Lasagna con Rapini
2 Lbs. Broccoli Rape or Rapini
3 Lg. Eggs (one yolk and three whites will be used)
1/2 Cup Bread crumbs
1/2 Cup Olive oil – Extra virgin
1/4 Cup Milk – 2%
1 Cup Cheese – Ricotta
1/2 Cup Cheese – Feta
1/4 Tsp. Oregano leaves – dry
1/4 Tsp. Thyme leaves – fresh
1/2 Tsp. rosemary leaves – fresh
1/8 Tsp. Nutmeg – freshly grated
1 Lb. Lasagna noodles
1/2 Cup Butter or margarine
Q.B. Salt & Pepper
4 Cups Béchamel sauce
Preparing the Rape
Wash and clean the rape carefully. Saute the rape in a small amount of the olive oil for 5 minutes. Immediately after sautéing the rape, place the pan in a larger pan of cold water to stop the cooking process. When the rape is cooler squeeze out as much liquid as possible. Chop it as fine, or process it in a food processor until it is very finely chopped but not pureed.
Preparing the Remainder of the Stuffing for the Lasagna
Put the chopped rape into a large mixing bowl. Add the ricotta, Feta, thyme, oregano, rosemary, grated nutmeg, eggs and milk. Mix thoroughly. Add the bread crumbs. Mix again the mixture seems dry, add 1/4 cup of water. Mix and set aside for 10-15 minutes while the bread crumbs absorb liquids. Check for consistency after this time, adding water or bread crumbs depending upon whether the mixture seems too loose to too dry. Add salt and pepper to taste.
While the above mixture is resting, cook the lasagna noodles in a large amount of salted water. Once they are done to a very al dente stage, drain them, and mix them with the olive oil to keep them from sticking together.
Assembling the Dish
Use the butter, or margarine to grease the bottom and sides of a 9 x 12 casserole dish. Place one layer of noodles on the bottom of the dish and cover with about 1/2 inch of the stuffing mixture. Ladle about 1/2 cup of Béchamel sauce over the noodles and sprinkle freshly grated parmesan cheese over this layer. Cover with another layer of noodles. Repeat the process by alternating layers of noodles, stuffing and Béchamel until the pan is full, the last layer being noodles. Sprinkle olive oil and parmesan on the top. Dot with butter, and bake for 45 minutes in a 350 degree oven. Let rest for 10-15 minutes before serving. Sauce each lasagna serving with Béchamel sauce.
Serve with a salad as the main and only course, or serve as the first course in a more formal setting. A second course of rolled and stuffed veal goes well with this dish. At Thanksgiving, this is a nice dish to complement a Turkey.
NOTE: The final serving can be made more visually appealing by mixing half of the remaining Béchamel sauce with a Tablespoon of tomato paste. This will give a light red tinge to the sauce. A spoonful or two of the white béchamel, together with the red tinged makes an appealing dish.