Leftover Love: Swiss Chard Lasagna with Celeriac Bechamel

chard-lasagnaSoup in a lasagna,” I hear you say. “She’s finally gone completely ’round the bend.”

Perhaps, Grasshopper. Perhaps. But I submit to you: what is a creamy, velvety celeriac soup anyway if not essentially a savory, vegetable-heavy white sauce? And, while technically not a bechamel, as the sauce is not thickened with a roux but with celeriac soup, “celeriac bechamel” sounded much better than “savory vegetable white sauce.” Branding, my dears: branding. Leftovers need it.

Not that this lasagna needs much in the way of branding: it’s good. Quite good. The celeriac fades to a subtle celery note that plays nicely with the fennel and carrots. The flavor of the Swiss chard noodles is a bit lost amongst all the cheese and savory vegetables, but the color helps to enliven a dish that would otherwise be so many shades of beige. Fair warning: this is a savory, vegetable-forward lasagna. Put it in front of a classic meat-sauce-and-ricotta lasagna lover and there will likely be some salty language of the WTF variety. But for vegetable lovers, this one’s a hit. It’s even better the next day, for breakfast. Leftovers! Leftovers, I tell you: I love them.

Leftover Love is a series in which I enthuse about the joys of having a fridge packed full of rich & varied meal components – a.k.a “leftovers” – to aid you in making easy and delicious meals all week long.

Pasta dough adapted from Fresh Spinach Pasta Dough by Martha.

chard-pastaSwiss Chard Lasagna with Celeriac Bechamel

Swiss Chard Pasta

  • 12 oz (about 2 ½ cups) 00 flour (I use a whole wheat 00 from Wild Hive Farm)
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • ½ lb Swiss chard, fresh or frozen
  • 2 large eggs + 1 large egg yolk
  1. In a large bowl, mix together flour and salt. Set aside.
  2. Trim stem ends from chard. If frozen, thaw completely. If fresh, steam the chard for 5 – 10 minutes, until bright green and cooked through. Squeeze out excess water (reserve chard water) and transfer to the bowl of a food processor. Process until puréed. Add eggs and egg yolk and pulse until well combined. Scrape chard mixture into flour bowl.
  3. Working with your hands, work the chard-egg mixture into the flour, turning and kneading in the bowl until a shaggy dough forms. Turn out onto a well-floured surface and knead the dough, adjusting liquid or flour as needed, until dough is smooth and supple, about 5 minutes. Add reserved chard water if dough becomes too dry.
  4. Let dough rest under a clean, damp kitchen towel while you prepare the remaining ingredients.

Yields about 1 lb of pasta dough.

chard-lasagnaCeleriac Bechamel

  • 2 cups celeriac soup
  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 8 oz colby cheese, grated (I used aged raw milk colby from Crowley Cheese)
  • 2 oz Parmesan cheese, grated
  • zest of 1 small lemon (I used Meyer)
  • generous amount of freshly ground black pepper
  1. In a medium heavy-bottomed saucepan or Dutch oven, combine celeriac soup and whole milk. Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring frequently. Boil briskly, stirring constantly, until bechamel has reduced by about ⅓ and will coat the back of a spoon. Remove from heat and add about ¾ of each cheese, the lemon zest and freshly ground black pepper. Stir until cheese is melted and sauce is uniform. Taste and add salt if necessary. Set aside, covered to keep warm.

chard-lasagnaLasagna

  • 1 head fennel, bulb & stalks, diced (reserve fronds for another recipe)
  • 1 medium red onion, diced
  • 3 small carrots, peeled and grated
  • 2 large cloves garlic, minced
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • about ¼ cup coarsely chopped fresh parsley
  • 4 oz chèvre
  1. In a large skillet, heat olive oil over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add fennel, onion, carrots and garlic. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Reduce heat to medium-low and sauté, stirring, until vegetables are softened, about 5 – 7 minutes. Remove from heat, stir in fresh parsley, and set aside to cool.
  2. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. On a floured surface, cut the pasta dough into quarters. Roll each quarter into a long, thin rectangle, at least 13 inches long. Cut into strips about 2 inches wide. Roll out all of the strips before you begin to assemble the lasagna.
  3. In a 2-quart casserole or 9″ X 13″ baker, line the bottom with strips of fresh pasta. If using an oval baker, you may have little folds of pasta along the edges – no problem! Set aside enough strips of pasta to cover the top, then assess what is left and whether you can make 2 or 3 layers. I had just enough pasta to make 3 layers. Scatter bottom layer of noodles with either ½ or ⅓ of the vegetables, dollops of chèvre, and ¾ to 1 cup of bechamel. Layer more noodles on top and repeat. For the top layer, cover fresh noodles with remaining bechamel, then sprinkle over reserved cheeses. Dust with a few grinds of black pepper and bake on a rimmed baking sheet (to catch any spills), uncovered, until sauce is thickly bubbling and cheese is nicely browned, about 1 hour. Allow to cool for 15 minutes prior to serving.

Serves 8.

chard-lasagnaOPTIONS

  1. You obviously don’t have to use celeriac soup in the bechamel; you could make a standard milk version. But this is a nice way to use up any creamy blended soup, or to use up leftover sautéed vegetables or cooked leafy greens.
  2. If using fully dried pasta (either store-bought or homemade), I don’t typically cook my noodles first, but I would cover the dish with tinfoil until the last 15 minutes of baking, so the noodles are able to absorb liquid and cook through.

STORE

Refrigerated for up to 1 week, frozen for up to 6 months.

SEASON

Winter.

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7 comments

  1. Brilliant! Even more so than for veg lovers, but also for someone like me who has to eschew bechemel-like lasagnes because of dairy issues. Local milk, local cheese and aged parmesan are all gut-friendly (at least to me).

    PS: Do you like that Staub casserole? I miiight be coveting it a little.

    • LOVE it. Snagged it for a song off of Amazon a few weeks back (one of those “new but marked used because the box was damaged”). Has rapidly become my go-to baking/roasting dish.

      And, it would be easy enough to cut down the dairy on the bechamel: I thought at the time I could have gotten away with 1 cup milk.

  2. Pure and Simple Living

    Your recipes are amazing! And as a lover of the environment (and a hater of unnecessary waste…), am thoroughly enjoying this “journey of leftovers”. Thank you!!

  3. The first word that came to mind was “amazing,” but I see that it’s already been used! I can’t come up with anything better. I am so excited about this recipe. It fits me so well, and I have brand new pasta maker and have wanted to make something different. Thank you!

    • Oooh, I’m envious! One of these days I’ll break down and get a pasta maker. Until then it’s just me and my rolling pin…

      I hope you like this one; I have to say, it’s been getting better while sitting in the fridge!

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