I’m sick as a dog with the flu, after being cold-free for almost a year — a true record, given that I always catch at least one cold during the winter. Jon laughs saying that I’ve caught a million other things instead, including an untreatable skin rash that itches like crazy for 10 weeks, which, I have to mention, less than 1% of the population ever gets (lucky me! I’m so special!). I recovered from the insane rash a month ago, but now I’ve been sneezing and coughing for the past two days, yet still had to spend the day in the kitchen yesterday as I was hosting a dinner at home for Jon’s family. I cooked a dairy dinner with many of my favorite dishes, such as a reinterpreted version of my famous three-cheese lasagna, featuring a variety of mushrooms concealed between each layer of pasta.
Cheese lasagna has become one of my specialities, although I never really liked this dish to begin with until I started making this version. I always stuck to cheese-only versions, but upon Jon’s request to experiment with vegetables, I chose to sauté some mushrooms to add between the layers. I used dried bolete mushrooms, cremini mushrooms and white button mushrooms, but feel free to use any mushrooms your heart desires, from shiitake to other wild mushroom varieties.
I find that mushrooms can have a slight rubbery taste, so I decided to cook them before including them in the lasagna. Mushrooms release a lot of liquid when cooked, so the first step before sautéing them is to let them sweat in a skillet over medium-high heat with no oil whatsoever. Once all the liquid has evaporated, add a diced shallot and some olive oil and sauté it all together to enhance the mushrooms’ flavors. Add some basil tomato sauce to the mushrooms, mix to combine, and set aside to include between the layers of lasagna.
I used the same three-cheese mixture in between the layers of lasagna — consisting ricotta, Parmesan cheese and mozzarella mixed together with eggs and chopped parsley — and a store-bought basil tomato sauce liquified with a bit of water. Begin by evenly spreading tomato sauce across the bottom of the Pyrex. Add a layer of lasagna sheets. Top with an even layer of the cheese mixture. Add a layer of mushroom-tomato sauce mixture. Repeat with 3 more layers. End the lasagna with a homemade white sauce (recipe below), the rest of the basil tomato sauce and some more cheese and voilà, you’ll have a lasagna that your guests will always remember. I only had one slice left at the end of the evening, and Jon and I are still fighting over who gets to eat the last portion for dinner tonight.
- 30g dried bolete mushrooms (or any wild mushrooms)
- 250g white button mushrooms, stems removed
- 250g cremini mushrooms, stems removed
- 1 ½ tablespoons olive oil
- 1 shallot, diced
- 2 eggs
- 1 cup Parmesan cheese, divided
- 3 tablespoons chopped parsley
- 500g ricotta
- 450g shredded mozzarella, divided
- 800g basil tomato sauce
- Pre-cooked lasagna sheets
- 4 tablespoons butter
- 4 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 2 cups milk
- Soak the dried bolete mushrooms in warm water for 15 minutes. Drain and dry. Cut into smaller pieces if needed. Cut each white button and cremini mushroom in half, then thinly slice.
- Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. When hot, add all the mushrooms and let them sweat until they release all their liquid, stirring often, about 8 to 10 minutes. When the liquid evaporates, add the olive oil and the diced shallot. Sauté the mushrooms for 5 more minutes until the shallot softens. Set aside to cool.
- Preheat oven to temperature stated on the lasagna package. Grease a large rectangular Pyrex.
- In a large mixing bowl, whisk the egg. Add the chopped parsley, ricotta, 400g mozzarella and ¾ cup Parmesan. Mix to combine with a wooden spatula.
- Pour 6 tablespoons of tomato sauce in the Pyrex and spread evenly across the bottom. Top with a layer of lasagna sheets. Spread evenly across the lasagna a layer of the cheese mixture. Liquify the tomato sauce with a bit of water and mix half of the tomato liquid with the mushrooms. Top the layer of cheese with an even layer of mushrooms mixed with the tomato sauce. Repeat the same process with three more layers of lasagna sheets. End the layers with sheets of lasagna.
- In a small saucepan over medium heat, melt the better stirring constantly so that it doesn't burn. Add the flour and mix with a wooden spoon to combine. Add the milk and whisk until the sauce thickens, about 10 minutes.
- Pour the white sauce over the lasagna. Pour the remaining tomato sauce over the lasagna. Sprinkle the top with the remaining Parmesan cheese and mozzarella.
- Cook for the time stated on the lasagna package, generally 20 to 30 minutes.
FREEZER-FRIENDLY: You can prepare the lasagna in advance and freeze it prior to cooking.
How did your mushroom cheese lasagna come out? Share photos of your recipe on Instagram by tagging #savormania