Food

Bonus Sunday cooking adventures: Kale and mushroom lasagna

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This lasagna was good. So good I wanted to eat the entire pan and then make another one. Really.

And the funny part is, it has kale in it, and I don’t exactly love kale. I’ll eat it, but it is never my first choice when it comes to greens.

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This lasagna has a lot of depth of flavor. It is not fat free, but very low in fat for lasagna. The cheese is the garnish at the end, and is not the substantive body of the dish. The flavor comes from the fresh garlic (10 cloves!), basil and oregano in the sauce; the 3 slices of bacon (drain all but 1 teaspoon of the fat), the cremini mushrooms, and for me, the whole wheat lasagna noodles. And of course, the kale.

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This recipe was work. It is a half day project, so know that going in. You have to cook three different layers: The kale and garlic, the sauce, and the mushrooms and bacon. You have to plan time for this. But it is so worth it. I did not buy no-boil lasagna noodles because I couldn’t find any whole grain ones. Instead I used a trick I learned from Martha Stewart. The first thing I did when starting to cook was put the noodles into a baking dish of very hot water and just let them soak until I was ready to use them. They soften enough so that they finish cooking in the oven. I will never pre-cook lasagna noodles again.

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This can easily be a vegetarian dish by leaving out the bacon and substituting vegetable broth for the beef broth. The original recipe called for pancetta (which has less fat) and no-boil noodles. There’s a lot of room for creativity in this recipe. But like I said, the sauce was so good the taste of the kale just blended in naturally with the rest. This recipe fills an 8 inch by 8 inch dish and offers 4 large portions. The next time I make it I’m going to double the recipe and freeze some it. I’m also going to try different greens (maybe mustard or collards). Try this one out! Here is the link to the original recipe for Kale and Mushroom Lasagna.

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Kale and Mushroom Lasagna

Ingredients

2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 cup chopped onion
10 garlic cloves, minced and divided
2 tablespoons unsalted tomato paste
1/4 cup dry red wine
4 tablespoons dried basil (recipe called for one cup fresh, but I didn’t have)
3 tablespoons chopped fresh oregano
1 (14.5-ounce) can unsalted fire-roasted diced tomatoes
1 (14-ounce) can unsalted crushed tomatoes
1 bay leaf
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
1 ounce bacon; reserve 1 teaspoon of fat
1 pound cremini mushrooms
3/4 cup unsalted beef stock, divided
2 tablespoons half-and-half
8 cups chopped kale (I used the grocery store bag)
1 teaspoon red wine vinegar
Cooking spray
6 uncooked whole wheat lasagna noodles
1/2 cup part-skim ricotta cheese
1 ounce Parmesan cheese, grated (about 1/4 cup)
1 ounce part-skim mozzarella cheese, shredded (about 1/4 cup)
1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
1/4 teaspoon black pepper

Preparation

1. Place noodles into 8 by 8 broiler safe baking dish (You can layer noodles.). Fill with hot water from tap. Let noodles soak while you prepare rest of lasagna.
2. Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add onion; cook 5 minutes or until tender, stirring occasionally. Add 8 garlic cloves; cook 1 minute. Add tomato paste, and cook 2 minutes, stirring to combine. Add wine; cook 1 minute. Add basil and next 4 ingredients (through bay leaf). Stir in 1/4 teaspoon salt. Bring to a boil; reduce heat, and simmer 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Discard bay leaf.
3. Place bacon in a food processor; process until finely ground. Remove bacon. Place mushrooms in food processor; process until finely ground.
4. Heat a large skillet over medium-low heat. Add bacon; cook 6 minutes or until crisp, stirring to crumble. Remove fat from pan with a spoon; add 1 teaspoon back into skillet. Add remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt, mushrooms, and 1/4 cup stock. Increase heat to medium. Cook 10 minutes or until almost dry. Remove from heat; stir in half-and-half.
5. Heat a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Add remaining 1/2 cup stock and remaining 2 garlic cloves; bring to a boil. Add kale; cook 10 minutes or until kale wilts, stirring occasionally. Stir in vinegar.
6. Preheat oven to 350°.
7. Remove noodles from dish to paper towels. Blot dry. Dry baking dish.
8. Spread 1 cup sauce in bottom of 8 by 8 broiler-safe baking dish coated with cooking spray. Arrange 2 noodles over sauce; top noodles with all of kale and 3/4 cup sauce. Arrange 2 noodles over kale and sauce; top with mushroom mixture and ricotta. Top with remaining 2 noodles. Spread remaining sauce over noodles; sprinkle with Parmesan. Cover and bake at 350° for 45 minutes.
9. Turn on broiler (do not remove dish from oven). Uncover; sprinkle with mozzarella. Broil 2 minutes or until cheese melts. Let stand 5 minutes; sprinkle with parsley and pepper.

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