Spring White Sauce Lasagna
Plus a little rhubarb fun
I am pleased to report that after a tumultuous couple of weeks, things seem to have (mostly) stabilized on the home front. We are all finally symptom free, there’s no massive pile of ramps in my fridge to deal with, Lillyan’s first day of childcare has come and gone (it was Thursday), and Kyle is working regular hours for the first time in a decade.
Things are “normal” (or whatever we think this new version of normal might look like for us) and I’m so grateful that after six long months we both know what our work commitments will look like for the year, and that our plan for childcare is beginning to take shape.
When we decided to take a year off from the farm, we knew it wouldn’t be a true sabbatical. We knew we would need to find employment. But everything else was essentially a mystery, an absolute wild card dependent on the opportunities that came to us and whether they would be enough to cover our bills.
So now that we have both settled into our working lives for 2022 (working lives that are not running a business together, tied to the weather, or completely all-consuming), we’re transitioning into people who work and then stop working, enjoying our evenings and weekends without worry that we are sacrificing something by resting.
It’s very nice. A little confusing/unsettling, but very nice.
As the dust settles around what this year will be, I finally found myself with a desire to return to our farm, a place I absolutely and unequivocally have been avoiding and pretending does not exist since January. I didn’t want to look at the mangled hoophouse we haven’t taken down yet or see our fields as anything other than fields full of vegetables. I didn’t want to see the empty greenhouse or the empty packshed or the CSA crates that are still stacked high. Just plain didn’t want to see it.
But alas, my desire for rhubarb and green garlic was stronger than my desire to avoid reality, so off I went.
My visit to the farm brought up a lot of feelings (strength, loss, relief, pride, and sadness to name just a few), but what surprised me most was how deeply I found myself wanting to grow something in these fields this year. I decided pretty quickly that I wanted, no needed, to grow a garden out there. Which is hilarious to me given that I pretty much laughed in the face of the 50+ people who said to us, “but you’ll still have a garden at the farm this year, right?”
So now I’m scrambling to find plants, seed things, and make a plan. In the three days since I had this idea, I wound up filling my car with tomatoes, cabbage, onions, peppers, herbs, and flowers, so stay tuned I guess. I think it’s happening.
And now, a small taste from our kitchen this week: a Spring White Sauce Lasagna made with green garlic, lion’s mane mushrooms from Clark Family Garden, and a mountain of spring greens.
It’s not so much unlike another lasagna recipe I developed for my blog. In fact, the white sauce is identical because I wanted to make sure I got the ratios right and included enough since there is no ricotta or cottage cheese in between the layers.
The main difference in this new recipe is that I wanted to spike the cream sauce with a ton of green garlic, add a bit of pesto, load it up with greens (because it is greens season after all), and try out a different local mushroom (hello lion’s mane). No surprise, this lasagna is just as tasty.
I hope you enjoy sometime in the next week (while green garlic season is still in full swing!!) and I hope you have a beautiful long Memorial Day weekend!
P.S. I’ve been having quite a bit of fun with rhubarb lately too. I recently made a mocktail for NessAlla kombucha using a homemade rhubarb syrup (above left). You can find the super simple recipe here. It uses a variation on the rhubarb syrup from my famous rhubarb margaritas.
I really love to make rhubarb syrup. It’s a stunning, vibrant pink color and adds so much brightness to whatever spring beverages I’m flavoring. Plus making it yields 2-3 cups of creamy rhubarb sauce (after you strain the syrup). I always save the slightly sweetened rhubarb sauce to add to my morning yogurt and granola, and its just perfect (above right).
SPRING WHITE SAUCE LASAGNA
Takes 1 hour, 45 minutes
12 ounces (or 1-1/2 cups) butter, divided
5 green garlic stalks (or garlic cloves), minced
2-1/2 teaspoons Kosher salt, divided
1/2 cup flour
4 cups warm whole milk (whole is preferred, but 2% will also work fine)
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 pound lion’s mane mushrooms, torn or roughly chopped
4 ounces fresh (or frozen) spinach
1 large bunch kale, ribs removed and leaves torn (or another 4 ounces of spinach if you’d rather)
1 pound lasagna noodles
3 cups shredded mozzarella
3/4 cup finely shredded asiago
1/2 cup pesto, optional
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
Melt 8 tablespoons of butter in a large saucepan over medium low heat. Add green garlic and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Cook until fragrant, about 5 minutes. Add the flour and stir constantly with a whisk for 1 minute. Pour in half the milk and stir until thickened, about a minute. Stir in the remaining milk, 1 teaspoon more Kosher salt, black pepper and whisk for another couple of minutes. Let the sauce simmer gently until thickened, stirring every couple of minutes to ensure the bottom is not scorching. The sauce should thicken in about 15 minutes. Remove from heat.
Meanwhile, prepare your veggie filling by melting remaining 4 tablespoons of butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add mushrooms and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Sauté until well-softened and browned a bit, about 10-15 minutes. Add greens and cook until wilted, about 10 minutes more.
Bring a large pot of water to a boil over high heat. Once boiling, add remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt and lasagna noodles. Cook according to package directions and drain.
Now that all your components are ready, assemble your lasagna! Gather everything on the counter along with a 9x13-inch pan or casserole dish.
Begin by ladling two spoonfuls of the white sauce on the bottom of the dish. Add 4 noodles in an even layer. Cover with half the mushroom greens mixture, 1 cup mozzarella and 3 more spoonfuls of the white sauce (about a cup). Add a layer of 4 more noodles followed by the pesto (if using) and the asiago. Add 4 more noodles, the remaining mushroom greens mixture, another cup of mozzarella and another 3 spoonfuls of sauce. Finish with the last 4 noodles, the remaining mozzarella and then finish with the remaining sauce.
Bake for 45 minutes until the top is golden brown. Allow to cool for 15 minutes before serving.
Prep tip: If you want to save some time, you can easily make the sauce, sauté the veggies, and boil the noodles all at the same time. It will save you about 30 minutes. You can also make the sauteed mushrooms and greens up to three days in advance if you’re doing some other batch cooking work.