I’ve been planning for a while to come back and re-photograph my favorite lasagna, but through the coincidence of not thinking through my grocery list a couple of weeks ago (and therefore not having enough lasagna noodles), I actually ended up with a slight twist to the recipe and decided I like it even better.
The change here is really simple: instead of finishing the lasagna with a layer of noodles and and then some sauce and cheese, I just cut it off with the last regular layer. This gives you more sauce and mushrooms and cheese on the top of the lasagna and doesn’t result in what I feel is a rubbery last layer of noodles that bakes and dries out more than it should. Of course, if you like this last layer of noodles, go for it. I will try not to judge you.
I feel like this recipe is a little out of place right now. It’s suddenly warmed up drastically (it’s almost 80 degrees today! I had to go buy Evelyn some emergency warm weather clothes because I hadn’t stocked up yet!), which means it doesn’t particularly feel like lasagna season right now. I’m eager to break out the grill, which we admittedly have not been great about using this winter. I’ve been cooking some lighter spring dishes (some more posts to come in a couple of weeks) and last week we just tried out my new sous vide (with some pretty amazing results). I am all ready for a new season and the opportunity to breakout of the food rut I feel like I got into at the end of February. But I didn’t want this beautiful lasagna to get left out until next winter, so here we are. Now on to Spring.
If there is one thing I have learned about lasagna making, it is to always boil more noodles than you need. Inevitably some will tear, some will stick together, etc. So you probably won't need the full pound here, but it's better to be on the safe side.
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 1/2 lbs. mushrooms, cleaned and sliced
- Kosher salt
- 1 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
- 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Begin by cooking the mushrooms. Heat oil and butter over medium-high 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 5-7 minutes. If you need to, you can cook the mushrooms in two batches. Transfer them into a bowl and set aside.
- Fill a large stock pot with water. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat and add a good pinch of salt. Add lasagna noodles and cook until just tender (you don't need to cook them fully), then drain them. Toss with a bit of olive oil to keep them from sticking together and set aside to cool slightly.
- To make the sauce begin by heating the milk (either by bringing to a simmer on the stove or heating in the microwave for about 1 minute), then set aside. In a medium saucepan, melt butter over medium 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, 5-10 minutes, until thick. Remove from heat and set aside, coming back to stir it occasionally to prevent a film from forming on top until you are ready to use it.
- To put the lasagna together, begin by spreading a bit of sauce in the bottom of an 9 x 13 baking dish (8 x 12 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 1/3 cup of the cheese. Repeat these layers twice more: noddles, sauce, mushrooms, cheese. (Optionally, you can finish with one more layer of noodles, then sauce, and finally with the some more cheese, but I prefer to leave this off.)
- Bake for 30-45 minutes, until slightly golden brown and bubbly on top. Remove from oven and allow to sit for 15 minutes before serving. Serve hot.
adapted from Ina Garten