Mushroom Lasagna

So if you followed along to my NaBloPoMo posts, you can probably figure out that I was hinting at some pasta dish with mushrooms with my post from yesterday. I don’t know about you but I’m really excited for this mushroom lasagna.

When I first started collecting recipes, this caught my attention. First of all, I love lasagna. I love the idea of combining pasta, sides and throwing copious amounts of cheese between each layer. I love the soft tender bite bursting with multiple flavors. I love the excuse to squeeze food into an entree, so I can make more sides.


With this recipe, not only do I get all the perks of lasagna, it incorporates two of my favorite italian inspirations in cooking, mushrooms and white sauce. The best part – making everything from scratch (well, not the pasta) . I thought it would be a great way to show the world that its really not that hard to make your own sauce. The recipe uses a familiar technique of a flour roux, which is used for gravies and sauces.

I used to have lots of trouble making good roux-based sauces. Past tense used to. My secret to a good roux is as followed. Heat up your liquid, make sure its at least warm and let it sit in a separate container that you can poor from easily, I used a pitcher. Make the actual roux using a one to one ratio of butter and flour. Melt the butter, add all the flour, and whisk away. Let the roux cook for a least a minute to cook out the flour flavor.

The secret to a smooth luxurious sauce, is to add the liquid in every so slightly in the beginning. I poured in a few tablespoons at first. After whisking a bit it’ll seem like lumpy mashed potatoes. Don’t worry! keep adding liquid 1/4-1/2 cup at a time using the pitcher and whisk CONSTANTLY. Soon you’ll get a thick smooth sauce on the top right. At that point it’s usually pretty safe to add all the liquid. I like to add my spices at this time and let it cook with the sauce to thicken. My favorite spice profile in this lasagna – nutmeg.

Always ground fresh if you can, but you gotta do what you gotta do!

The rest is pretty simple. Pasta, sauce. cheese. mushrooms, repeat. The best way to do this? A mini assembly line! I was a bit thirsty so I had a cup of freshly blended smoothie pulling me through the night.

Mushroom Lasagna

Originally adapted from Serious Eats, with notes

Ingredients

  • 3/4 pound dried lasagna noodles
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 4 cups whole milk
  • 1 large garlic clove, minced
  • 3/4 cup unsalted butter (1 1/2 sticks), divided
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 1/2 pounds portobello mushrooms, stems removed, sliced 1/4-inch thick
  • 1 cup grated Parmesan

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 375°F and bring a large pot of salted water to boil. When water is boiling, add the noodles and cook according to the directions on the packaging. Drain in a colander, and then toss with the olive oil to prevent the noodles from sticking together.
  2. Pour the milk into a medium saucepan and add the minced garlic. Turn heat to medium and bring to a simmer. In a second saucepan, melt 1/2 cup (1 stick) of butter over medium heat, and then whisk in the flour. Turn heat to low, and cook, whisking constantly, for one minute. While continuing to whisk, add 1/4 to 1/2 cups of milk and whisk until combined. Repeat until you have a thick and smooth sauce. Add the remaining milk slowly while whisking constantly. Add 1/2 teaspoon salt, the black pepper, and the nutmeg. Turn heat up to medium-low and cook, stirring occasionally, until thick, three to five minutes. Turn off the heat.
  3. In a large skillet set over medium heat, add two tablespoons of olive oil and two tablespoons of butter. Toss in about half of the mushrooms, season with salt, and cook, stirring occasionally, until the mushrooms have released some liquid and are starting to brown. Remove these mushrooms and set aside. If more fat is needed, add another tablespoon of olive and butter, and cook the remaining mushrooms.
  4.  Using a large spoon, spread some of the sauce in the bottom of an 8 by 12-inch baking dish. Add one layer of the lasagna noodles, a few spoonfuls of the sauce, 1/3 of the mushrooms, and 1/4 cup of grated Parmesan. Repeat process two more times. Finally, add a layer of sauce on and top with a 1/4 cup grated Parmesan.
  5. Place baking dish in the oven and cook until the top is browned and the sauce is bubbling. Let rest for a few minutes before digging in. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

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