Friday, November 12, 2010

Mushroom Lasagna (aka a Way to Decimate a Clean Kitchen)

Mushroom Lasagna

When I was shopping for the ingredients for this lasagna, I felt fancy. I went to the market (not the run of the mill Safeway either, mind you), meandered through the aisles with my quaint shopping basket, and browsed the produce section.

I bought portobello mushrooms for the first time in my life. So exciting. I loved seeing all of the exotic types of mushrooms, and sorely resisted the urge to buy some shiitakes (comeon, you know it's fun to say "Shiiiiiit...ake).

While I hadn't intended on buying spinach lasagna noodles, the market was out of the regular kind, so I said to myself, "Hey, why not?" And it turned out to be one of the best substitutions I've ever made, because the the green pigment made the lasagna look beautiful. It was an appearance that was almost equal to its taste, but let me tell you the taste by FAR surpassed any beauty that the green noodles provided.

I'm pretty confident that I used every single dish in my apartment to create this masterpiece, and if you saw a picture of the state of my kitchen after this thing went in the oven, you'd think you were looking at a scene from a horror movie.

But it was worth it. Ohhhh was it worth it. The portobellos had so much flavor, and the combination of earthy mushrooms with a creamy bechamel sauce and slightly spinachy noodles made for the best dinner I've ever eaten outside of a restaurant.

(Also, for a new blog feature! At the end of every post I'll let you know what music I'm listening to while I blog. It's my favorite time to listen to music, and I think it'd be interesting to track my song obsessions through this site.)

Current Song Obsession: YourBiggestFan by Nevershoutnever!

Mushroom Lasagna Recipe:
Adapted from Smitten Kitchen 

Olive oil
3/4 pound dried spinach lasagna noodles
1 large clove garlic, minced
4 cups whole milk
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, divided
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg 
1 1/2 pounds portobello mushrooms
1 cup freshly grated parmesan

1. Preheat oven to 375F. Bring water to boil in a large, wide pot with a little salt and oil for your lasagna noodles. (You can use this pot to saute your mushrooms later.) Once boiling, add noodles and boil for 10 minutes. Drain and set aside.
2. For bechamel sauce: In a saucepan, bring milk and garlic to a simmer. In a separate saucepan, melt 1/2 cup butter and add flour. Cook 1 minute over low heat, whisking constantly. In small amounts, begin adding the milk mixture to the butter/flour mixture., stirring until combined. Continue to do this until all of the milk is incorporated. Add 1 1/2 teaspoons salt, the pepper, and the nutmeg. Cook over a medium-low heat, stirring often, until thick (about 3-5 minutes). Set aside.
3. For the shrooms: Lightly wash mushrooms and discard the stems. Slice mushrooms 1/4 inch thick. On medium heat in the same pan you used for the noodles, heat 2 tablespoons olive oil and 2 tablespoons butter. Add 1/2 of the mushrooms with a pinch of salt and cook for 5 minutes, until tender and release some of their liquid. Repeat with the other half.
4. Lasagna Assembly: In a 8 x 12 pan, spread some of the sauce. Add a layer of noodles. Then 1/4 of remaining sauce. Then 1/3 of mushrooms. Then 1/4 cup grated parmesan. Repeat two times, finishing with a final layer of noodles, sauce, and remaining parmesan.
5. Bake for 45 minutes, until top is browned and bubbly. Let sit 15 minutes. Consume epically delicious food.

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