Wild Stinging Nettle + Two-Pea Lasagne with Pork Sausage
By Sarah Blackburn, recipe developer, Sara’s Supper Club, Brookline
You can make your own fresh egg pasta dough for this lasagna, but it’s easier to get it from the supermarket or specialty foods shop. If you have a pasta maker at home, you can easily thin out the store-bought pasta sheets, or ask your pasta purveyor to thin them for you.
3 sweet Italian sausages (preferably a local sausage)
6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided
1 small bunch spring onions with greens, chopped
1 stalk green garlic with greens, or a small handful garlic scapes, chopped
1 bunch chives, chopped (blossoms reserved, if there are any)
1 pound sugar snap peas, tipped, tailed and sliced into 3 diagonal pieces
1 cup shelled English peas
6 cups wild stinging nettles, soaked in water, drained and spun dry
kosher salt, to taste
freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1 organic lemon, zested and juiced
1 bunch organic basil, chopped
½ stick organic pastured unsalted butter
½ cup all purpose flour
4 cups whole milk, heated
¼ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1 pound fresh lasagna sheets, (if making at home rolled to #6 on a pasta maker)
1 cup Parmigiano Reggiano, grated, divided
Preheat the oven to 375° F. In a medium cast iron skillet, heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil until rippling but not smoking, and squeeze the sausage from its casing, crumbling it as you go. Cook the sausage until lightly browned and almost cooked through. Scrape from the pan onto a paper towel-lined plate and set aside.
In the same skillet, heat 2 tablespoons olive oil and add the spring onions, green garlic and chives. Sauté until fragrant, then add the sugar snaps and peas, and season with salt and pepper; toss to combine. Using gloves or tongs, add the cleaned nettles and sauté until wilted. Season with salt and pepper, lemon juice, half the lemon zest and basil. Stir in the cooked sausage and set aside.
In a saucepan set over medium heat, melt the butter and sprinkle in the flour, whisking to make a roux. Stir to toast the flour until it just begins to take on a little color and then add the hot milk, whisking as you go so as to avoid lumps. Season with salt and pepper, then add the nutmeg and the remaining lemon zest. Stir to combine and set aside to keep warm.
Drizzle the bottom of an earthenware or glass lasagna pan with olive oil and spread it around with your hands to coat all sides. Spread a tablespoonful of the besciamella on the bottom of the pan and cut a piece of the pasta sheet to fit (you may have to use a few different pieces to cover the bottom). Spread more besicamella on top of the pasta, then sprinkle with Parmigano. Scatter some of vegetable filling on top, spread another spoonful of the besciamella over the vegetables, and top with another layer of pasta sheets cut to fit. Repeat until you’ve used all the ingredients, pressing down if needed to avoid overflowing the dish, finishing with a layer of besciamella and Parmigiano, and some cracked black pepper.
Bake in the hot oven for 35-40 minutes or until bubbly. Allow the lasagna to rest 5-10 minutes before you cut it, and serve with chive blossoms sprinkled over the top.