Despite this endless summer we've been having I've been craving mushrooms. Like sauteed, tender, meaty mushrooms. I've also been really into baked pasta since they provide ample leftovers, which is clutch during coaching season. Ergo, I want mushroom lasagna.
Now what's strange is that when you search for 'mushroom lasagna" most recipes don't include ricotta. I KNOW. If I wanted mushrooms and pasta I'd make just that. Lasagna is about layers. Ricotta is a key layering ingredient. So give me my damn ricotta. End rant.
In order to rectify this culinary catastrophe I came up with my own version. In my initial internet search I did find a new way to layer the lasagna from Cooking for Keeps. The dots of ricotta make for more even distribution during baking and don't smother the mushrooms. Her version looked good too but too cheesy for me. A good lasagna should be balanced between all components. Listen to me, I sound like Joey Tribianni.
Guys, this was such a hit that everyone had seconds (thirds for pops) and both my folks were picking scraps from the pan. Safe to say this was a success and I can't wait to repeat it! Mind you, you'll be up to your elbows in mushrooms but so worth it. Since there is nothing else but ricotta and mushroom, you really do need all of them in order to make this dish as hearty as it is.
Thankfully the lasagna wasn't too dense to clash with the oppressive humidity; however, it was filling enough that when the temperature does drop, you will feel immensely satisfied. So if it's all the same to you, I'll take that fall weather now. Until the next dish, ciao!
12 no boil lasagna noodles
16oz whole milk ricotta
1/2 tsp nutmeg
32oz mushrooms, sliced (I used a mix of cremini and shitake)
2 tbsp olive oil
2 shallots, thinly sliced
2 tbsp butter
1/2 tsp dried thyme
2 tsp low sodium soy sauce (if you have dried porcini you can rehydrate them use the liquid in place of soy sauce)
2 cups shredded fontina
1 cup shredded parmesean
3 cups whole milk
3 tbsp butter
3 tbsp flour
Preheat oven to 350F. Spray a large baking dish (mine was 13x8) with nonstick spray.
In a small bowl, mix ricotta and nutmeg. Set aside.
In a large pan, melt butter over low heat and add shallots. Cover pan and let sit, checking periodically, for about 15-20 minutes. They should be a nice brown, on the verge of caramelizing.
Add all mushrooms and olive oil to shallots. Cover and let sweat a bit to reduce, 5 minutes. Stir mushroom mixture and add soy sauce (or porcini broth) and thyme. Cook for another 5 minutes, occasionally stirring, then remove from heat. Mushrooms should be reduced and browned but sturdy (you want them to hold up in the oven.)
To make bechamel: Heat milk in a small saucepan until warm. Melt butter in a medium saucepan and add flour. Mix quickly until smooth and no lumps. Pour warmed milk into butter mixture and whisk until combined. Keep medium saucepan over medium heat, milk mixture will thicken over 5 to 6 minutes. Stir occasionally to prevent clumping.
Pour a layer of bechamel into baking dish.
Layer four noodles. Top with half of mushroom mixture. Add dots of ricotta. Sprinkle with 1/2 cup fontina and 1/4 cup parm. Top with bechamel and repeat: noodles, mushroom, ricotta, cheeses.
After second layer, top with lat four noodles. Cover with bechamel and remaining cheese.
Cover with foil and bake 45 minutes. Remove foil and set broiler on high, broil for 3 minutes. Serve warm.