Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Lasagna with Kale--World's Healthiest Vegetable

I had no time to update my blog but I have been cooking a lot and eating so well over the past long weekend that writing about food seemed almost too much.

The idea of today's post came to me a couple of days ago. While watching the Italian movie "La Grande Bellezza" and looking at Rome's most beautiful landmarks, I started to dream about some of my favorite Italian dishes--vegetarian pastas and risottos.

So today I decided to make a lasagna. In my home lasagna almost always means white béchamel sauce and vegetarian filling that would make all of us happy. Béchamel helps my vegetarian son, who does not like most vegetables, accept any vegetables if I put them between the sheets of lasagna.

After the trip to TJ I came home with a large bag of Tuscan kale (to make the dish as healthy and Italian as it could be). In recent years, kale became THE vegetable and is often called world's healthiest vegetable. It features in almost all healthy diets and especially those detoxifying, based on juices. It is super rich in many vitamins, particularly K, A and C, helps lower cholesterol and when included in a daily diet, it is reputed to lower cancer risk by mitigating the genetic predisposition to it.

Kale has a nice earthy and nutty taste and a slightly firm texture thanks to which this lasagna, besides being healthy, can also be very tasty and satisfying.

Kale Lasagna
(Serves four)

9 lasagna sheets,
10 oz kale leaves (one large bag), chopped,
1 medium onion, chopped,
2 garlic cloves, sliced,
2 tbsp olive oil,
4 tbsp butter,
4 tbsp all purpose flour,
2 and 1/2 cup milk,
4-6 oz shredded Pecorino cheese,
salt and pepper to taste.

1. In a large frying pan heat the oil. Add the onion and garlic and fry on a medium heat for about 5 minutes until transparent. Add washed and chopped kale leaves and fry on a medium heat for a couple of minutes until kale twiddles.

2. Make béchamel. Melt butter in a medium pot over the medium heat. Whisk in the flour. Pour in milk and using a whisker make a smooth sauce. Bring to boil, while whipping continuously, and set aside. Season with salt and pepper.

3. Preheat oven to 375F.

4. Use about 1/3 of the béchamel sauce to cover the bottom of an oven proof dish. Spread three sheets of lasagna on top of it. Cover the lasagna with half of kale and put half of shredded Pecorino on top.

5. Place the second layer of lasagna on top. Use a half of the remaining béchamel to cover it and spread the second half of kale on top of it.

6. Cover the kale with the third layer of lasagna. Pour over the rest of béchamel and spread the remaining pecorino. Cover with the aluminum foil and bake for about 30 minutes. Remove the foil and let the lasagna bake for another 10 minutes until it turns dark gold.

Take out of the oven, let it cool down a little bit, cut and serve.

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