Summer Vegetable Lasagna
Wow there are so many wonderful things about a great hotel room. I've been all about that Airbnb life recently when traveling. They're perfect (when you find a good one) in that I-can't-hear-strangers-through-the-walls way.
Buuut every once in a while you get out of town for work and get a good deal on a fancy hotel room. I spent the weekend SPLAYED out on various surfaces, from a king sized bed to a poolside lounge chair. I was in Sacramento where there are palm trees outside the window and Bravo TV shows a twinge closer to home. It was actually 100 degrees, but the virgin piña coladas and vodka/tonics with lime (sup I'm officially my mom) kept us cool as did the occasional dip of a toe into the pool. I stupidly forgot a suit.
I don't care where you're going: always, always pack a bathing suit and a raincoat.
Oh! Important! I also had my first In N Out meal. I went with few expectations cause sometimes food things are way overhyped, such as Shake Shack (custard is great, fries suck, burgers are fine/I'd rather have a Whopper). In N Out though is worth all of the love, though. Best burger ever, wow. California, you done goood to this girl.
I'm back in a rainy New York now. It cooled off a lil and so the oven went ON. I put together this veggie-packed lasagna with a thick bechamel while listening to some "Timeless Love Songs" station on Apple Music. I've said it before (though I am not going to dig up that post since it'll be embarrassing, I'm sure), but there's nothing like cooking and doing chores to singalong 60s doo-wop playlists with the occasional "Endless Love" or "The Way We Were" tossed in.
K, back to the dinner: I way prefer making veggie lasagna this way. Tomato sauce just smothers and masks all of the tasty veggie flavors while the bechamel coats them in a creamy goop that reminds me of my mom's casseroles. The pancetta adds a super nice, salty bite. Make the lasagna a few days ahead of time and do the final bake whenever. Especially if you have a drawer of browning vegetables from the farmer's market run/CSA pickup. This will give them the fate they deserved.
Summer Vegetable Lasagna
- 1 bunch rainbow chard
- 1 bunch asparagus
- 10 oz pancetta
- 1 cup peas
- 1/4 cup butter
- 1/4 cup flour
- 2 cups milk
- 1tsp black pepper
- 8 oz lasagna, cooked
- 3 oz parmagiano reggiano
- 4 oz fresh mozzarella
- Clean and chop chard (including stems) and asparagus into 1-inch pieces. Set aside.
- Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Add pancetta and cook until fat is rendered and it starts to brown in spots, at least 10 minutes. Remove pancetta with a slotted spoon and drain on a paper towel-lined plate.
- Add asparagus to rendered pancetta fat and cook for a couple minutes. Then add chard and peas. Cook until all are softened.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- In a small saucepan over medium heat, melt butter and then add and whisk in flour. Toast for a minute and then begin adding in milk, little by little, all the while whisking vigorously to create a stiff bechamel sauce. When sauce is thick enough to spread, turn off heat and mix in black pepper.
- Spread a heaping spoonful of bechamel into a baking dish no larger than 8x8". Add in a layer of lasagna, a single layer of veggies, a handful of pancetta, and then spread with more bechamel. Repeat layers until all used up!
- Grate parmagiano and slice mozzarella. Place mozzarella slices over top layer of lasagna and then sprinkle liberally with grated pamagiano.
- Bake for 45 minutes uncovered, or until cheese on top is bubbling and toasty. Let cool slightly, slice and serve.