This dish is a casual version of lasagna. The pasta is not cooked before going into the oven–one less step, one less pot…
4 T butter
4 T all-purpose white or whole wheat flour
4 c milk
salt and pepper, to taste
grated nutmeg, to taste
1-1/2 c grated Parmesan, divided, or other cheese
2 T extra-virgin olive oil
1 garlic clove, minced
2 bunches greens, washed, stemmed, if necessary, coarsely chopped
3 c (12 oz) uncooked (whole wheat) pasta, such as penne
1. In a saucepan, melt butter over medium heat. Sprinkle the flour over the melted butter, and whisk to combine. Cook, stirring, for a couple of minutes. Slowly add the milk, whisking. Season with salt, pepper, and nutmeg. Bring just to a gentle simmer, whisking frequently. Stir in half the grated cheese, then set aside.
2. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 375ºF. Over medium heat, put the olive oil and garlic in a cast-iron or other oven-proof skillet large enough to hold all the ingredients. (If you don’t have such a skillet, then you’ll have to transfer the pasta to a casserole or other baking dish.) When the garlic begins to sizzle a bit, start adding the greens. Do this in large handfuls, allowing each handful to wilt down before adding the next. Depending on the type of greens used, cook them long enough to soften.
3. Add the uncooked pasta, stirring to incorporate. Pour the milk sauce into the skillet and, carefully, stir to combine. Smooth the top, sprinkle the remaining cheese over and cover with the skillet’s lid or foil. Transfer to the oven and bake for 30 minutes. Remove the lid or foil and bake another 15 minutes. Remove from oven and let stand for 10 minutes before serving.