RECIPE

Spinach and Mushroom Lasagna

Herb-enhanced mushroom sauce complements the rich spinach filling in this luscious lasagna.

Ingredients

For the mushroom sauce:

  • 1 small pouch dried porcini mushrooms (a handful)
  • 2 cups chicken stock or water (use water for vegetarian preparation)
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil (EVOO)
  • 1/4 pound pancetta, diced (omit for vegetarian preparation)
  • 6 portabella mushroom caps, finely chopped
  • 1 carrot, finely chopped
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 2 stems rosemary, finely chopped
  • A few sprigs thyme, finely chopped
  • 1 bay leaf
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1/4 cup tomato paste
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • 1 1/2 cups whole milk

For the spinach filling:

  • 2 packages organic chopped frozen spinach, defrosted, wrung out and separated (10 ounces each)
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1 cup grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese, divided
  • 2 containers fresh ricotta cheese (14-16 ounces each)
  • Salt and pepper
  • Freshly grated nutmeg (about 1/2 teaspoon)
  • 3 extra-large eggs, beaten

For the béchamel:

  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 1 1/2 cups milk
  • Salt and pepper
  • Freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1 box Barilla no-bake lasagna sheets, soaked in water for 5 minutes, then removed to a clean towel (this makes the lasagna more moist)

Preparation

In a small pot, bring the dried mushrooms and stock to boil, then reduce the heat to a low simmer to reconstitute. Remove the mushrooms with a slotted spoon, chop and reserve.


Meanwhile, in Dutch oven or heavy pot, heat the EVOO, four turns of the pan, over medium-high heat. Add the pancetta and cook until lightly browned. Add the fresh mushrooms and cook until deeply browned, 12-15 minutes. Add the carrot, onion, garlic and herbs and season with salt and pepper. Cook to soften the carrot and onion, 8-10 minutes more, then add the tomato paste and stir until fragrant. Add the wine and deglaze the pot; add the chopped porcinis and their stock – leaving behind the last few tablespoons of liquid where grit may have settled. Stir in the milk and bring the sauce to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer to thicken, 45 minutes to an hour.


For the filling, combine the spinach in a bowl with the milk to loosen it up. Stir in half the Parmigiano Reggiano cheese and all of the ricotta and season with salt, pepper and nutmeg. Add in beaten eggs and stir to combine.


For the béchamel, heat a small saucepot over medium heat with the butter. Whisk in the flour, then the milk. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to simmer. Season with salt, pepper and nutmeg and thicken for a few minutes until the sauce coats a spoon.

Pre-heat the oven to 400°F.

In a baking dish, add a third of the mushroom sauce, top with three sheets of pasta and layer in half of the spinach filling. Top the spinach with another third of the mushroom sauce, then cover that with three more sheets of pasta. Repeat with remaining half of the spinach and the last of mushroom sauce amd top with three more sheets of pasta. Cover the top layer of pasta with béchamel sauce in an even layer and sprinkle with the remaining 1/2 cup Parmigiano Reggiano cheese. Cover with parchment, then foil and bake for 45 minutes. Remove the foil and bake to golden, 10-15 minutes more. Let stand up to 30 minutes before cutting.

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