Mushrooms are by far one of my favorite vegetables. Sadly, my husband hates them… so I had to wait till he was away training to sneak this dish into my kitchen hehe mushroom lasagna!! Amazing… I ate the entire tray all by myself in the matter of 6 days. It was SO good. Plus, it’s a Cook’s Illustrated mushroom lasagna recipe so you know that it is going to be good because it has their name on it : )
Unfortunately I wasn’t able to take any step-by-step photos of the recipe because I had to make it in the evening… so I’ll just have to give you the synopsis.
This mushroom lasagna packs a powerful mushroom punch with THREE different types of mushrooms- porcini’s, portabello’s, and button’s. The porcini’s are dry so their flavor is concentrated and the portabello’s are roasted so that they too will be concentrated.
I won’t lie though, all the amazing flavor components do make this dish more on the labor intensive side. And afterwards you’ll regret not having hired a dishwasher… but! It was so worth the work.
I ran into 2 problems with this recipe. I could not find vermouth here in Germany to save my life. They didn’t have it on base and I couldn’t find it at the German store… so I just went with a classic dry white wine. Worked fine. I think dry sherry would be a suitable substitute too. And I was unable to come across fontina too. I went with an emmentaler because they use that a lot over here, and it was great. I also think whole milk mozzarella or gruyere would be wonderful too. So your options definitely aren’t limited if you run into trouble.
- ½ ounce dried porcini mushrooms, rinsed well
- 1 cup of water
- 2 pounds portobello mushroom caps (about 10 medium), cleaned and cut into 2- to 3-inch by ¼-inch slices
- 4 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 large red onions, chopped medium (about 4 cups)
- 8 ounces button mushrooms, cleaned, stems trimmed, and broken into rough pieces
- 4 medium cloves garlic, minced or pressed through garlic press (about 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon)
- ½ cup dry vermouth
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter , plus additional for greasing pan
- 3 tablespoons unbleached all-purpose flour
- 3½ cups milk (see note above)
- ¼ teaspoon nutmeg
- ¼ cup minced fresh parsley leaves
- ¼ cup minced fresh basil leaves plus an additional 2 tablespoons
- 8 ounces Italian fontina cheese , rind removed and shredded (about 2¼ cups)
- 1½ ounces grated Parmesan cheese (about ¾ cup)
- 12 no-boil lasagna noodles
- ½ teaspoon grated lemon zest from 1 lemon
Cover porcinis with water in small microwave-safe bowl; cover with plastic wrap, cut several steam vents in plastic with paring knife, and microwave on high power for 30 seconds. Let stand until mushrooms soften, about 5 minutes. Lift mushrooms from liquid with fork and roughly chop (you should have about 3 tablespoons). Strain liquid through fine-mesh strainer lined with paper towel into medium bowl. Set mushrooms and liquid aside.
Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 425 degrees. Spread portobello mushrooms in even layer on rimmed baking sheet and drizzle with 2 tablespoons oil, tossing to coat mushrooms evenly; sprinkle with ½ teaspoon salt and ½ teaspoon pepper and toss again. Roast mushrooms until shriveled and all liquid released from mushrooms has evaporated, about 30 minutes, stirring halfway through cooking time. Set mushrooms aside to cool.
While portobellos roast, heat 1 tablespoon oil in 12-inch nonstick skillet over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add onions, ¼ teaspoon salt, and ¼ teaspoon pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, until onions are browned around edges, about 10 minutes. Transfer onions to large bowl and set aside.
Meanwhile, process button mushrooms in food processor until uniformly coarsely chopped, about six 1-second pulses, stopping to scrape down bowl as needed. Heat remaining 1 tablespoon oil in now-empty skillet over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add chopped button mushrooms and cook, stirring occasionally, until browned and all moisture has evaporated, 6 to 8 minutes.
Reduce heat to medium and stir in porcini mushrooms, 1 tablespoon garlic, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1 teaspoon pepper. Cook, stirring frequently, until garlic is fragrant, about 1 minute. Add vermouth and cook, stirring occasionally, until liquid has evaporated, 2 to 3 minutes.
Add butter and cook until melted. Add flour and cook, stirring constantly, about 1 minute. Slowly add reserved porcini soaking liquid, scraping pan bottom to loosen browned bits. Add milk and nutmeg. Increase heat to medium-high and bring mixture to boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer until sauce has thickened and reached consistency of heavy cream, 10 to 15 minutes (you should have about 4 cups). Remove from heat and stir in 2 tablespoons parsley and ¼ cup basil.
Combine fontina and Parmesan in medium bowl. Toss cooled portobello mushrooms with onions in large bowl. Place noodles in 13 by 9-inch ovensafe baking dish and cover with hot tap water; let soak 5 minutes, agitating noodles occasionally to prevent sticking. Remove noodles from water and place in single layer on kitchen towel. Wipe baking dish dry and coat with butter.
Using rubber spatula, evenly distribute 1 cup mushroom sauce in bottom of baking dish; position 3 noodles on top of sauce. Spread ¾ cup sauce evenly over noodles followed by 2 cups mushroom-onion mixture and ¾ cup cheese. Repeat layering of noodles, sauce, mushroom-onion mixture, and cheese two more times. Place 3 remaining noodles on top of last layer of cheese. Spread remaining sauce over noodles and sprinkle with remaining cheese. Lightly spray large sheet of foil with nonstick cooking spray and cover lasagna. Bake until bubbling, about 20 minutes.
While lasagna is baking, combine remaining 2 tablespoons parsley, 2 tablespoons basil, and 1 teaspoon garlic with zest in small bowl. Increase oven temperature to 500 degrees, remove foil from lasagna, and continue to bake until cheese on top becomes spotty brown, 6 to 8 minutes. Remove lasagna from oven and immediately sprinkle evenly with herb mixture. Cool 15 minutes, then cut into pieces and serve.
If fontina is unavailable, use whole milk mozzarella, or even a gruyere- hand grated, not pre-packaged (dusted with cornstarch). If vermouth is unavailable use a dry white wine or dry sherry.