Monday, 9 December 2019

Leek & Oyster Mushroom Lasagne

I think I'm on a bit of a lasagne kick. There is a lot of filling in proportion to the pasta which is a good thing on several levels, as far as I am concerned. And oh, look! It's leeks and mushrooms; two of my favourite things. (And pasta. And creamy cheese. I mean. This is a winner.) Admittedly it's also a bit luxurious, but after all, there are a number of holidays coming up, for which this would be very suitable.

8 servings
2 hours - 45 minutes prep time

Leek & Oyster Mushroom Lasagne

Prepare the Vegetables:
3 large leeks
450 grams (1 pound) oyster mushrooms
4 to 6 cloves of garlic
4 tablespoons butter
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons rubbed thyme OR savory

Trim and wash the leeks, and cut in half lengthwise. Cut into slices, rinse, and drain well. Trim the oyster mushrooms - they should need very little; they may be just a little woody around the roots. Peel and mince the garlic.

Put half the butter in a large skillet and heat it over medium heat until melted and bubbling. Add the drained leeks and cook, stirring regularly, until they are softened and reduced in volume but do not let them brown. Add the garlic, mix in and cook for another minute, then transfer to a bowl.

Melt the remaining butter in the skillet and add the mushrooms. They can get a little hotter and  brown a little, to which end stir them regularly but let them sit long enough to brown before turning them. Sprinkle them with the salt and seasoning. When they have softened and browned, but are not thoroughly cooked, add them to the leeks and mix them in.

Make the White Sauce:
3 tablespoons butter
4 tablespoons soft unbleached flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
freshly ground black pepper to taste
3 cups whole milk OR light cream

Melt the butter in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the flour and seasonings and mix them in well. When there is no visible flour and everything is well amalgamated start whisking in the milk, a little at a time. Add more as the sauce thickens. When it is all in and the mixture is smooth and has thickened remove it from the heat.

Assemble & Bake the Lasagne:
650 grams (1 1/2 pounds) ricotta cheese
250 grams (1/2 pound) mozzarella cheese, grated
about 12 lasagne noodles
1 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese

Preheat the oven to 375°F.  Grate the mozzarella and Parmesan cheeses.

Spoon about 1/4 of the white sauce into a  9" x 13" shallow baking (lasagne) pan. Lay 4 lasagne noodles (or in fact, enough to cover the bottom of the pan in a continuous single layer) over it. Spread them with 1/4 of the ricotta cheese then 1/3 of the vegetables. Sprinkle with 1/2 of the grated mozzarella.

Repeat twice with another layer of noodles, white sauce, ricotta, vegetables, and mozzarella in that order. Finish off by spreading the final 1/4 of the white sauce and ricotta cheese over the top of the lasagne. Sprinkle the Parmesan evenly over the top. Cover the lasagne loosely with aluminum foil and bake for 20 minutes at 375°F. Remove the foil and bake for a further 40 to 50 minutes until it is well browned and bubbling. Let it rest for 10 minutes before serving.

Last year at this time I made Leek & Celeriac Soup

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