This roast kale lasagne recipe is a labour of love, but remarkably creamy and delicious. Luscious leeks, crisped curly kale, earthy chesnut and dried porcini mushrooms (rehydrated) are folded into delicious cheesy béchamel and then covered in sheets of fresh pasta. If you want to be extra indulgent, drizzle with truffle oil and coat in Parmesan shavings to serve. I like to serve this with sweetheart cabbage sautéed in olive oil with a teaspoon of crushed garlic, but you can swap for steamed fine green beans or peppery salad leaves with Parmesan shavings.
INGREDIENTS (Served 4)
30g dried porcini
3 leeks washed and, roughly chopped
450g chesnut or portobello mushrooms
25g butter, plus more for greasing
4 tbsp. chopped flat-leaf parsley
200g kale, stalks removed, leaves torn into bite-sized pieces
300g fresh lasagne sheets (if not making fresh)
Truffle oil (optional)
For the Béchamel
1 litre whole milk
1/2 small onion
2 bay leaves
8 black peppercorns
75g plain flour
200g Cheddar and parmesan, grated with extra for using on top
*Makes enough pasta dough for eight portions, meaning you can freeze spare sheets for another day. Or simply swap for dried pasta sheets.
170g super Fine 00 Grade Pasta Flour
90g semolina flour
3 eggs + 1/2 extra yolk
1/2 tsp of olive oil
1/2 tsp of salt
*If using dried lasagne sheets, ignore the below steps.
Place the flour on a board or in a bowl. Make a well in the centre and crack the eggs into it. Beat the eggs with a fork until smooth.Using the tips of your fingers, mix the eggs with the flour, incorporating a little at a time, until everything is combined.
Knead the pieces of dough together until you're left with a smooth lump of dough. Knead and work it with your hands to develop the gluten in the flour for 8-10 minutes until the pasta starts to feel smooth and silky instead of rough and floury. You'll also feel that the dough springs back, or that there's some resistance when pushing down on it.
Wrap the dough in cling film and put it in the fridge to rest for at least half an hour before you use it. Make sure the cling film covers it well or it will dry out and go crusty round the edges.
Cut off 1/3 of the dough. Wrap the remaining dough in plastic wrap to keep it from drying out and place back in the fridge. Flatten dough with your hands and roll to the correct thinness. If using a pasta machine, pass through the largest setting of your pasta machine. Fold in half, rub with more flour, and pass through the pasta machine again. Keep passing though the machine until you reach an even rectangular sheet of smooth, not sticky, consistency. Pass the dough through the middle setting of your machine and then through the second-to-last to make a long and thin sheet.
When you're ready to assemble your lasagne (following the instructions below), cook the pasta in salted boiling water for 2 minutes until tender and begin assembling layer by layer.
Cover the porcini with 200ml of boiling water. Clean your mushrooms, using a brush or damp kitchen paper to dust off any dirt, then slice them into bite-sized pieces.
For the béchamel, heat the milk in a pan with the onion, bay and peppercorns until boiling. Remove from the heat and leave to infuse for 30 minutes. Strain through a fine sieve into a jug and set aside for later.
Next cook your mushrooms and leeks.Melt half the butter in a large frying pan over a very high heat and add a splash of olive oil. Let the pan get nice and hot, then add leeks and cook until translucent, next add the fresh mushrooms and cook, moving them around the pan, until they are browned and crisp (about 5-6 minutes).
Drain the porcini, keeping the soaking liquid, then roughly chop them and add them to the pan of mushrooms along with the parsley. Stir together and tip into the bowl with the rest of the mushrooms.
In a bowl, scrunch the kale with a tablespoon of olive oil and some salt and pepper. Roast for 5 minutes in the oven, and set aside.
Now back to your sauce. Melt the butter in a heavy-bottomed pan, add the flour and mix well, allowing it to cook for a couple of minutes so the flour loses its rawness. Keep on a high heat until just boiling, and whisk rapidly with a balloon whisk to prevent lumps from forming. After 4-5 minutes you should see the sauce thicken, once this happens fold in the mushroom broth, leeks, parsley, mushrooms and of course, the cheese. Taste and season with more salt and pepper if it’s needed.
Preheat the oven to 220ºC/200ºC fan/gas 7. Butter an ovenproof dish (about 20 x 30cm). If you are using dried pasta sheets, boil the pasta in salted water according to the packet instructions. If you are using fresh, cook the sheets in boiling water for 2 minutes, cooking 4 squares at a time and assembling the dish as you go.
Start with a layer of pasta, then sauce and keep going, building up the layers until you have used all the pasta sheets, and finishing with a layer of sauce and Parmesan. Bake in the oven for 25–30 minutes, until golden brown on top and bubbling. Drizzle with truffle oil to serve.