Tuesday, 24 February 2009

This a really tasty, non-meat lasagna. Although there are several steps they can be done in advance, and the dish assembled before cooking. It's essential to use the dried mushrooms for a full flavour. Also we use a lot more bechamel sauce than the original recipe suggested. The amount of grated parmesan can be more also.

Lasagna with mushrooms
adapted from the Second Classic Italian Cookbook by Marcella Hazan

40g dried mushrooms
680g fresh mushrooms
4 tablespoons vegetable oil
60g butter
1/2 small onion, chopped finely
75g tinned Italian plum tomatoes, drained and chopped
2 tablespoons chopped parsley
lasagna dough made with 3 eggs (see labels)
Bechamel sauce made with 1000 mls milk
60g grated Parmesan cheese

Soak the dried mushrooms for at least 30 minutes in lukewarm water to cover. After soaking lift out carefully and rinse to remove any grit. Cut into smaller pieces. Filter the mushroom water through a sieve lined with kitchen towel. Keep for later.
Clean then thinly slice the fresh mushrooms. Heat the oil and 60g butter in large saute pan and cook the onion until translucent. Add the soaked mushrooms, the mushroom water, the chopped tomatoes and the parsley. Allow liquid to evaporate then put in the fresh mushrooms and raise the heat to high. Add salt and pepper and cook on high heat until the liquid exuded by the fresh mushrooms has evaporated. Take off the heat, check for seasoning.
Preheat oven to 180C. 
Thinly smear lasagna dish with butter. Line the bottom of the dish with strips of pasta. Spread a thin layer of mushrooms over the pasta. Cover the mushrooms thinly with bechamel sauce. Sprinkle with a little Parmesan. Cover with another layer of pasta and repeat sequence, to a maximum depth of 6 layers of pasta. Over the topmost layer spread a thin layer of bechamel and sprinkle with the last of the Parmesan. 
Put the dish in the oven. Bake for 15-20 minutes until nicely golden. After removing from the oven let rest for 15 minutes. Serve slices with a green salad.

This quantity of pasta and filling filled 2 rectangular pottery casserole dishes sizes 20cm x 27cm, depth 5cms. Once cooked and cooled they freeze well.

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