Broken Florentine Lasagna Bake

After enjoying this meal for two evenings, I determined that I had to write and share it with the blogging world. It is SO good! Not surprisingly, I found it in my newest Rachael Ray cookbook. I was initially tempted to make the lasagna bake because all of the ingredients, save for the spinach and chard, were things I keep stocked in my pantry. I made a quick stop at Trader Joe’s to purchase the greens-they’re only $1.99 a bag there!-and I was ready.

The recipe is straightforward, and can easily be put together in 20 minutes or so. The baking time, however, is 30 minutes, so it’s not technically a 30 minute meal-even for you, Rach! It’s a very low-maintenance dish though, a simple cheese sauce and sauteed greens. Unfortunately, I had not been able to purchase the no-boil lasagna, so I had to add that whole extra step, but it wasn’t too much of a hassle. The final result is very tasty, and you don’t even feel guilty about the cheesy sauce, because you’re also eating 3 POUNDS of greens! My husband usually rebels against any dish that doesn’t contain some kind of meat (even fish really doesn’t quite satisfy him!), but he seemed to enjoy it. It’s comforting, easy, and great heated up the next day.

Broken Florentine Lasagna Bake

4 tbsp. (1/2 stick) butter
4 tbsp all-purpose flour
3 cups milk (I used lowfat, and the dish was still creamy and delicious)
Salt and pepper
Freshly grated nutmeg (I did NOT go out and find myself a whole nutmeg for this purpose)
1 1/2 cups grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
2 tbsp EVOO
1 garlic clove, cracked away from its skin
1 bunch of green chard, stems removed, leaves coarsely chopped (I removed the stems from my bag of chard, and didn’t bother chopping, as it was already torn into largeish pieces)
2 pounds spinach, stems removed, leaves coarsely chopped (again, I didn’t bother chopping, and it made no difference at all)
1 box no-boil lasagna noodles (As I mentioned, I had to resort to regular lasagna noodles, but I didn’t use a full pound)

1. Preheat the oven to 375.
2. Melt the butter in a medium pot over medium heat. Sprinkle the flour over the melted butter, whisk to combine, and cook for about 1 minute. Slowly whisk the milk into the butter-flour mixture, season with salt, pepper, and nutmeg, and cook for a couple of minutes to thicken. Stir in half the Parmigiano (about 3/4 cup). Set the sauce aside.
3. Heat the EVOO in a large cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat. Toss in the cracked clove of garlic and cook for a minute or two to release its aroma and flavor. Add the chard and cook, turning occasionally to wilt down, 2 minutes. Add the spinach a few handfuls at a time, wilting each batch before adding more. Season the greens with salt and pepper.
4. Break the pasta sheets into large pieces. Toss them into the pan with the greens and give them a good stir to incorporate them. Pour the sauce into the skillet, stirring again to incorporate everything evenly. Smooth the top down and sprinkle the remaining 3/4 cup Parmigiano into the skillet. Cover the skillet with foil, transfer to the oven, and bake the lasagna for 30 minutes. Remove the foil from the pan and let it finish cooking uncovered for about 15 more minutes to brown the cheese. (I found this extra 15 minutes unnecessary, as my oven is freakishly hot, and the lasagna bake was golden and bubbling.)

I’m still working on developing decent food photography skills-perhaps my husband’s new fancy camera will help-so you’ll have to excuse my amateur efforts. I do like the steam emanating from my skillet o’ greens. In case you’re wondering, my bag of chard was full of rainbow AND green chard-that’s why you see strange purple greens.


One Response to “Broken Florentine Lasagna Bake”

  1. J & Co. Says:

    Sounds delish, but was your pic in the early prep? What does it look like complete?! Alright, I know this is your food forum, but I have to share what I (me, me?!) just whipped up and is nearly gone (italicized gone): Southwestern Pasta Salad That’s Easier Than Anything Rachel Ray Would Even Tolerate But is EQUALLY Delish: 5 spinach swirls (Tagliatelle, al dente), 1 can of whole sweet corn, 1 can of peas, 1 can of Rotel, 2/3 cup chopped onion, 2 tbls light mayo, 2 tbls EVOO (add more if needed to make your spread smoother), couple dashes pep, 1 teas salt, couple dashes garlic powder, and (the kicker) 1/4 cup (soy) bacon bits. Emulse your herbs and oils, mix into the rest, finished w/ baco….UMMM GIRRRl. Makes a lot, but it won’t last long!

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