(recipe from the book Local Flavors used with permission of the author, Deborah Madison)
Serves 4- 6.
1 cup freshly cracked walnuts
Sea salt and freshly ground pepper
2 to 3 pounds chard
2 tablespoons olive oil, plus extra for the dish
3 large garlic cloves, minced
1/3 cup white wine
1 cup sheep’s milk or cow’s milk ricotta, preferably whole-milk
1 cup freshly grated Parmesan
2 (4 ounce) balls fresh mozzarella coarsely grated
1¼ cups milk
1 (8 ounce) box no-boil lasagna noodles
- Bring 2 gallons of water to a boil for the chard and the pasta. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F, and then toast the walnuts in a shallow pan until pale gold and fragrant, 7 to 10 minutes. Chop finely and set aside.
- When the water boils, add 1 tablespoon salt and the chard. Cook until tender, about 5 minutes, even if the water doesn’t return to a full boil. Scoop the chard into a colander and press out most of the water. Reserve the water. Finely chop the chard.
- Heat the oil in a wide skillet and add 2/3 of the garlic, then the chard. Cook over medium-high heat, turning frequently, for several minutes, then add the wine and allow it to cook down. Turn off the heat.
- Combine the ricotta, parmesan, all but ¾ cup of the mozzarella, and the
remaining garlic in a bowl. Stir in 1/3 cup of the chard cooking water, then add
the chard. Mix together, taste for salt, and season with pepper.
- Bring the water back to a boil. Lightly oil an 8 * 10 or 9 * 13 inch baking dish. Drizzle ¼ cup milk over the dish. It won’t go on evenly because of the oil but this is all right.
- Drop 3 pieces of the instant pasta into the water and boil for 1 minute. Remove them and fit them in the baking dish. Sprinkle with ¼ cup of the milk, a third of the cheese mixture, and ¼ cup of the walnuts. Repeat twice more with the pasta, milk, cheese mixture, and nuts. When you get to the last layer, add the remaining milk, mozzarella, and walnuts.
- Place 4 toothpicks in the pasta to make a tent, then cover with foil, and bake for 25 minutes. Remove the foil and bake for 10 minutes longer or until lightly browned on top. Let sit for 10 minutes, then cut into portions and serve.