Kale and Mushroom Lasagna
The kale and mushroom combination is well worth the prep. I'm even wondering about doing a spaghetti squash version of the lasagna, just because. If you're looking for how to make a vegetable lasagna without all the crunch of zucchini noodles or the leathery eggplant layers, try this one! Also, it's lasagna without tomatoes!
Kale and Mushroom Lasagna
"Lighter and more delicate than a typical tomato-and-meat lasagna, this green lasagna is nonetheless bursting with flavor. You could use a mix of cooking greens instead of all kale; just be sure you wilt them until quite tender so the texture harmonizes with the other layers."
6 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 cups chicken or vegetable broth, homemade or low-sodium store-bought
1 cup whole or 2% milk
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
3/4 pound white or cremini mushrooms, wiped clean and finely chopped
1 pound kale, thick ribs cut out, leaves cut into very thin strips, rinsed, and shaken dry (3 bunches)
Grated zest of 1 lemon
1 pound whole-milk ricotta cheese
One 9-ounce box no-boil lasagna noodles (you may have a few left over)
1.5 cups freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
Melt 4 tablespoons of the butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add the flour, stir to make a smooth paste, and cook for a minute or two so the raw flour flavor cooks out. Whisk in the broth and the milk. Bring the mixture (called a velouté) to a boil, whisking to eliminate lumps. Reduce the heat and simmer for 5 minutes to thicken slightly. Season lightly with salt and pepper (if you’ve used store-bought broth, remember that it can be salty).
Heat the oven to 375F. Melt the remaining 2 tablespoons butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. When the sizzling stops, add the mushrooms, season with salt and pepper, and cook, stirring and scraping the pan, until all the moisture from the mushrooms has been released and evaporated and they begin to brown and stick a bit to the pan, 10 to 12 minutes. Scrape into a bowl and let cool slightly.
Return the skillet to medium-high heat, add the kale, season lightly with salt, and cook, tossing frequently, until the kale is wilted and very tender, 12 to 15 minutes. You may need to add a few splashes of water along the way if the pan gets dry. Taste and adjust the seasoning with more salt and some pepper.
Stir the lemon zest into the ricotta in a bowl.
To assemble the lasagna, spread a bit less than half the velouté in an even layer on the bottom of a 9 x 13-inch baking dish. Arrange the lasagna noodles in an even layer, breaking the noodles to fit as needed. Spread the mushrooms evenly over the noodles and then top with the kale, distributing it evenly.
Arrange a second layer of noodles, then top with evenly spaced dollops of the ricotta. Gently spread the dollops to make an even layer without disturbing the noodles. Add one more layer of noodles, top with the remaining velouté, and sprinkle the Parmigiano over the top.
Bake until the cheese is golden brown and the juices are bubbling around the edges, 40 to 50 minutes. Let the lasagna cool for at least 20 minutes before cutting and serving.