!  

I also used kale to make Palak Paneer, just in case you don't like Lasagne :-)

Photos and Recipes by Alessandra Zecchini ©

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