Dana Treat – Treat Yourself

Lasagne with Eggplant and Chard

Posted January 18, 2010

Lasagne with Eggplant and Chard
Adapted from Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone
Serves 6-8

1½ pounds fresh pasta sheets, or 1 box dried
Tomato sauce (about 2 cups, recipe follows)
1½ pounds eggplant, sliced crosswise ¼-inch thick
Olive oil
½ onion, finely diced
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 bunch green chard, leaves removed from the stems
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/2 dry white wine
1 cup ricotta cheese
1 egg
1 cup grated Pecorino Romano
8 ounces fresh mozzarella, thinly sliced

Prepare the sauce.  If you are using dried pasta, parboil it for a few minutes then drain it and lay out on a sheet pan so it doesn’t stick together.

Preheat the oven to 400°F.  Brush both sides of the eggplant lightly with oil.  Place the slices on a sheet pan and bake, turning once, until browned on both sides, about 30 minutes in all.  Chop coarsely and set aside.  (DT: This step can be done one day ahead.  Cool completely, then cover and refrigerate.)

Heat a large skillet over medium heat.  Add just enough olive oil to coat the bottom, then add the onion and garlic.  Stir frequently for 3 minutes.  Add the chard, sprinkle with a pinch of salt and a few grinds of pepper, and cook until wilted, about 5 minutes.  Add the wine, cover and cook until the chard is tender and the pan is dry, about 10 minutes.  Turn the mixture out onto a cutting board and finely chop.  In a bowl, mix together the ricotta and the egg, then stir in the chard mixture.  Season with salt and pepper.  (DT: This step can be done one day ahead.  Cover and refrigerate.)

Oil a 9- x 13-inch baking dish.  Coat the bottom lightly with sauce and then cover with a layer of pasta.  Scatter a quarter of the Pecorino over the top and add a quarter of the eggplant, ricotta mixture, and mozzarella.  Follow with another layer of pasta and repeat for three more layers.  End with a layer of pasta and top with sauce.  (Sprinkle with more Pecorino if you like.)  Cover with foil.  (DT: The whole lasagne can be made one day ahead.  Keep covered and refrigerate.  It will need another 10 minutes or so of baking time.)

Preheat the oven to 400°F.  Bake 20 to 30 minutes or until heated through.  Remove the foil and bake for another 5 to 10 minutes.  Let stand for 10 minutes before serving.

Dana’s Tomato Sauce
Makes a lot

Of course you can halve this recipe.

1 onion, finely diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 tsp. dried basil
1 tsp. dried oregano
1/2 cup good red wine
2- 28 ounce cans whole tomatoes
Salt and freshly ground pepper
Pinch of sugar (optional)

Heat a Dutch oven over medium heat.  Add just enough olive oil to coat the bottom, then add the onion along with a pinch of salt, and sauté until softened, stirring frequently, about 5 minutes.  Add the garlic, stir for another 2 minutes, then add the herbs.  Stir well to combine, then pour in the wine.

Cook, uncovered, until the wine is almost evaporated, then carefully add the two cans of tomatoes.  Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to a simmer.  Cook until the sauce has thickened, periodically crushing the tomatoes against the side of the pot with a spoon, about 30 minutes.  Taste, adding salt and pepper as necessary and a pinch of sugar if the taste is metallic.  (In my experience, the better the tomatoes, the less of a need for sugar.)  If you prefer a smoother sauce, you can purée it with an immersion blender, or in a stand blender or food processor.  Let the sauce cool before you use a stand machine.

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