Sunday, November 23, 2008


I bought a box of Trader Joe's No Boil lasagna noodles the last time I was at Trader Joe's (which since we've moved to the culinary equivalent of Russia/China larder is rendered somewhat unnecessary so we only go once a month for bacon and wine) because I was very very optimistic.  I had never made it myself, but mom's was always so decadent, gorgeous, and I thought, possibly fool proof.  She never consulted a recipe, and each time it was different-- sometimes with cheese and meat, sometimes with leafy greens and zucchini.
Our CSA box arrived with a dubious looking recipe for kale and butternut squash "lasagna" which did not include copious amounts of either noodle or tomatoe sauce.  I like the idea, though, and tried adding kale and cooked BNS to a recipe for Spring Lasagna found in Italianissimo (a bargain rack cookbook I picked up at Borders) which included homeade pesto and Bechemal sauce.  I just substituted BNS and kale for the cooked potatoes and veggies they called for. 

Heaven is Bechemal Sauce and Pesto.  
It is.  That first lasagna was the most fragrant, toothsome thing I had ever pulled out of the gaping maw of my oven.  I made a second dish of it last night, this time, I didn't have any BNS or kale, but I had a huge head of cabbage I had to get rid off.  Why not bury it inside a lasagna?  I used the rest of the hard cheeses in the fridge and a heal of blue.
Oven 375
no boil noodles (yes, you have a life!)
1 or more c pesto (we like pistachios)
Bechemal Sauce (see below)
2 lbs tomatoes (a lot, I never measure in pounds) chopped
1 T olive oil
1 lb potatoes cooked and cut in cubes (or butternut squash)
a mess of another optional veggie, like kale or cabbage or?
3/4 freshly grated parmesan or peccorino or both
a scant handful of cheddar
salt and pepper
Grease a 9 x 13 baking dish.
mix the bechemal with the pesto.
spread the sauce on the bottom of pan.  
add a layer of veggies
add a sprinkle of parm
add a layer of tomatoes
add a layer of noodles
repeat until you run out of stuff.
toss of that scant handful of cheddar and whatever parmesan you have left.
bake for 45 minutes
Bechemal Sauce
1/4 c butter
1/3 c flour (I use whole wheat, because that is all I buy, and it works)
2 c milk
salt and pepper
(if it tastes too much like bisquit batter, add more salt and a splash of chicken stock)
Melt butter in pan, add milk (don't burn it!) and whisk in the flour slowly.  Keep simmering and stirring until it suddenly gets thick, then turn off the heat.


H said...

Yum. I think my mom and your mom both graduated from the same lasagne cooking class. My mom also makes a tomato sauce with grated carrots, and puts this in a heavily layered squash lasagne. Sometimes the lasagne will have eggplant and tomatoes instead of spinach-- and more often than not it will feature swiss chard.

Camille said...

that sounds fantastic!!

Kay said...

That sounds like a five Mmmmm meal to me!

Camille said...

Hey H, can you post that grated carrot recipe?

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I blog about life and soup, but mostly soup.