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Salem Farmers Market participated in this year’s Taste of Salem (Greater Salem Chamber of Commerce) and I was asked to help. We needed to make tasting-sized portions. This recipe was developed to highlight many products from my local farmers market, including dairy and eggs from Brookford Farm, Swiss chard from Arrowhead farm, Boggy Meadow’s Rosemary Jack Cheese and sweet Italian sausage from Hurd Farm.

We served these bites in mini-tasting spoons, which make great appetizers.

If you plan to use homemade ricotta, make that first and save the whey for the béchamel sauce. Then make the filling. Save the pasta for last for the freshest pasta possible. I made this recipe with gluten-free pasta so I continued and used gluten-free flour in the béchamel sauce below. Replace with regular pasta or flour.

If you’re not making homemade pasta, substitute with about 1 lb lasagna sheets and parboil to soften. Fresh pasta does not require pre-cooking.

swiss chard lasagna bitesWhat you need:

  • 2 tbs+ extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 lb Italian sweet sausage, casings removed, meat crumbled into small pieces
  • 1 onion, peeled and chopped
  • 1 bunch Swiss chard, stems removed, leaves cut crosswise into 1/4-inch strips
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 5 tbs unsalted butter
  • 1/3 c all-purpose {gluten-free} flour
  • 2 c leftover whey from homemade ricotta (or milk)
  • Fresh gluten-free pasta lasagna sheets
  • 2 c homemade ricotta
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 c shredded rosemary jack cheese
  • Freshly ground sea salt and black pepper

What you do:

  • Heat oven to 375˚.
  • In lg sauté pan heat oil.
  • Add sausage and cook until golden, stirring occasionally, about 5-7 min.
  • Reserve drippings and transfer sausage to a paper-towel-lined plate.
  • Add onion – and extra evoo if needed – to pan drippings in pan.
  • Cook, stirring often, until translucent, about 4 min.
  • Add chard, and cook 1 to 2 min.
  • Add garlic and season with salt and pepper.
  • Cook 1-2 more min.
  • Transfer to a colander to drain.
  • Make béchamel sauce by melting butter in med saucepan over medium heat.
  • Season with salt and pepper.
  • Stir in flour and cook for about 1 min.
  • Whisk in milk, a little at a time, until incorporated.
  • Bring to boil, stirring often, then reduce heat to low.
  • Simmer, stirring gently and often, until thickened and creamy, about 10 min.
  • Remove from heat.
  • In lg bowl add ricotta and egg.
  • Prepare baking dish.
  • In lg bowl, combine ricotta and chard for easier spooning.
  • Spoon enough béchamel to cover bottom of pan.
  • Top with one-third of lasagna noodles.
  • Top with one-half of ricotta mixture and sausage.
  • Top with enough béchamel to cover.
  • Repeat process ending with béchamel.
  • Sprinkle with rosemary jack cheese.
  • Cover with foil and bake 30 min.
  • Remove foil and continue baking about 15 min, until top becomes slightly golden.
  • Cool slightly.