An oven pasta bake of some sort is always a great solution when catering for a larger crowd as you can pre-assemble everything then simply chuck it in the oven when needed and when baked are able to easily serve it all up without lots of pots and pans needing to be washed up afterwards.
I already have some great oven pasta bakes that are part of my regular cooking repertoire. Of course, there is my iconic (and I say so knowing that it is damn amazing as verified by just about every friend of mine) fig, rosemary and blue cheese Mac n cheese which I revisit every winter and which never fails to wow and there is also my rather lovely, though slightly time consuming, roasted vegetable lasagna with garlic and spinach ricotta.
However, I am always on the look out for new and exciting dishes to rustle up and couldn’t help but be intrigued when I stumbled across this leeks and greens lasagna recipe on Pinterest. I adore leeks, particularly oven roasted, and they really work a treat here as hero ingredient. Assembling everything doesn’t take too long and I loved the hint of chilli and garlic that cut through the creamy Bechamel sauce while the ricotta, dotted through every layer added a lovely slightly grainy texture.
A total crowdpleaser I am sure to make again this winter, and even more fun to make and eat when in the company of a fabulous friend like Charlotte with a glass of white wine in hand!
- 3 tbsp olive oil, plus extra for the tin
- 50g butter
- A few fresh rosemary sprigs, leaves picked and roughly chopped
- 3 leeks - 1 finely sliced and 2 cut into medium slices
- 40g plain flour
- 500ml milk
- Fresh nutmeg, for grating
- 100g cheddar, grated
- 30g parmesan, grated
- 2 garlic cloves, crushed
- ½ green chilli, sliced
- 400g mixed green leaves, such as kale, chard and spinach, roughly chopped - I would recommend kale!
- 100ml dry white wine
- 100g walnuts
- 280g jar preserved artichoke hearts in oil, drained
- 100g ricotta
- 6 dried lasagne sheets
- Heat oven to 200C/180C fan/ gas 6.
- Heat 1 tbsp oil with the butter over a medium heat. Add the bay leaf, rosemary and finely sliced leek, season and cook for a few mins until the leek has softened.
- Add the flour and cook for 1 minute more until the roux smells nutty. Take off the heat, slowly pour in the milk and whisk out any lumps
- Return to the heat and whisk slowly until thick and smooth, about 5 mins. Season well with grated nutmeg, then add 3/4 of the cheddar and parmesan, cooking until they are melted. Set aside.
- In another pan, heat 2 tbsp oil over a medium heat and fry the garlic and chilli for a couple of mins until aromatic.
- Add the rest of the leeks, season and fry until softened, then add the mixed greens and season a little more.
- Cook, stirring, until the greens have wilted, about 4 mins, then pour in the wine and cook until it evaporates.
- Oil a medium roasting tin (about 20cm square) and tip half the greens into the tin. Dot half the walnuts over the top, and nestle in a third of the artichoke hearts. Dot over half the ricotta.
- Remove the bay leaf from the leek bechamel and pour over a third of it.
- Top with three lasagne sheets to cover everything in a at layer.
- Repeat the process, then cover the top layer of lasagne sheets with the remaining bechamel and artichokes and scatter over the remaining cheese.
- Bake in the oven for 30-40 mins, until golden and bubbling. Rest for 10 mins, then enjoy!