This lasagna with its pastel green and cream-colored layers is a lovely dish any time, but we welcome it especially during spring when we crave rejuvenating green plants. Don’t hesitate to load your greens mixture with truly bitter greens, such as broccoli rabe; the bite will be tempered by the mild and milky béchamel sauce and the cheeses. Use whichever lasagna noodles you like; our favorite is Bionaturae whole wheat noodles. If you’ve never made lasagna without the messy precooking of the noodles, trust that it will work and try it.
Mix the ricotta cheese, goat cheese, lemon zest, and salt and pepper to taste and set aside.
Remove any large or tough stems from the greens and chop the greens into bite-size pieces. Rinse the greens well and leave in the sink to drain.
In your largest skillet or a large pot, sauté the onions and garlic in the olive oil until softened.
Add the greens, in batches if the pan is too crowded, and sauté until wilted but still bright green, seven to eight minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste and remove from the heat.
Melt the butter in a saucepan. Add the flour and whisk until the mixture is smooth and thick.
Slowly add the milk, stirring constantly, and bring almost to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and cook, stirring often, until the sauce is thick, about five minutes.
Remove from the heat and season with salt, cracked black pepper, cayenne, and nutmeg.
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.
Coat a nine- by 12-inch baking pan with cooking spray, olive oil, or butter. Drain any excess liquid from the greens.
Cover the bottom of the pan with lasagna noodles. Ladle one-quarter of the béchamel over the noodles and spread it gently. Top with one-third of the greens mixture and dot with one-third of the ricotta and goat cheese mixture. Sprinkle with some grated Pecorino Romano. Repeat this layering two more times. Top with noodles. Spread the last quarter of the béchamel over the noodles, trying to coat them completely. Sprinkle with the last of the grated cheese.
Cover the pan with aluminum foil and bake for 25 minutes. Uncover and bake for another 20 minutes, or until you can feel that the noodles are tender when pierced with a sharp knife. Remove the lasagna from the oven and let it rest for 10 to 15 minutes before cutting and serving.
Recipe excerpted from The Moosewood Restaurant Table (St. Martin’s Griffin, 2017). Reprinted with permission.