Broccoli Rabe Lasagna: Dish 5 of What to Make Now from the Farmers Market

I promise this delicious dish redeems that hideous plate of mulch I posted last week! Broccoli Rabe (Raab) or Broccolini is everywhere right now. These baby broccoli are flavorful, verdant and, I bet, in copious amounts at your local Farmer’s Market. This recipe is a more of an Italian twist on a recent New York Times Food piece. We lighten up on the pasta and skip the traditional Béchamel Sauce for more cheese and pesto. Making a more vegetable driven dish that tastes just as decadent as regular Lasagna.  Even though not everything is sourced from your Farmers Market, it is too delicious not to share.

Ingredients:

  • 2.5 to 3 lbs Broccolini Rabe
  • 1 lemon
  • 16 oz good quality Ricotta Cheese
  • 2 cups Shredded Mozzarella or Italian Cheese Medley
  • 2 balls freshly made mozzarella sliced
  • 1/2 cup Olive Oil
  • 2 tablespoons Pine Nuts or Walnuts (Optional)
  • 1/3 cup shaved or shredded Parmesan
  • 1/3 cup Italian Parsley
  • 6-7 garlic cloves
  • 4 or 5 sheets lasagna pasta
  • Kosher salt & Pepper
  • coarse salt (like Jacobsen Salt)
  • 4 tablespoons butter

Preheat oven to 375’F.

In a large pot, boil water and pre cook lasagna sheets. While this happens (think 4-5 minutes) trim woody ends from Broccolini. Lift lasagna from hot water and drain in colander. Add all Broccolini to hot water and blanch for about 1 minute. Drain immediately in a colander.  Run cool water through all broccoli. Dry on a kitchen towel.

Broccolini waiting to be blanched.

Broccolini waiting to be blanched.

In a separate bowl, mix ricotta cheese with zest from 1/2-1 lemon. Do this to taste. I like a whole lemon worth of zest but Dean prefers less.

Garlic and Parsley waiting to be blended with Pine Nuts (or walnuts), Olive Oil, cheese, and part of the blanched Broccolini.

Garlic and Parsley waiting to be blended with Pine Nuts (or walnuts), Olive Oil, cheese, and part of the blanched Broccolini.

In a small Cuisinart, blend garlic, olive oil, Parmesan cheese, pinch of kosher salt, one or two twists of pepper, and the parsley. Then coarse shop about 1/3 of all broccoli rabe (stems too) and add to garlic mixture in the Cuisinart. Pulse to blend into a fragrant pesto.

Coarse chop remaining Broccoli Rabe into bite size pieces.

Ready for assembly.

Ready for assembly.  Note the cheese grater — this is how I lest lemons.  I loathe the handheld zesters…they bite.

Lightly butter a casserole dish. Spoon and smear bottom of pan with some pesto. Layer 2 lasagna sheets spread equal distance from each other and the edges. Drop dollops and spread ricotta cheese lemon mixture. Spread half of Broccoli Pesto and then chopped broccoli Raab on top of spread ricotta. Layer half of sliced mozzarella and sprinkle a handful of shredded mozzarella on top of the sliced.

The first layer should resemble this...

The first layer should resemble this… Before a quick sprinkle of shredded mozzarella cheese.

Repeat with second layer: remaining Pesto (it’s ok if it’s a lot as it will bake down into the bottom layer), 2 or 3 lasagna sheets, ricotta lemon cheese, chopped Broccolini, sliced mozzarellas, and remaining shredded cheese. Drop pats of butter across the top of cheese mixture (about 6-8 pats) and drizzle coarse salt.

Ready for the pats of butter and salt drizzle.

Ready for the pats of butter and salt drizzle.

Cover dish with tin foil and cook for 20 minutes. Remove foil and cook for 20-35 minutes more. I crank the heat a good 5 minutes to Broil to char the cheese a bit on top.

Adding the butter pats will help keep cheese moist and then brown the tops at the end of baking.

Adding the butter pats will help keep cheese moist and then brown the tops at the end of baking.

Remove from oven and let lasagna stand about 10 minutes. Serve with a broad spoon in shallow wide bowls. Pair with our 2010 Annadel Estate Winery Meritage Blend or with a medium bodies, dry red with earthy notes. This is an elegant dish with notes of Springtime (broccoli greens and bright hints of lemon) so think of a dry rose or medium bodied red wine!

Warning: there will be no leftovers.  Happy Eating!

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