Mushroom Lasagna Bolognese 12.000

Renee Comet/Style by Lisa Cherkasky for The Washington Post

Mar 19, 2008

This beautifully rich lasagna should be made ahead for several reasons: The preparation takes several steps and several hours, and the no-boil noodles need a chance to absorb liquid before they are baked.

If the lasagna is baked in advance, cool it completely and then wrap well in plastic and aluminum foil so the bechamel sauce will not dry out.

Servings: 12
  • For the mushroom filling
  • 1 1/2 ounces dried porcini mushrooms
  • 4 cups boiling water
  • 1/2 cup low-sodium soy sauce
  • 1/2 cup vegetarian or vegan Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 pound portobello mushrooms, stemmed and coarsely chopped (may use packaged caps or slices)
  • 1 pound shiitake mushrooms, coarsely chopped
  • 1 pound sliced cremini mushrooms
  • 4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 large carrots, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch slices
  • 1 large onion, peeled and cut into quarters
  • 4 ribs celery, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 tablespoons finely chopped garlic (3 to 4 medium cloves)
  • 2 6-ounce cans tomato paste
  • 2 cups whole or low-fat milk
  • 2 cups red wine, such as merlot or cabernet sauvignon
  • 1 28-ounce can diced tomatoes, with juice
  • Several sprigs of herbs, such as thyme, oregano and bay leaf, tied with kitchen twine to form a bouquet garni (see TIP)
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • For the bechamel sauce
  • 4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 4 cups whole or low-fat milk (do not use nonfat)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
  • For assembly
  • 2 9-ounce packages flat, no-boil lasagna sheets, such as Barilla brand
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese


For the mushroom filling: Place the dried porcini mushrooms in a large bowl; add the boiling water and the soy and Worcestershire sauces. Set aside.

Combine the portobello and shiitake mushrooms in the bowl of a food processor. Pulse until finely chopped. Transfer to a separate large bowl and add the sliced cremini mushrooms.

Melt the butter with the olive oil over medium heat in a large saucepan.

Meanwhile, combine the carrots, onion and celery in the bowl of a food processor; pulse (about 20 times) until they are just finely chopped (but have not released a great amount of liquid), then add to the saucepan. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 20 minutes; do not let the vegetables brown. Season with salt and pepper and stir to mix well.

Add the chopped garlic and the portobello-shiitake-cremini mushroom mixture to the vegetables. Cook for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the liquid is absorbed. Add the tomato paste and milk, stirring to mix well, and cook for 10 minutes or until the liquid is absorbed. Add the wine and cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally; it will be absorbed.

Use a slotted spoon to remove the reconstituted porcini mushrooms from their soaking liquid; reserve the liquid. Rinse the mushrooms to remove any grit, then coarsely chop them and add to the saucepan.

Strain the mushrooms' soaking liquid through a fine-mesh strainer or several layers of cheesecloth, then add it to the saucepan. Add the diced tomatoes and their juice, the bouquet garni and sugar. Reduce the heat to medium-low and cook, uncovered, for 2 to 3 hours, stirring occasionally, until the filling is a deep, rich brown and very thick. Use strips of paper towel from time to time to skim off any fat that rises to the surface of the mixture. Discard the bouquet garni when the filling is done.

For the bechamel sauce (which can be done while the filling is cooking): Melt the butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the flour and whisk it with the butter for several seconds to form a roux. Add the milk gradually, whisking constantly to ensure that no lumps form. Add the salt, pepper and nutmeg; cook for about 5 minutes, until the sauce thickens and can coat the back of a spoon. Remove from the heat and whisk in the Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese. Set aside.

To assemble: Use nonstick cooking oil spray to lightly grease the inside of a 9-by-13-inch lasagna pan, preferably one with deep sides.

Spread a thin layer of mushroom filling in the bottom of the pan. Arrange 4 lasagna sheets on the filling side by side; do not overlap. Spread a thin layer of filling over the noodles. Drizzle about 1/2 cup of the bechamel sauce over the mushroom filling. Build more layers in the same order -- noodles, mushroom filling, bechamel sauce -- to create as many as 7 layers. (All of the pasta can be used. There may be some mushroom filling left over; reserve for another use.) Spread the remaining sauce on top of the lasagna so that the mushroom filling is completely covered. Sprinkle the top with the Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese.

At this point, the lasagna can be wrapped well and refrigerated for 1 to 2 days, or wrapped well and frozen for up to 2 months (thaw completely before baking, or adjust baking times as needed).

When ready to bake, preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Bake the lasagna, unwrapped, for about 1 hour or until it is golden brown and bubbling. Let it rest for 10 minutes before serving.

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Recipe Source

From Chef on Call columnist David Hagedorn.

Tested by David Hagedorn.

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