Today is a big day. It’s Halloween. It’s the one day in the year that we can be someone else, imagining ourselves in their shoes. I can be pretty darn lazy when it comes to certain things. This includes Halloween. My signature Halloween outfit for many years? Crazy woman. This consisted of getting my hair tangled and messy, putting on a ridiculous amount of jewelry, and wearing lots of frayed clothes. That was my “costume.”
This year my wonderful friend came to the rescue when I told her I didn’t have a costume for the party Jon and I were going to the next day. She took out her “Halloween Costumes” box. I was in shock. Ummm, yeah, she has an entire box full of costumes. She is a prepared woman. I dressed in a kimono-like dress and Jon as a samurai. We looked awesome, and for once, I wasn’t a crazy woman.
Oh, by the way, that party that we went to was the most lavish event I have ever been to. There were trapeze artists hanging from the ceiling. And five open bars. Enough said. We live the high life out here in Seattle. I say this as I do laundry and have to travel three flights of stairs three times to get two measly loads done.
All of this Halloween talk and I don’t have a Halloween recipe to share. I do have a wonderful hearty fall lasagna to for you to lay your eyes on. I was first introduced to this deliciousness by a college boy that I cannot remember the name of. He was cute though, I do remember that. He brought this dish to the final day of our food issues honors seminar. I was such an ignorant being, that I had never even heard of kale or leeks. But I was sold on this lasagna the moment I took a bite and determined to make it. Each time I’ve made it I tweak it here and there, and well, of course, this version is my best yet.
2 lbs. of yams
2 bunches of kale
box of lasagna noodles (you will cook 16)
3 cups of ricotta
3 cups of shredded mozzarrella
2 cups of shredded parmesan
8 tablespoons of butter
8 tablespoons of all purpose flour
4 cups of milk (preferably whole)
salt and pepper
1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
2. Start cooking your lasagna noodles if you didn’t get the precooked ones. I usually cook them in batches of 4, otherwise it can became a big mess.
2. Peel your yams and thinly slice. If you have a mandoline, I recommend using that. Lay them out on a cookie sheet and bake for approx. 20 minutes.
3. While that is cooking in the oven, you can chop up your leeks and kale. Then heat some olive oil (around 2 tablespoons) in a large pan and saute leeks until done, approx. 5 minutes. Put your leeks into a mixing bowl. Add some more olive oil to the pan and cook kale. Watch it closely, kale cooks quickly. When it’s vibrant and green, remove from stovetop, you don’t want it to be too limp.
4. Now to make the sauce. Melt the butter and let it golden. Then mix in the flour and whisk thoroughly for a couple of minutes. It should be colored brown. Then slowly add the milk, whisking the whole time. You might get some clumps which you can whisk out. The sauce will slowly thicken. Add some salt and pepper to taste.
5. Get those yams out of the oven and turn the oven temperature up to 400 degrees.
6. Let’s construct the lasagna! Spread a half cup of the sauce on the bottom of the pan. Then place four noodles on top. Spread one third of the yams, leeks, and kale. Then top with a quarter of the ricotta, parmesan, and mozzarella. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Repeat this two more times. On the top, place noodles and then cover with remaining ricotta, parmesan, and mozzeralla. Be sure to cover every edifice of the noodles. Cover the lasagna with foil
6. Place lasagna in the oven for 40 minutes. Take off the foil after the lasagna has been in the oven for twenty minutes.