So I only made this a couple of days ago, and to be completely honest I have a whole list of recipes to share with you that I made before I made this lasagna. But it is so good, day after day (we’ve had it for leftovers twice now), that I couldn’t wait to share it with you.
It probably doesn’t surprise you that I’m not a fan of traditional lasagna, you know, with that whole tomato sauce thing. So when I first saw this one from Ina Garten I knew my salvation had come. It’s not that I don’t like lasagna…lasagna is just pasta. It’s the tomato sauce I don’t like. And with a delicious white sauce, it is of course, completely different. And then we add the mushrooms, which, with my recent obsession (really, why have I never ordered them on my chicken sandwich before now?) it was exactly what I needed this week.
Let’s just go through this layer by layer, shall we? First of all, pasta. Which, while it is just lasagna, it had the perfect smooth texture to contrast the mushrooms and the creamy sauce. The mushrooms are sauteed and then baked in the sauce and cheese so that they oh so subtly pick up those delicious flavors. Then there is the cheese, perfectly, well, cheesy (sorry I can’t give you more…it’s been a long week).
And finally we have the sauce. The sauce that was so delicious and creamy, perfect with a helping of nutmeg and what I at first thought would be too much pepper for my sensitive taste buds. But it was perfect. Well, at least perfect in the way it tastes. Not so much perfect in the way it looks, because once again, I could not get the sauce to thicken no matter how perfectly it started out and no matter how much cornstarch I added. I don’t know what my problem is or why my wooden spoon suddenly seems cursed when it touches that white sauce. But I didn’t worry too much, because the taste was still perfect and creamy and rich, and oh my goodness why are all of the leftovers already gone?
adapted from Ina Garten
Prep Time: 45 minutes
Bake Time: 45 minutes
Wait Time: 15 minutes
3/4 lb. dried lasagna noodles
4 cups whole milk
1/2 cup unsalted butter
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 1/2 lbs. mushrooms, cleaned and sliced
1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.
2. Fill a large stock pot with water. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Add lasagna noodles (along with a bit of salt and olive oil). Cook noodles until tender, about 10 minutes. Drain and set aside.
3. To make the sauce, heat the milk (either by bringing to a simmer on the stove or heating in the microwave), then set aside. In a medium saucepan, melt butter over medium-low heat. Add flour and cook for 1 minute, stirring constantly. Pour milk slowly into the butter/flour mixture, adding it in increments of a couple of tablespoons at a time, stirring to combine after each addition. Once about half of the milk has been added, add the rest of it all at once. Add salt, pepper, and nutmeg. Cook, stirring constantly, 3-5 minutes, until thick. Remove from heat and set aside.*
4. To cook the mushrooms, heat oil and butter over medium heat in a large saute pan. Once the butter has melted, add the mushrooms and season with salt and pepper. Cook mushrooms until they are tender and have begun to release juices, about five minutes. If they become too dry, add a bit more oil. The mushrooms will probably need to be cooked in two batches.
5. To put the lasagna together, begin by spreading a bit of sauce in the bottom of an 8 x 12 baking dish (9 x 13 or 7 x 11 will also work, just use what you have). On top of the sauce, spread out a layer of noodles. Top the noodles with more sauce, then 1/3 of the mushrooms and 1/4 cup of the cheese. Repeat these layers twice more: noddles, sauce, mushrooms, cheese. To finish, top with one more layer of noodles, then sauce, and finally with the remaining cheese.
6. Bake for 45 minutes, until golden brown and bubbly on top. Remove from oven and allow to sit for 15 minutes before serving. Serve hot.
*Obviously I had problems with making this sauce. After 5 minutes it wasn’t thick, after 15 minutes it wasn’t thick (even after adding lots of cornstarch). So as of now, I claim to be no expert in making this sauce appropriately, although I will promise that it will taste good.