Sunday, March 13, 2016

Roasted Yam Planks and Swiss Chard Lasagna, Bolognese Style

My hubby works for a food co-op and we get lots of "seconds" produce, which I love to receive! But sometimes the greens, usually swiss chard, starts to pile up in the refrigerator and then creativity is needed to use it up. This was a sensational way to do just that!

Since wheat is no longer my friend, any pasta passing my lips needs to be gluten free (ick) or made from scratch using spelt flour. But since there happened to be about a cup of bechemel sauce sitting in the refrigerator (which was to have been used to cream said bunches of swiss chard but didn't happen), I realized making a Bolognese style lasagna using oven roasted yam slices would probably make an amazing "lasagna." Yes, yes, it did!

Of course Italians would have been horrified at the heresy of roasted yam planks for lasagna noodles, but since I wasn't the first to think of it - hello Paleo folk! - I figured I wasn't going straight to Italian cuisine hell.

Bolognese style lasagna differs dramatically from what most Americans think of when it comes to lasagna. No abundance of cheese, usually a meat and tomato sauce, and bechamel sauce, that distinctively French sauce used to make cheese sauce. Trust me, you will want to try this if you have never had it!

Yes, it is lots of steps, but go easy on yourself and make a few things the day before; it is how I always do it when making lasagna with homemade pasta. Also, do not fret about using the tomato sauce shortcut; it was some leftover sauce in the refrigerator that cemented my idea of this recipe!

Roasted Yam Planks and Swiss Chard Lasagna, Bolognese Style
(serves 4)

1 large yam, peeled
2 bunches swiss chard, washed, destemmed and cut in ribbons
1 small carrot, diced
1/4 onion, diced
1 clove garlic, minced
8 oz diced tomatoes (1 cup) or similar amount of prepared tomato sauce
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 cup parmesan or asiago cheese, grated
olive oil

Bechamel Sauce
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons flour
1 1/2 cups milk

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Slice off the ends of the yam and cut into quarters. Place thinnest side down and slice 1/4 inch slices from already cut side, making elongated half moon shapes. Place on foil lined baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil and bake 15 minutes until soft but not yet crisp. Set aside. Turn oven down to 350 degrees.

In a large skillet, saute onion, garlic and carrot until soft; add chard and cook until wilted. Add tomatoes and cook until softened, about 15 minutes. If using tomato sauce, just stir in sauce until well combined. Set aside.

To make the bechamel sauce, melt butter over low heat in small sauce pan; stir in flour to combine and cook until flour soaks up all the butter and begins to smell good. Add milk 1/3 cup at a time, whisking the sauce over a simmer to incorporate the milk. As it thickens, add more milk until all milk is incorporated. Set aside.

To assemble, place yam slices in a small baking dish (I used a 9 inch glass pie plate) in a single layer. Spoon over 1/4 of swiss chard mixture and drizzle about 1/4 bechamel sauce; sprinkle 1/4 of cheese over bechamel. Repeat layers ending with swiss chard topped with bechamel and cheese. Dot top with a few small cubes of butter and bake for 20-25 minutes until bubbling and hot. Remove from oven and allow to cool at least 5 minutes before serving.


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