While we call this Swiss Chard Lasagna, it is really more of a Greens Lasagna, or, for those who are a bit less adventurous when it comes to eating different types of greens, it might be called Spinach Lasagna. They are all the same, except for the type of greens used, so consider this a core recipe that should become part of your go-to repertoire.
While you could make this recipe with store-bought lasagna noodles, we would really suggest that you consider making home-scratched, especially if you have a pasta machine. Believe it or not, it takes less time and is less trouble than boiling up the dried version. Here’s why: with a pasta machine you can roll the pasta so thin that you don’t have to boil it. Just layer and bake! And, no boiling means less cleanup, too. So, let’s get started.
We based this recipe on a Spinach Lasagna recipe we found in Dining with the Desert Museum by the Arizona Sonora Desert Museum.
Makes one 9×13-inch pan
- 1 1/2 batches basic pasta
- 4-5 Tbs olive oil, divided
- 1/4 cup onion, diced
- 8 ounces mushrooms, sliced
- 2 bunches Swiss chard (about a pound)
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 28 ounce can San Marzano tomatoes
- 1 1/2 Tbs dried basil
- 16 ounces mozzarella cheese, grated
- 4 ounces Parmesan cheese, grated
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
We didn’t make a double batch of basic pasta dough and then cut back to the amount we needed. Instead, we measured out 1 1/2 cups of flour and used 2 eggs (instead of 1 1/2), meaning we used less water. It’s no problem to change up the proportions of eggs and water in Basic Pasta Dough to suit the amount of dough you need. For the Swiss chard, we really used half Swiss chard and half beet greens. You could use spinach, too, or any greens that aren’t tough once cooked. Are San Marzano tomatoes worth the extra cost? For some dishes we think so. Try them and see if they make a difference to you. If you’re scratchin’ up food as opposed to buying pre-made, you can generally get better quality ingredients to make better food, and still have the result be less expensive. Mozzarella: we debated on this and finally settled on a part-skim Mozzarella. Fresh would be much better, and, the next time we make lasagna, we’ll just whip up a batch of our own cheese — it’s not that hard, and it’s fun. Finally, Parmesan cheese does NOT come in a green cylinder.
Cook mushrooms. Heat 2 tablespoons of oil in a heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium heat. Once hot, add onions and sauté until tender, about 5 minutes. Add sliced mushrooms and sauté until cooked through. Transfer to a bowl and set aside.
Cook Swiss chard. In the same saucepan, heat an additional tablespoon of oil over medium heat. Add Swiss chard and cook until wilted and tender. Transfer to bowl with mushrooms and set aside.
Make sauce. In the same saucepan, heat an additional tablespoon of oil over medium heat. Add garlic and cook until fragrant, but not browned, about 2 minutes. Add tomatoes, reduce heat, and simmer 10-15 minutes.
Season. Break apart tomatoes, add basil, taste, and add salt and black pepper, if needed. Remove from heat.
Layer. Spread a bit of sauce on the bottom of the pan. Roll out pasta as thin as possible — on our machine, it was less than 1/16th of an inch thick — and place a layer of pasta on the sauce. Add about 1/3 of the Swiss Chard and mushrooms, 1/4 of the cheese, and about 1/4 of the sauce.
Add another layer. Again, roll out the pasta as thin as possible, and make another layer of Swiss chard, mushrooms, sauce, and cheese.
Add another layer. When you finish this layer, you’ll be out of Swiss chard and mushrooms, but will still have sauce and cheese.
Add another layer. This time, make it of just pasta and sauce. Top with a final layer of pasta and cheese. This last layer will turn a bit crispy in the oven, and who doesn’t like crispy?
Cover and bake. Cover with baking parchment, and bake for 45 minutes. Remove parchment and bake for another 15 minutes or until bubbly and browned.
Settle. Remove from the oven and let settle for 5 to 10 minutes, then serve.
This was a real treat after a day full of baking! We thought that it tasted so good because we were so hungry, but, when we had some the next day for lunch, it was just as good. We just couldn’t stop eating, and in two meals this lasagna was gone. And that’s for a lasagna that could have easily served eight to ten. In our defense, our meals consisted of nothing but lasagna and the Ballymaloe Brown Bread, and very little bread at that, but we think that any dish that you eat until it’s pretty much gone rates five stars. Don’t you?