Tuesday, 10 February 2009

Cavalo Nero & Portabello Mushroom Lasagne

Lasagne is another of those dishes that I struggle to decently present. Apparently you're supposed to let it rest for 15 minutes or so when it first comes out of the oven; who has the patience for that? I gave this one 10 minutes before I caved in and attacked it with gusto.

It's a recipe by Rowley Leigh using Swiss chard that I've had my eye on for a while, especially when I saw that Josh had blogged it and his looked great. Swiss Chard isn't something my local Sainsburys stocks though, and this had prevented me from trying it out. However, a weekend trip to Greenwich and a visit to a cute little greengrocers on Royal Hill found me in possession of a big bag of cavolo nero, a dark, almost black cabbage. I had seen recipes using this before, such as with pasta, but as I'm at home with not a lot else to do, I wanted something rather more time-consuming and involved.

Well, I can happily report back that cavalo nero is a pretty good substitute. It has a pleasing bite to it and a iron-rich flavour that holds it's own in the lasagne. The whole lasagne was excellent - each layer had it's own distinct flavour and nothing overwhelmed. The inclusion of basil leaves meant you got a fresh herby hit every other mouthful or so. It's definitely a recipe I'll make again.

Cavolo Nero & Portabello Mushroom Lasagne

Serves 2 - 3

300ml milk
½ onion
3 cloves
1 bay leaves
A couple sprigs of thyme
20g butter
20g plain flour

200g Cavalo Nero
3 garlic cloves
3 tbsp olive oil
400g tin of chopped tomatoes
20 basil leaves

250g Portabello mushrooms or similar
1/2 lemon
100ml double cream
4 or 5 no-cook lasagne sheets
Grated Parmesan

Put the milk, sliced onion, cloves and thyme into a saucepan and bring to the boil. Simmer for three minutes then turn off the heat and leave it to infuse and cool, then strain.

In another saucepan melt the butter then add the flour, stirring well and cooking for a couple of minutes to make a roux. Whisk in the milk, bit by bit, ensureing there are no lumps. Simmer for 10 - 15 minutes until smooth.

Wash the cavalo nero leaves and chop into centimetre thick strips.

Fry the chopped garlic in a tablespoon of olive oil for a minute then add the cabbage and fry for a few minutes it starts to wilt and become tender. Pour in the tomatoes, season well, bring to the boil and simmer for 10 minutes before removing from the heat and allowing to cool.

Slice the mushrooms to half a centimetre thick then heat a large frying pan with a tablespoon of olive oil and fry the mushrooms, adding the juice of the lemon half way through and seasoning well. Once cooked but still firm, drain in a colander over a bowl, letting the juices drip into the bowl.

Next, to finish the white sauce, whisk in the mushroom juices and the double cream. Simmer further until it has reduced slightly and is glossy and thick. You should now have three dishes - the tomato cavalo nero, the mushrooms and the white sauce.

Assemble the lasagne starting with one layer of white sauce, one layer of lasagne, one layer of tomato mixture and one layer of the mushrooms. Continue this for three layers, scattering the basil leaves atop the tomato mixture. Grate the parmesan over the final, white sauce layer.

Bake in a 200ºC (180ºC for fan assisted) for 40 minutes then remove and leave to rest for 15 minutes. Serve with a green salad.


Anonymous said...

Yum! Sounds delish. I love cavolo nero and I do indeed make that pasta sauce - well, Chris does it actually. It's one of his favourites. I like the mushrooms in there too - I bet you didn't miss the meat too much because of them.

Joshua said...

Tasty isn't it. I imagine the cavalo nero is even tastier than the chard. Well the leaves anyway, I prefer the chard stalks to the cavalo nero ones.

Anonymous said...

Yummy! I love cavolo nero. We cook it in garlic and olive oil, very simply. And I love Portobello mushrooms too, so a great combination. Any leftovers?

Katiecakes said...

That looks amazing!! Wow, I'd kill for some right now.

Katie xox

Unknown said...

I can't wait 15 minutes either - don't worry it still looks delicious.

Anne said...

Looks delicious, I just love anything involving mushrooms mmm

Anonymous said...

Can you explain this waiting thing again? Though it would make sense why my lasagna pic has billows of steam rising from it.

Looking lovely, must try to put more veg in my diet, and less red meats!±

Hollow Legs said...

Thanks for all the comments! There was one portion left over, but I ate it about 3 hours after dinner, cold. I surprise myself with my gluttony sometimes.

Sorry Neil, I didn't explain it very well - you're supposed to rest it so that all the excess moisture gets soaked up and when you cut it it holds together instead of slopping all over the place.

Anonymous said...

Do you think red wine would be a good addition? I love wine soaked mushrooms. I only manage the wait if the dish I cook is for the next day!

Anonymous said...

Where can I buy Cavalo Nero in uk??? Can't find it anywhere.................


Hollow Legs said...

I found it in a greengrocer's in Greenwich, I imagine you can find it in farmers markets.