Dish of the Week: Wild Mushroom Lasagna

Forget red sauce. It's all about the béchamel, baby.
Forget red sauce. It's all about the béchamel, baby.
Photo by iris

From classic comfort foods to regional standouts and desserts, we'll be sharing a new recipe with you each week. Find other dishes of the week here.

This week, we’re sharing an Italian staple with an earthy twist: Wild Mushroom Lasagna.

Lasagne are a variety of flat, wide pasta that are traditionally layered with tomato sauce – usually marinara or a meat ragù, béchamel and Parmigiano-Reggiano. In the late 1800s, Italian immigrants in the U.S. added some of the more typical ingredients you’ll find today, including mozzarella, ricotta and crumbled Italian sausage. When made into a casserole, the dish is referred to as lasagna. Once it's layered and baked, the result is pure decadence, with a molten layer of sauce and cheese bubbling on top.

There are several theories on the origin of the dish, all of which date back to ancient times. One main theory suggests lasagna has origins in the Greek word laganon, which was used to describe the world’s earliest form of pasta made from flat dough cut into strips. Another theory comes from ancient Rome, where a similar dish, called lasana or lasanum (Latin for the word “cooking pot”), was made. Eventually the food took on the name of this dish in which it was made.

Whatever its origins may be, lasagna certainly made its way around town. Today, you’ll find lasagna in the classic Roman style or layered with things like spinach, mushroom, zucchini, squash, chicken, sausage, cream sauce and a variety of cheeses like fontina, Taleggio and Pecorino.

This recipe, from Food & Wine, is ultra-rich thanks to a white sauce, nutty Taleggio and earthy wild mushrooms.

Wild Mushroom Lasagna

Ingredients serves 8-10
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
3 medium shallots, minced
2 pounds wild mushrooms, such as chanterelle, stemmed shiitake and oyster, caps thickly sliced
Salt
Freshly ground white pepper
1/2 cup dry white wine
2 cups plus 2 tablespoons heavy cream
1/4 cup finely chopped flat-leaf parsley
12 ounces fresh lasagna sheets
1 pound Taleggio cheese, rind removed and cheese cut into 1/2-inch cubes

Directions

Preheat the oven to 350° and lightly butter a 9-by-13-inch baking dish.

In a large, deep skillet, melt the 2 tablespoons of butter in the oil. Add the shallots and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Add the mushrooms, season with salt and pepper and cook over high heat, stirring occasionally, until the mushrooms are browned, about 18 minutes. Add the wine and boil until evaporated, about 1 minute. Add 2 cups of the cream and bring to a boil. Simmer over moderate heat until slightly reduced, about 5 minutes. Stir in the parsley and season with salt and pepper.

Meanwhile, in a large pot of boiling salted water, cook the lasagna sheets until barely al dente. Fill a large bowl with ice water. Drain the sheets and immediately transfer them to the ice water to cool. Drain and pat dry.

Arrange one-fourth of the lasagna sheets in the prepared baking dish. Top with one-third of the mushroom mixture and one-fourth of the Taleggio cubes. Repeat this layering twice more, ending with a layer of pasta. Brush with the remaining 2 tablespoons of cream and scatter the remaining Taleggio cubes on top.

Cover the lasagna very loosely with buttered parchment paper and bake in the upper third of the oven for 15 minutes. Remove the parchment paper and bake for about 15 minutes longer, until the top is golden in spots. Cover loosely and let rest for 15 minutes before slicing and serving.


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