Wednesday, 11 February 2015

I'll Bake You a Dinner You Can't Refuse

Lasagna Semplice di Cime di Rapa
Simple Broccoli Rabe Lasagna


Lasagna- everybody loves it- but how often do we have the time to make it? Hmm! On a weekday evening- after a long day at work? Well- yes sure! make it a little different, cut a couple of corners (and cut out a few calories on the way!)- and if you have an hour to spend, you can enjoy something like this here!

It will take an hour from start to finish- but only 20 minutes of that time will be spent cooking- you can rest for the remaining 40 minutes, whilst your lasagna bakes in the oven... so, YEAH! You CAN make this any old night of the week! And you should!


This is a meat-free version of the classic, layered pasta dish. It also does without a classic, Bechamel sauce. And a lot of butter. And a lot of cheese compared to most. So, yeah- it's a lot lighter and better for you! And- this version has beautiful broccoli rabe in it, so it is packed with great flavor!

So if you are a fan of those rich and slightly bitter greens- keep on reading and I will tell you how to make this!


Here are the ingredients- and as usual with my dishes, it is pretty amazing just how little you are going to need to make these 2 portions of delicious lasagna!

I had 1 small head of broccoli rabe, 4 sheets of lasagna, 1 shallot, about a half liter of milk (I used low fat, but that is up to you), 1 pat of butter, 3 teaspoons of flour, a small chunk of Parmesan cheese, (about the size of your shallot) and plenty of salt, pepper and nutmeg.


The other good news is that all of the action is going to take place in ONE saucepan- you won't be fussing around and making a mess to put this dish together either! More and more reasons to consider giving this a try, I'd say!


Of course, you can always substitute regular broccoli for the broccoli rabe that I used, should you not like that hint of bitterness that it brings as much as I do- or even use some other leafy green- it's all good and the same method will work whatever you decide to use. Swiss chard would be wonderful, or spinach... use your imagination and have some fun!

Start off by frying the finely chopped shallot with a pat of butter until it begins to brown and then add the chunkier parts of the leaves, as they will take a little longer to cook through. Once they have begun to turn a darker shade of green and have begun to cook, deglaze the saucepan with just enough milk to cover everything, add a good pinch of salt and pepper and grate generously with nutmeg. Reduce to a simmer and pop on the lid for 5 minutes. In the meantime, turn on the oven to get it nice and hot and ready!


5 Minutes later, add all of the leafier parts of the leaves and pop the lid back on for 5 minutes, so that they can steam, wilt down and cook through. Season again with a little more salt- this will also help speed up the cooking process.

By now, all of the moisture will have evaporated and been absorbed by the greens and the saucepan should be nearly dry. At this point, add the flour and then stir it in thoroughly, so that all of the greens get coated evenly all over.


Stir them through for a minute or two, then add more nutmeg, salt and pepper and grab your bottle of milk!

Pour in the milk a good splash at a time and keep stirring. Soon, the flour coating the greens will thicken it into a creamy sauce and that extra seasoning will soon infuse it with a great nutmeg flavor... so you will have a Bechamel flavor without going to the bother of preparing it separately... good huh?

Oh- and by the way... having done that, you are now ready to put your lasagna together!


Starting with some greens on the base of your baking dish, begin to build up the layers of pasta sheets, creamy, saucy greens and grated Parmesan cheese, seasoning again with a little more pepper and nutmeg as you go.

Once you have built up all your layers and have a nice sprinkle of cheese on top, cover with foil and bake in a hot oven, at 180°C, for 35-40 minutes.

After the 40 minutes are over, remove the foil and return to the oven for a further 5 minutes under the broiler to get that cheese golden and delicious... and then don't hesitate to serve piping hot!


Yummy comfort food- a little different to what you are used to maybe... and all the better for it!


It sure put a smile on my face this evening- and that's for sure! I am betting it will do the same for you too!


Fancy a bite?  :-)


At the end of the day- it was not a lot of work to make and did not leave me with a lot to tidy up either... So yes- this really is a good thing to make at the end of the day- or any other time of the day for that matter! ;-)

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