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5.6.15 Spinach and Mushroom Lasagne

5.6.15 Spinach and Mushroom Lasagne

I first learned how to make lasagne when I was about 13 or 14 years old. My Italian Grandma makes the best lasagne of all time, and I had asked her to share her recipe. Of course, I’m sure she left out some little detail, because although I can make a mean lasagne, it still never tastes quite as good as hers. That’s how it goes I suppose.

The only way I can compete with Grandma’s lasagne is to make a totally different version all together. You can’t compare apples to oranges, and therefore, you can’t compare my Grandma’s traditional red sauce lasagne to this ultra cheesy vegetarian version. This way, we both win.

This spinach and mushroom variety is the result of buying far too much of both of these ingredients at last weekend’s farmer’s market. Since spinach and mushrooms just happen to be two of Forrest’s least favorite foods, I was kindof in a bind as to how we were going to consume it all. Solution? Layer said vegetables with loads of pasta, grated mozzerella, and a creamy parmesan bechamel sauce. Apparently, even Forrest’s most loathed vegetables become tolerable to him if you add enough cheese. This is good to know. I might be on to something here...

Spinach and Mushroom Lasagne

serves about 6

  • 8-10 large lasagne noodles
  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • ½ large onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 tsp balsamic vinegar
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ½ tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • ¼ tsp crushed red pepper
  • ½ pound cremini mushrooms, cleaned and sliced
  • 6-8 oz spinach, cleaned and roughly chopped
  • 2 Tbsp butter
  • 3 Tbsp flour
  • ½ cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese

1. Cook lasagne noodles in a large pot of boiling water until just done. Drain, rinse, and set aside.

2. Put the milk and garlic cloves in a small pan and heat over medium heat until just boiling. Remove from heat and allow garlic to steep in the milk while you cook the vegetables.

3. Heat the olive oil in a large pan over medium heat, and once hot, add the onion and cook, stirring often, until onions start to caramelize and brown, about 10 minutes.

4. Add the balsamic vinegar, salt, pepper, and crushed red pepper, and continue to cook, stirring, for an additional 5 minutes. Add the mushrooms, and cook until mushrooms are browned and softened, about 5 minutes longer. Add the spinach and cook until spinach is just wilted. Season to taste with additional salt if needed. Remove from heat and set aside.

5. Heat butter in a saucepan over medium heat until melted. Add the flour and whisk together until a paste is formed. Remove the garlic cloves from the warm milk, then add milk to the flour-butter mixture, whisking constantly. Bring sauce to a boil, then reduce heat to low and continue whisking until mixture thickens. Stir in the parmesan cheese until melted and combined with the sauce. Season to taste with additional salt if needed.

6. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

7. Pour a couple of tablespoons of the sauce into the bottom of a 9 x 9 baking dish. Use a spoon to spread it evenly along the bottom of the pan (this prevents your noodles from sticking to the bottom. Use about ⅓ of the lasagne noodles to completely cover the bottom of the pan (with a 9 x 9 pan, it’s easiest to rip them in half). Top noodles evenly with ½ of the spinach mushroom mixture, ⅓ of the remaining sauce, and ⅓ cup grated mozzarella cheese. Repeat layers one more time. Top lasagne with a layer of the remaining noodles, the remaining sauce and the remaining ⅓ cup mozzarella.

8. Bake lasagne at 350 until top is golden brown and edges are crispy, about 30 minutes. Cool slightly before slicing and serving.

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