29 Mar Passover Matzah Lasagna with Pesto and Kale
On Passover, I try not to cook with a ton of matzo since there are so many other amazing Passover friendly ingredients (I often find I cook recipes I normally make the rest of the year, really it’s not so hard!) so I don’t feel like I need matzo to make a meal satisfying. The one exception? Matzo Lasagna. I seriously can’t live without it and make it at least twice every year. Somehow, the matzo in this recipe replicates the texture and taste of lasagna noodles pretty damn closely and soaks up all the flavor of your sauce making the “matzo taste” virtually disappear, and gives your brain that carbo-load comfort food signal that is missing in a lot of Passover meals. They keys to success? A really flavorful tomato sauce and a ton of it (you can make your own or just use an awesome store-bought version), the proportions (usually more per layer than you would use in a regular lasagna) of ingredients on each layer, quality ooey gooey cheeses (I mean, when does quality cheese not come into play?!?), awesomely flavorful veggie fillings (get creative with whatever is looking delish at the market that week), and an extra boost of herby goodness from a fresh basil pesto. Make a couple batches and reheat throughout the week for a quick and soul satisfying meal to get you through to the promised land at the end of the chametz desert!
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 garlic clove, peeled and minced
- 1 bunch lacinato/black kale, stems removed and chiffonaded
- 18 ounces whole or skim milk fresh ricotta
- 2 eggs
- 1 jar of your favorite pasta sauce
- 4-6 squares of matzah (I use whole wheat, but anything works)
- 8-12 Ounces of shredded mozzarella cheese (add more if you are in the mood for super melty goodness!)
- 1-2 teaspoons kosher sea salt
- 2 fresh garlic cloves, peeled and roughly chopped
- 1/4 cup of toasted pine nuts
- 1 teaspoon Kosher sea salt
- 4 cups packed fresh basil leaves, large stems removed
- 1/2-1 cup high quality extra virgin olive oil
- 1/4 cup shredded parmesan cheese
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Heat olive oil and garlic in a saute pan over medium high heat until garlic becomes fragrant. Add kale, stir to coat in oil, and cook for about 1 minute until kale wilts. Season with a couple pinches of salt. Remove from heat.
- In a mixing bowl, add ricotta, egg, and a pinch of salt and stir to combine. Fold in the kale.
- In a 9x12 baking dish, add enough sauce to coat the bottom of the pan. Add one layer of matzah (if you have a larger pan it will be a little bit of a puzzle much like regular noodles, you'll have to carefully break some to fit). Top with 1/3 of the ricotta mix and then about 1/4 of the jar of sauce. Repeat two more times.
- Top with another layer of matzah, the remaining sauce, and the mozzarella.
- Cover with a tented piece of tin foil (or spray the underside of the foil with cooking spray instead of tenting), and bake for 20 minutes.
- While the lasagna is baking, make your pesto.
- In a food processor, chop garlic, salt, and pine nuts until a rough paste forms. Add basil leaves and salt pulse only a few times just to chop and combine (we want minimal processing or the basil will turn brown). With the motor running, pour in olive oil and mix until you get your desired consistency (some like it spreadable, some like it extra pourable- dealer's choice!). Stir in parmesan cheese.
- At the end of your 20 minutes, uncover the lasagna and bake for an additional 10 minutes until the top is golden and bubbly.
- Remove from the oven, let sit for 5 minutes and then cut and plate. Top with a scoop of pesto and serve!
- I like to use a ton of sauce in mine to really make it feel like noodles (the matzah sucks up sauce like a boss), you may like less but I say go wild with it.
- Not loving Kale today? My other favorite version of this uses finely minced broccoli florets! Or go classic- lose the veg and the pesto, and top with fresh basil leaves once you uncover the pan and you'll still be in heaven!