My mother, brother, his wife and their two children will all be joining us in New York over the Thanksgiving holidays. And just in that one sentence you can likely intuit the broad-range of dietary challenges I will be confronting. Long-standing vegetarians, my brother and his family have recently broadened their diet to include some animal protein, though my nine-year-old niece and her mother less enthusiastically so. My 12-year-old nephew, apparently, will “eat the leg of the lamb of God,” as the Irish would say. My own mother has a fish allergy, so there’s that to contend with. Me? I can’t eat oysters or soy. And my husband, well, he’s happy just so long as I get potatoes into the mix every once in awhile. Isn’t he easy?
So how to please everyone? That was the question this weekend as I tried to do a little “cooking ahead.” For inspiration, I turned to an old standby resource, Deborah Madison’s Vegetarian Cooking For Everyone. As with all lasagnas, it’s a bit labor intensive, and I’m hoping it will translate well from freezer to table. My pictures are a bit sucky, so if you’d like to download a more attractive recipe printout and view some images that really do the dish justice, checkout this beautifully presented post on the food blog Gourmeted.
EGGPLANT AND CHARD LASAGNE recipe
Ingredients (Makes one 9×12 baking dish lasagne)
Preheat oven to 400°F. Lightly oil a 9 x 12 baking dish.
1 ½ pounds lasagne sheets (1 box dry)
1 cup tomato sauce
1 ½ pounds eggplant, sliced ¼-inch thick crosswise
2 tablespoons olive oil, plus extra for brushing on both sides of eggplant slices
2 tablespoons butter
½ onion, finely diced
3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 ½ pounds green (or red) chard salt and fresh ground black pepper
½ cup dry white wine
1 cup ricotta
¾ cup grated pecorino Romano cheese
8 ounces fresh mozzarella, thinly sliced
1. Preheat oven to 400°F. Lightly oil a 9 x 12 baking dish.
2. Brush both sides of the eggplant slices with olive oil and place on a baking sheet. Bake for 30 minutes, turning once halfway through the baking time. Eggplant will be browned on both sides. Chop coarsely.
3. Heat 2 tablespoons oil and butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add onion and garlic and cook for about 3 minutes. Add chard and ½ teaspoon salt, cook until leaves are wilted, about 5 minutes. Pour wine and cover for about 10 minutes, until the chard becomes tender and the pan is dry. Transfer onto a cutting board and chop finely.
4. Mix ricotta, chopped chard, 1/3 cup water and egg in a medium bowl. Season with salt and pepper.
5. Spread one third of the tomato sauce over the bottom and place a layer of pasta over it. Sprinkle grated cheese on top and add a quarter of the eggplant, ricotta mixture, and a layer of mozzarella cheese. Add another layer of pasta and repeat for 3 more layers. Pour remaining sauce over the last layer of pasta.
6. Cover the baking dish with foil, tenting above the surface. Bake for 20 to 30 minutes, until heated through. Remove the foil and bake for 5 to 10 minutes more. There it is, ready for the plastic wrap. (*For my purposes, I cooked this a little less time and added a bit more sauce for moisture to prevent it from drying out during reheating).
Feeds 6 to 8