Leah Koenig is a Brooklyn, NY-based mom of two and cookbook author—her latest, The Jewish Cookbook, was published by Phaidon in 2019. She’s known as an authority on modern Jewish cooking, so just in time for Passover, we asked her to share one of her favorite holiday recipes. She suggested this Spring Veggie White Matzo Lasagna. “I love this matzo lasagna because it is a filling, simple, and incredibly tasty main that can serve a family well (with leftovers) during the week of Passover,” says Leah. This year, her family, like many others, is planning a high-tech family gathering. “We are having a kid-friendly, early Zoom seder with my in-laws and mom,” says Leah. “It is the first time both sides of our family will be “together” for the seder, which is a silver lining of this otherwise topsy turvy year.”
spring veggie white matzo lasagna
makes one 9” x 13” casserole
1/4 c (57g) unsalted butter
2 large leeks, chopped
4 scallions or ramps, chopped, white and green parts separated
4 cloves garlic, minced
6 tb matzo meal
3 c (720g) whole or 2% milk
1 c (236g) vegetable stock
1/4 c (75g) chopped chives
1/2 c (55g) fresh or frozen peas
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp onion powder
hot sauce, to taste
1 large egg
1 (15oz) container our family part skim ricotta
3/4 c (3oz) our family shredded parmesan cheese
2 c (8oz) our family shredded mozzarella
1/2 tsp kosher salt
3 c (5-6oz) fresh spinach
9 sheets matzo (i use lightly salted matzo)
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 matzo 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 type of pan you should use if you’re planning to freeze). layer in the following: 2 sheets of matzo, a third of the cheese filling dolloped all over, 1 cup of spinach, a layer of sauce, 2 sheets of matzo, another third of the cheese filling, 1 cup of spinach, a layer of sauce, 2 sheets of matzo, the remaining cheese filling, 1 cup of spinach, remaining sauce, and then sprinkle the top with the remaining 3 sheets of matzo 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. enjoy!
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. enjoy!