I converted my spring vegetable quinoa hotdish to a freezer-friendly layered situation in this matzah lasagna recipe. The matzah pieces get nice and soft with the white sauce, and the flavors of leeks, chives, ricotta, and peas whisper spring! Even though it’s totally loaded up with cheese and milk, the ricotta and bright flavors add a nice sense of airiness. And there are layers upon layers of spinach in this. It freezes well, or you can bake it right away too. Enjoy!
For the sauce:
- 1/4 c (57g) unsalted butter
- 2 large leeks, chopped
- 4 scallions or ramps, chopped, white and green parts separated
- kosher salt
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 6 Tbsp matzah meal
- 3 cups (720g) whole or 2% milk
- 1 cup (236g) vegetable stock
- 1/4 cup (75g) chopped chives
- 1/2 cup (55g) fresh or frozen peas
- 1/4 tsp nutmeg
- 1 tsp onion powder
- black pepper
- hot sauce, to taste
For the filling:
- 1 large egg
- 1 (15oz) container part-skim ricotta
- 3/4 cup (3oz) shredded parmesan cheese
- 2 cups (8oz) shredded mozzarella
- 1/2 tsp kosher salt
- 3 cups (5-6oz) fresh spinach
- 9 sheets matzah (i use lightly salted matzah)
- If planning to bake immediately, preheat the oven to 350ºf. If prepping ahead, see directions below.
- To make the sauce, in a large pot, melt the butter over medium-high heat. add the leeks, the white parts of the scallions or ramps, and a pinch of salt and cook until softened, 5-7 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for another minute, and then stir in the matzah meal and cook for another minute. add the milk, one cup at a time, stirring until thickened after each. Add the vegetable stock and continue to stir until thickened. Stir in the green parts of the scallions or ramps, the chives (reserving a small handful for the topping), peas, nutmeg, onion powder, a few turns of black pepper, hot sauce, and salt to taste. Remove from heat.
- To make the filling, in a medium bowl, mix together the egg, ricotta, 1/2 cup of the parmesan, 1 1/2 cups of the mozzarella, and the salt.
- To assemble, spread 1/2 cup of the sauce in the bottom of a 9” x 13” casserole pan (see specifics below on the type of pan you should use if you’re planning to freeze). Layer in the following: 2 sheets of matzah, a third of the cheese filling dolloped all over, 1 cup of spinach, a layer of sauce, 2 sheets of matzah, another third of the cheese filling, 1 cup of spinach, a layer of sauce, 2 sheets of matzah, the remaining cheese filling, 1 cup of spinach, remaining sauce, and then sprinkle the top with the remaining 3 sheets of matzah broken into pieces, and the reserved parmesan, mozzarella, chives, and a few turns of pepper.
- Bake, covered with foil, for 45 minutes, and then for an additional 15 minutes uncovered, or until golden brown on top.
- To freeze: I’d recommend using a foil pan that you can place directly in the oven from the freezer. Otherwise, you can use glass or enameled cast iron pan, but it would be best to defrost it in the fridge overnight before baking to avoid cracking the pan. Once the lasagna is assembled, let it cool slightly and wrap in plastic wrap or foil. Freeze for up to 3 months. To reheat, bake at 350ºf covered in foil for 1 hour 30 minutes, and then uncovered for an additional 15-30 minutes, or until golden brown on top and heated through.