Though time-consuming, this rich lasagna entree -- with its layers of rosemary-roasted mushrooms, nutty fontina cheese and slightly sweet Parmesan cream sauce -- is certain to please those partaking of turkey as well as those who are not.
Amid the Thanksgiving chaos, if you have a few minutes (and a spare skillet), for a garnish, saute some sliced mushrooms in equal parts oil and butter with a pinch of rosemary leaves and scatter over the top of the lasagna.
In Advance: Assemble the lasagna and refrigerate for up to 2 days. The lasagna can be reheated, covered with foil, at whatever temperature you set your oven for the turkey. (This works best if you remember to roast the turkey on the second to lowest oven rack and save the bottom rack for the lasagna.) Once you remove the turkey, adjust the oven to 425 degrees and heat the lasagna, uncovered, for the final few minutes to lightly brown the top layer of cream sauce and cheese.
Servings: 4 - 6
- For the vegetables:
- 1 to 10 1/2 pounds mixed mushrooms, such as button, cremini, portobello and shiitake
- 2 large sweet onions, such as Vidalia or Walla Walla
- About 4 tablespoons olive oil
- About 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
- Zest and juice from 1 lemon
- 2 to 3 sprigs rosemary, leaves finely chopped, plus additional for garnish
- For the noodles and cream sauce:
- 12 to 16 ounces lasagna sheets
- 1 1/2 cups heavy (whipping) cream
- About 3/4 cup (3 ounces) freshly grated Parmesan cheese, plus additional for garnish
- Freshly grated nutmeg to taste
- Salt and freshly ground white or black pepper to taste
- To assemble:
- Olive oil for the pan
- 8 ounces fontina cheese, thinly sliced or grated, plus additional for garnish
For the vegetables: Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.
Trim the stems from the mushrooms and discard or reserve for stock. Slice the caps between 1/4 and 1/2 inch thick. Slice the onions about 1/4 inch thick.
Spread the mushrooms on 2 large rimmed baking sheets. Do not crowd them.
Spread the onions on 1 large rimmed baking sheet. The onions may overlap slightly.
Drizzle both the mushrooms and the onions with about 2 tablespoons of the oil, dot with about 2 tablespoons of the butter and season well with salt and pepper. Using your hands, toss to coat. Sprinkle the lemon zest and juice over the onions and toss to coat.
Roast the mushrooms and onions, in batches if necessary, until softened and just starting to brown, about 20 minutes. Transfer the sheets to a wire rack to cool slightly. Sprinkle the mushrooms with the rosemary.
For the noodles and cream sauce: Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Working in batches, cook the lasagna sheets, stirring occasionally so they do not stick together, until tender. Carefully transfer the noodles to a colander, rinse with cold water and transfer to a clean towel, laying them flat, to dry.
Meanwhile, in a small saucepan over medium-low heat, combine the cream and Parmesan cheese and heat, stirring frequently, until a few bubbles surface. Continue to simmer gently, stirring frequently, until the cheese melts and the sauce is fairly smooth (the sauce will retain a slight graininess because of the cheese). Season with nutmeg, pepper and a pinch of salt and stir to combine. Remove from the heat.
To assemble the lasagna, lightly oil a 9-by-13-by-2-inch (or similar size) baking dish. Place 1 layer of the cooked pasta in the dish, overlapping the sheets slightly. Spread 1/3 of the mushrooms evenly over the pasta. Spread 1/3 of the onions evenly over the mushrooms. Spread about 1/3 of the fontina over the onions and season lightly with salt and pepper. Add a second layer of pasta, overlapping the sheets slightly. Top with 1/2 of the remaining mushrooms and 1/2 of the remaining onions. Spoon about 1/3 of the cream sauce over the onions and spread 1/2 of the remaining fontina over the sauce. Add a third layer of pasta, overlapping the sheets slightly. Top with the remaining mushrooms and onions. Spoon 1/2 of the remaining cream sauce over the onions and spread the remaining fontina over the sauce. Top with a fourth layer of pasta, pour the remaining cream sauce over the top, letting it run down the sides a bit, and sprinkle with Parmesan and/or fontina cheese to garnish, being sure to cover the pasta along the edge of the dish. (May set aside to cool to room temperature, then cover and refrigerate for up to 48 hours.)
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.
Cover the lasagna with aluminum foil and bake until warmed through, 30 to 40 minutes, depending on the oven temperature. (If heating refrigerated lasagna, allow 20 more minutes.) Remove the foil and bake until the filling is bubbling and the top is golden, 15 to 20 minutes. Let stand about 5 minutes before cutting. Sprinkle with additional rosemary to garnish.
Adapted from a recipe in "Pasta Improvisata," by Erica De Mane (Scribner, 1999).
Tested by Candy Sagon.
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