About this recipe
Spring is the time for two-fer vegetables from which both greens and roots can be put to good use, just like the beets and greens in my hearty, flavorful lasagne.
There are plenty of ways to economize from spring garden goodies, so as you eat the roots, don’t let their shoots go to waste. Both are a wonderful, welcome taste of the outdoor harvest season’s arrival.
• Radish greens are delicious, both cooked and raw. Use sautéed greens as a base for bruschetta, topped with thinly sliced radish root. Or toss raw radish greens with a dressing of white wine vinegar, honey and crushed red pepper flakes, then top with peeled ribbons of spring carrots, thinly sliced radish roots and grilled chicken for a refreshing spring salad.
• Spring peas and pea tendrils both work well in hot and cold dishes. Toss pea ten- drils in a spring greens salad. Serve cooked peas as a side dish with quickly sautéed pea tendrils. Stir peas and ten- drils into risotto, or add both to pasta with pancetta.
• Spring onions and tops are fabulous in French onion soup, or use the green tops in everything from Asian to Southwestern dishes.
Estimated cost for 6 to 8 servings:
Without garnish $16.94 • $2.82 per serving for 6 • $2.11 per serving for 8.
With garnish $19.52 • $3.25 per serving for 6 • $2.44 per serving for 8.
*Tips: Look for beets with 3 to 4 beet roots attached to fresh and perky looking beet greens. Resist the urge to cut back on the olive oil to coat the bottom of the baking dish. It will keep the noodles from sticking and crisping during baking.
Preheat oven to 375°.
Stem, wash and chop leaves coarsely and set aside. Trim, peel and quarter beet roots and toss quarters with 1 tablespoon olive oil in a medium mixing bowl. Sprinkle with thyme. Season with salt and pepper. Place in a baking dish, cover with a lid (or tightly wrapped foil) and roast until easily pierced with a fork, approximately 35 minutes.
Remove from oven and allow beet roots to cool, then purée using a food processor. (Can be done a day in advance. Store purée in airtight container in the refrigerator.)
Reduce oven to 350°.
In a medium mixing bowl, stir together the beet purée, ricotta cheese, egg and orange zest. Season with salt and pepper.
Coat bottom of a 9- by 12- by 2-inch baking dish with 3 tablespoons of olive oil. Place 3 cooked lasagne noodles in a single layer. Spread half the beet-ricotta mixture over the noo- dles. Repeat layer and end with a last layer of noodles. Drizzle 1 tablespoon olive oil over noodles and sprinkle evenly with Pecorino-Romano. Cover and bake until bubbling, 40 to 45 minutes.
About 5 minutes before the lasagne is done, heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large sauté pan. Add the shallot and sauté until soft and translucent, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the beet greens and sauté until they are just wilted, 5 to 7 minutes. Add balsamic vinegar, stir well and season with salt and pepper to taste.
Allow lasagne to cool slightly before serving. Place the beet greens atop the lasagne. Di- vide among 6 or 8 warm shallow bowls and serve. If desired, top each serving with a table- spoon each crumbled goat cheese and toasted walnuts. Serves 6 to 8.
Note: Toast walnut pieces in a single layer on a baking sheet at 350° for 5 to 6 minutes, until golden. Cool, then rub with a clean kitchen towel to remove skins.