Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Mushroom Lasagna with homemade bechamel

Hoping to use this Bechamel for when I try to make the pastitsio. Until then... 2 options:

Mushroom Lasagna

For the Bechamel:
5 tbsp butter
1/4 c all-purpose flour
1 qt milk
2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg (freshly ground if possible)

Melt the butter in a large semi-heavy bottom saucepan over medium heat.
When melted, stir in the flour until smooth. Continue stirring as the flour cooks to a light golden color. (around 7 minutes) Turn up the heat to medium-high and slowly whisk in milk until thickened. Simmer gently, then reduce heat to medium-low and continue simmering until the flour has softened. (around 10 to 20 minutes). Add the salt and nutmeg, mix. Remove from heat and set aside until needed for the lasagna.

For the lasagna:

About 2 1/2 c sliced mixed mushrooms of your choice (fresh and cleaned)
1 c finely chopped onion
2 c fontina cheese, shredded
2 cloves finely minced garlic
1 tsp Mexican oregano
1/4 tsp ground red pepper (if you don't want even the slightest hint of spice, leave it out)
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to preferred taste
1 pkg ready to bake lasagna noodles
3 tbsp parmesan cheese (for topping)

Mix all ingredients together, except for the noodles and parmesan, and then pour into the Bechamel, mix well. (I will now refer to this mixture as the "sauce")
Grease a casserole dish, any kind you prefer, with olive oil, then add some of the sauce, spread well. Alternate layers of noodles and sauce until you've used it all.
Top with parmesan. Cover with foil and bake at 350 for around 30 - 40 minutes or until bubbly and noodles are completely cooked.


Lasagna Rolls with Three Mushrooms, Four Cheeses and Sage Bechamel
A Burghilicious Original

For the filling:
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium onion, minced
3 cloves garlic, minced
8 ounces mixed mushrooms,* stems trimmed
2 large portobella caps, black gills removed
1 teaspoon dried thyme leaves
4 ounces mascarpone
4 ounces goat cheese
1 egg

For the sage bechamel:
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons flour
1 cup heavy cream
1 cup stock or water
2 cups whole milk
Pinch of nutmeg
1 large sprig of fresh sage
3/4 cup asiago, finely grated, divided
3/4 cup pecorino romano, finely grated, divided

For the lasagna:
1 pound curly lasagna, cooked in salty water
2 sprigs sage, chopped

Prepare the filling:
Melt the butter and olive oil in a large, stainless steel skillet over medium heat. Add the onions and cook for three minutes, until onions are soft. Add garlic and cook for one more minute. In a food processor,** finely chop all mushrooms. Add minced mushrooms and thyme to the pan. Cook for 10-15 minutes, until mushrooms are fragrant and cooked through. Season with salt and pepper.

In a large bowl, beat together mascarpone, goat cheese and egg until combined. Add the warm mushroom mixture to the cheese and egg mixture, and stir to combine. Refrigerate until ready to assemble lasagna rolls.

Prepare the sage bechamel:
In a 3-quart saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. Whisk in flour all at once, and continue whisking as the roux cooks for 2-3 minutes, until its color begins to deepen. Whisk the cream, stock and milk into the roux. Add the sage sprig and a few grates of fresh nutmeg, and slowly bring just to a boil over medium heat. Boil gently for 15 minutes, until the sauce has thickened slightly. Turn off the heat but leave the pan on the burner, and pick out the sage sprig and any leaves that have fallen off. Whisk in 1/2 cup each of asiago and pecorino romano until melted. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Assemble the lasagna rolls:
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Spread 2 tablespoons cool mushroom-cheese mixture down the length of one lasagna noodle. Gently roll up the noodle, mushrooms in. Place the roll curly end up in a 9"x9" glass or ceramic casserole dish. Repeat with remaining lasagna noodles. Squish the final rolls into the dish to ensure every roll stands upright. Pour the bechamel over the lasagna rolls. Top with remaining cheeses, chopped sage and whispers of fresh grated nutmeg, salt and pepper.

Bake for 40 minutes on a center rack. Switch the oven to broil, and toast the top of the lasagna rolls for 5 minutes or until all cheese is melted and golden-brown. Remove from oven and let sit 5 minutes before serving. These little guys reheat well, so they're very smart to save for lunch.

*I used a mixture of oysters, shiitakes and creminis, which are immature portobellos.
**You could certainly chop the mushrooms by hand, but you are looking for a very fine mince that will become easily spreadable. The food processor just makes sense, and since you are getting it dirty, you may as well use it for the onion, too.

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