Free Form Lasagna with Ricotta and Kale
I posted a free form lasagna recipe a short while ago but today made another one and thought it post-worthy. I used fresh lasagna sheets from our Valoroso Italian market and used prepared tomato sauce from Alba, Italy (Cascina San Cassiano, comes in a cute round jar). If you can’t find this one try Williams Sonoma pasta sauces, they are pretty good, or of course make your own. This lasagna has to be cooked in 375F for a few minutes so make sure you have sturdy oven safe serving dishes. I used 10″ salad plates with rounded bottom, to catch the sauce. Lasagna for me is an all season food when I make it this way. In the spring it’s wonderful with asparagus or artichokes, in the summer with fresh peas and baby vegetables, in the fall with various squashes and in the winter with eggplant. We never seem to tire of it.
The kale I use in this recipe is not the curly kale type. Use the black kale or as the Italians call it cavolo negro or Tuscan kale. It’s the one with the long, narrow, crinkly dark leaves. Do not substitute it with the curly leaf kale, it will not cook in the same way.
The farmers market opened yesterday in Kelowna. I didn’t make it to the Market (Metropolitan Opera Live Broadcast, can’t be missed, even for a market opening) but I look forward to seeing what they have here in the Okanagan early in the season and wonder where it comes from. It cannot be much of local produce yet, the spring hasn’t fully “sprung”. There is still snow on the mountains across the lake. The daily battle between the clouds hovering over the valley and the sun trying to peek from behind them is not over yet. In any event it’s exciting to be in an area where produce is grown locally. There is nothing like coming back from the market with a basket full of local produce to prepare in the kitchen.
Soon we will be able to plant the herbs on our rooftop patio, I can hardly wait for that. How fun it is to step out of the kitchen and pick fresh herbs from my own garden. This year with the new outdoor kitchen all ready to go I won’t even have to step out, it will all be right there:). I’ll post pictures when the herb garden is ready. Herbs grow extremely well here in the Okanagan and the season lasts well into fall. Last summer we had a profusion of herbs almost taking over section of the garden and I had enough parsley pesto to last throughout the winter, even after sharing some with friends. At the end of the season I dry some of the herbs, give some away in little metal dried herb containers and use the rest throughout the winter.
In the meantime, enjoy the recipe for two quickie lasagna servings:
3 prepared lasagna sheets, fresh or dried (only used wide lasagna sheets, not the long narrow one
A little olive oil
2 tablespoons butter
1 large shallot, peeled and sliced thinly
1 bunch black kale, rinsed, tough stalk removed and the leaves sliced into ribbons
1 cup cream
2 cups ricotta
1/3 cup grated Parmesan or Romano
2 cups good quality delicious tomato sauce of your choice (see note above)
Bring a large pot of water to a boil.
Cut the lasagna sheets in half, creating 6 squares. trim them so they properly fit into the plates you are using (see above)
Add salt and then add the lasagna sheets, three at a time.
Cook the lasagna sheets until almost al dente (they will continue to cook in the oven later)
Remove the lasagna sheets to a plate, one at a time,
Brush the top with a little olive oil to prevent them from sticking to each other while you prepare the rest of the ingredients.
Melt the butter in a large skillet or in the same pot you cooked the pasta in
Add shallots and cook for a couple of minutes until soft and fragrant but nor brown.
Add the ribboned kale and stir to coat with the butter
Cook until kale is soft, about 3-4 minutes on medium heat.
Add 1 cup cream and bring to a boil, stirring.
Cook until the kale is cooked through.
Add the ricotta and grated Parmesan or Romano
Cook for another couple of minutes until the mixture is combined.
You can add a little more cream to keep the mixture nice and moist.
Remove from heat.
Spoon some of the tomato sauce on the bottom of each plate.
Place a lasagna sheet over the tomato sauce
Spoon some of the Ricotta-kale mixture on the middle of the pasta square.Spoon a little tomato sauce over.
Repeat with two more pasta square ending with pasta on top.
Spoon some more tomato sauce over the top, sprinkle with Parmesan or Romano.
Pour about 1/4-1/3 cup cream over everything
Top with a little more cheese if you like.
Bake the lasagna in 375F oven for a few minutes until the cheese melts and begins to turn golden and the sauce slightly bubbles.
Carefully remove from the oven.
Place each plate on a larger serving plate lined with a napkin
Serve it very carefully as the plates are extremely hot.