Thursday, November 05, 2009

Wild Mushroom Lasagne (AKA The $50 Lasagne)

Even though this is the best lasagne I have ever had, because of the expense I don't make this except for company.


For mushroom tomato sauce

2 1/2cups boiling-hot water
1 1/2 cup dried porcini mushrooms
1 cup chopped onion (1 medium)
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 (14- to 15-ounce) cans diced tomatoes in juice
2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
1/2 teaspoon salt
A about 1/16 teaspoon white sugar

For béchamel sauce

3 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 3/4 tablespoons all-purpose flour
3 1/2 cups whole milk, heated
3 garlic cloves, smashed
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper

For assembling lasagne

12 long ruffle-edged dried lasagne noodles (not no-boil)
6 ounces finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano

Make béchamel (I like to make it the day before)
Heat butter in a 2-quart heavy saucepan over moderately low heat until melted, then add flour and cook roux over low heat, whisking, 3 minutes. Add hot milk in a fast stream, whisking vigorously, and whisk in garlic and salt. Bring to a boil, whisking. Reduce heat and simmer, whisking occasionally, 10 minutes, then remove garlic and add pepper.

Make mushroom tomato sauce (I like to make it the day before)
Pour boiling-hot water over porcini in a bowl and let stand until softened, about 20 minutes.Lift out porcini, squeezing excess liquid back into bowl, then rinse to remove any grit. Pour soaking liquid through a sieve lined with a dampened paper towel into another bowl. Chop porcini and add to soaking liquid.

Cook onion in oil in a 12-inch heavy skillet over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until softened, 4 to 5 minutes, then stir in tomatoes with juice, sugar, porcini with soaking liquid, and 1 tablespoon basil. Simmer, stirring frequently, until tomatoes have broken down into a chunky sauce, about 25 minutes. Stir in salt and remaining tablespoon basil.

Assemble and bake lasagne
Cook lasagne noodles in a 6- to 8-quart pot of boiling salted water 8 minutes (noodles will not be cooked through), then drain and transfer to a bowl of cold water.

Put oven rack in middle position and preheat oven to 425°F.

Spread 1 cup béchamel on bottom of a buttered 13- by 9-inch baking dish, reserving remainder for last layer. Drain 3 lasagne noodles in 1 layer on a kitchen towel and arrange over béchamel in baking dish. Spread pasta in dish evenly with one third of mushroom tomato sauce and sprinkle with 1/3 cup cheese. Repeat layering of pasta, mushroom tomato sauce, and cheese twice, then cover with last 3 lasagne noodles. Spread remaining béchamel on top and sprinkle with remaining 3/4 cup cheese.

Bake, uncovered, until lasagne is bubbling and top is browned, 30 to 35 minutes. Let stand at room temperature at least 20 minutes before cutting.

Cooks notes

Go easy on the sauces for the bottom layer because it is easy to run out before the top layer. After you make this a few times judging how much to put on each layer is easy.

No comments: