Lemon Lasagna

Sausage, Swiss chard and slivers of lemon make this lasagna unforgettable.

Can you stand just one more lemon recipe?

After all, you know your friends are still foisting their backyard lemons on you or you’re still picking ripe ones off your own tree.

So, dedicate one of those lemons to this fabulous dish: “Sausage, Chard and Lemon Lasagna.” It’s from the March 2011 issue of Martha Stewart Living magazine.

It’s a very rich dish. I won’t kid you about that, what with the creamy, cheesy white sauce made with full-fat milk that binds everything together. The lemon gets sliced very thin. As you layer the no-bake lasagna noodles, sausage, and Swiss chard-white sauce mixture, you also add a layer of lemon slices, which have been blanched ahead of time to remove some of their bitterness.

The dish emerges from the oven bubbling hot and golden, with the lemon slices peeking out on top. As you enjoy the cheesy richness of each bite, you’re almost relieved to stumble upon a lemon slice to help cut the out and out decadence of what you’re eating with a welcome bright burst of citrus.

Maybe my bunch of chard was extra large, but when I cut it up and added it to the pot of warm milk thickened with grated Parmesan and a little flour, as the recipe directed, the mixture thickened up so much that it was more paste-like than sauce-like. As a result I had to add about 1/2 cup more milk to loosen it up. But use your best judgment. If your initial sauce seems pourable enough to coat the lasagna noodles, then go with the original 3 cups of milk. If, like mine, yours becomes too thick, then add a little more milk.

Whatever you do, be sure to set aside one lemon for this lovely lasagna.

Sausage, Chard and Lemon Lasagna

(Serves 4)

3 tablespoons unsalted butter

1/4 cup all-purpose flour

3 cups whole milk

1 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese (about 4 ounces)

Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper

5 cups coarsely chopped Swiss chard (about 1 bunch)

1 pound sweet Italian sausage, casings removed

1 lemon, very thinly sliced

6 no-boil lasagna noodles, preferably Barilla

Melt butter in a saucepan over high heat. Stir in flour; cook for 2 minutes. Whisk in milk. Bring to a boil, stirring. Reduce heat. Simmer for 1 minute. Remove from heat. Whisk in 3/4 cup cheese, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Stir in chard.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cook sausage in a skillet over high heat, breaking up pieces, until no longer pink, about 4 minutes.

Cover lemon slices with cold water by 3 inches in a saucepan. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer for 7 minutes. Transfer to a paper-towel-lined plate using a slotted spoon.

Spread 1/4 cup sauce in an 8-inch square nonreactive baking dish. Top with 2 noodles, half the sausage, and 1 cup sauce. Repeat. Top with a layer of lemons, 2 noodles, then remaining sauce and lemons. Bake, covered with parchment-lined foil, for 27 minutes.

Remove from oven. Heat broiler. Uncover lasagna; top with remaining 1/4 cup cheese. Broil until bubbling, 2 to 3 minutes.

From the March 2011 issue of Martha Stewart Living

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