Posted by: Anja | June 19, 2011

Mushroom Lasagna

When I cook, I rarely use meat mostly because I don’t think it makes sense to buy meat when I cook for myself as it always comes in huge amounts and I’d have to either eat a lot or throw away half of it. That’s why most of my meat dishes are actually dishes that I make for my friends like lasagna bolognese. This classic kind of lasagna was actually one of the first dishes I learned to cook from scratch and it’s something I can cook in my sleep by now. It’s fun, but this time I wanted to try a vegetarian variation of lasagna: mushroom lasagne.

It’s even simpler than lasagna bolognese because really the only thing you have to do differently is to replace the bolognese sauce with sauteed mushrooms, which is just so much easier! This recipe makes enough to fill a medium-sized casserole for about four people.

Mushroom Lasagna
idea adapted from Smitten Kitchen

700g mushrooms, for example cremini or button mushrooms
1 clove of garlic
4 + 7 tablespoons of butter (about 60g + 105g)
4 tablespoons of olive oil
50g flour
700ml milk
black pepper
salt
a pinch of nutmeg
1 package of lasagna plates
200g parmesan

First step: Mince the garlic clove, set aside. Grate the parmesan and set aside. Cut the mushrooms into slices. If you don’t think that your pan is large enough to handle all of the mushrooms at the same time (mine wasn’t) repeat the following with 2 tablespoons respectively: Melt 4 tablespoons of butter and olive oil in a large skillet. Add the mushrooms and sautée them until they are tender and shrunk in size. Three minutes into the process, add the garlic. If you’re doing multiple iterations, just add them to one portion of the mushrooms and then collect them in the same bowl afterwards, stirring shortly to spread the garlic.

Second step: For the bechamel sauce, melt the remaining butter in a small pot over medium. Once it starts to bubble and is completely melted, add the flour and whisk to combine everything. Let simmer for one to two minutes and then add the milk slowly while stirring constantly to resolve any lumps. If necessary, turn up the heat to get the sauce simmering again and let it simmer for about five minutes. You can do this at the same time as you sautée the mushrooms. Season the sauce with more pepper than salt and a pinch of nutmeg to taste.

Third step: Preheat the oven to 200°C (400°F). Ladle enough bechamel sauce into a medium-sized casserole so that it covers the whole bottom when spread a little bit. Now add lasagna plates so that they cover the bottom of the casserole as well. Don’t let them overlap too much but also take care that there are no open spots. From now on except for the last layer, repeat the following: Spread bechamel sauce on top of the plates to cover them completely. It is necessary that they are completely covered because the sauce cooks the plates. Add a layer of mushrooms so that the mushrooms don’t heap but lie side by side. Spread some parmesan on top of the mushrooms and then use the plates again to start a new layer.

Fourth step: When you are out of mushrooms and have just set the last layer of plates, spoon again bechamel on top but add parmesan now directly on top. Use all the parmesan that you have left, it should slightly heap and cover all of the plates. Put the lasagna into the oven for 20 to 30 minutes depending on your oven. Check from time to time, it should be a golden brown on top when it’s done. Turn off the oven but leave the lasagna inside for another 10 to 15 minutes. Enjoy!

I know that especially the last part of waiting for it to be finished is hard, but trust me, you want it cooked through and this is the best way to let it set! :)
I think this recipe is a good alternative when you are in the mood to make lasagna for the classic version. Maybe I’ll experiment a little bit more with it for example by adding onions or some other vegetables, but it is definitely a good basic recipe for vegetarian lasagna because all the proportions (cheese, bechamel) match up. :)

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