Mushroom Lasagna

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My father-in-law visited us last weekend and we had his absolute favorite meal at our house, mushroom lasagna.  He always asks, “What do you call this thing?” when we’re eating it, which I think is funny.  I think he has a hard time calling something “lasagna” which looks totally different from the classic towering colossus of meat, cheese and red sauce that most people associate with the term.  The presentation of this lasagna is elegant, but the mushrooms provide plenty of meatiness to serve it as an entrée.  This is an Ina Garten recipe, but I’ve made some adjustments; I add more mushrooms and use the Barilla no cook noodles, which I soak in warm water before assembling the lasagna.  I’ve also toyed with the cheese mixture.  I’ve added a little fontina, which melts nicely and when I make this for my family, I add chopped spinach.*

– Catherine

* I might toy with the recipe, but not the ritual.  I always drink a Miller Lite while I assemble it, as evidenced in the photo below.

Mushroom Lasagna (adapted from Ina Garten’s Portobello Mushroom Lasagna, Barefoot Contessa at Home)

2 lbs baby portobello mushrooms, stems removed, sliced about 1/4 inch thick

4 cups whole milk

12 Tbsp unsalted butter

1/2 cup flour

1 tsp ground nutmeg

1 1/2 cup parmesean cheese

7 ounces Barilla Lasagna noodles (the “No Boiling Required” flat ones)

Preheat oven to 375°.

In a large glass measuring cup, heat the milk in the microwave until hot, but not boiling.  In a medium saucepan, melt 1 stick (8 Tbsp) of the butter.  Add the flour and cook over low heat for about a minute, stirring constantly.  Pour the hot milk into the butter-flour mixture and whisk until thick, about 5 minutes.  Add the nutmeg, 1/2 Tbsp salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste.  Remove from heat and let cool.

Heat 2 Tbsp of butter and 2 Tbsp of olive oil in a large sauté pan (I use my huge 13″ French skillet for this).  Add the sliced mushrooms, salt and pepper and sauté until the mushrooms release some of their juices and become just browed on the edges.

Prior to assembling the lasagna, lay the dry lasagna noodles in a rimmed plate and add hot tap water.  Let the noodles soften for about 10 minutes.

To assemble, layer a ladle-full of the white sauce in a baking dish, ensuring the bottom is completely covered.  Then layer noodles, sauce, mushrooms and a heaping 1/4 cup of grated parmesan cheese, repeating at least twice.  Finish with a layer of noodles and more parmesan.  Dot the top with 3-4 small pieces of butter and bake for 45 minutes.  Let sit for about 15 minutes before serving.

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