I’ve never had a good vegetarian lasagna recipe to call on, which kind of sucks because everything I cook is vegetarian and I think pasta should be its own food group. So lately I’ve been playing with various mushroom lasagna recipes, because the problem with vegetarian lasagna tends to be lack of flavor, and mushrooms have flavor in spades. I’ve merged two recipes here, one with lots of flavor but a ridiculous amount of prep time and ingredients, the other much simpler, to create an awesome but not too labor-intensive variation.
1 1/2 lbs. baby bella mushrooms
1/2 oz. dried porcini mushrooms
1 cup boiling water
1 t dried basil
1/2 cup vermouth (or sherry, or dry white wine, but vermouth is best)
9 dried lasagna noodles
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
4 cups whole milk
1 1/2 t salt
1/2 t freshly ground black pepper
1 t ground nutmeg
1 large clove garlic, minced
1 cup freshly grated parmesan
Optional: 1 clove garlic and 1 T chopped parsley, for garnish
Preheat your oven to 375°F.
Soak the porcini mushrooms in the boiling water for at least 5 min.
Roughly chop the baby bella mushrooms and sauté them with the basil. Remove the porcinis from the water (saving the liquid) and chop them finely. Add them to the mushrooms. Run the porcini liquid through a coffee filter to remove any sediment and add that liquid and the vermouth to the mushrooms. Cook until liquid is absorbed.
While that is going, boil the lasagna noodles with plenty of salt, drain them and set them aside on paper towels to avoid sticking.
In a medium saucepan/pot, make a béchamel sauce by melting the butter, slowly adding the flour, and then gradually adding the milk. Once half the milk is incorporated, you can just pour the rest in. Add the salt, pepper, nutmeg, and garlic, cooking on low heat until the sauce thickens, then remove from heat.
Assemble the lasagna as follows: pour a cup of the sauce on the bottom of a 9×12 pan. Add a layer of noodles. Layer on another cup of sauce, half the mushrooms, and 1/3 cup of the cheese. Add another layer of noodles, another cup of sauce, the rest of the mushrooms, and 1/3 cup of cheese. Finish with the final layer of noodles, the remaining sauce, and the remaining cheese.
Bake for 45 min, until top is brown and bubbly. If you wish, add the garnish of minced garlic and parsley. Let rest for 15 min before cutting. Enjoy!