TOP 5 FAVORITE BAKED PASTAS: Baked Gnocchi with Pesto, Peas, and Pancetta; Baked Orzo Ratatouille; Al Forno Conghiglie with Five Cheeses; Penne Gratin with Sausage, Fennel, and Mushrooms; Macaroni and Cheese
This mushroom lasagna was invented one Sunday evening before a week when I knew I’d be running around a lot. I wanted to make sure I had something in the fridge to reheat for a quick lunch or dinner when I made pit stops at home. And I have to say, it was a smart move; all week, I was happy to come home to this mushroom lasagna.
It is testament to the simplicity of this dish that while I made it I was also in the process of cooking Chana Bateta with white rice and Spinach Paratha for dinner that night, and Banana-Chocolate Chip Bread for dessert. Even with all that going on, this lasagna came together without a hitch. Part of its simplicity is that I use a garlicky tomato puree–the same tactic we use for these tartlettes–rather than a fully cooked sauce, which saves a step (and a pan) in the process.
From my kitchen, albeit small, to yours,
Cara, THE QUARTER-LIFE COOK
For the mushrooms:
2 teaspoons butter
1 teaspoon olive oil
One 8-10 ounce package sliced white mushrooms
1 teaspoon fresh thyme
1 clove garlic, minced
1/4 teaspoon salt
For the tomatoes:
3 cloves garlic
½ teaspoon salt
2 cups canned tomatoes (you can use whole, diced, or crushed)
1 teaspoon olive oil
For assembling the lasagna
10-12 sheets no-boil lasagna noodles
¾ pound mozzarella (low moisture, aka not fresh), diced
½ bunch parsley, rinsed, leaves removed from the stems
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
salt and freshly ground pepper
First, make the mushrooms: Warm the butter and oil in a large frying pan over medium-high heat. When it starts to bubble, add the mushrooms. Cook, stirring constantly, until the mushrooms look slightly dry and being to smell fragrant, about 4 minutes. Add the salt and the thyme, raise the heat slightly, and cook until the mushrooms have given up their juices and gotten limp. Add the garlic, cook for 1 minute more, then remove from the heat until ready to use.
To make the tomato puree, put the garlic and salt in a mini food processor. Process until the garlic has become a paste. Add the tomatoes and the olive oil, and process until smooth.
To assemble the lasagna, preheat the oven to 375°F. put a large spoonful of tomato puree in the bottom of an 8-inch square baking pan. Fit two lasagna noodles on top of the sauce. Layer with another few spoonfuls of sauce and about one quarter of the mushrooms. Scatter with one fifth of the mozzarella. Sprinkle parsley leaves generously around before topping with another two lasagna noodles. Repeat until you have four complete layers. Add the fifth layer of noodles, spoon on some sauce and the remaining mozzarella. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Cover tightly with foil. Bake for about 45 minutes, until the lasagna is bubbly and the cheese is melted. Remove the foil, sprinkle with the Parmesan, and bake for another 15 minutes. Take the pan out of the oven and let the lasagna rest for 10 minutes before cutting into squares and serving.