December 30, 2012
Page 59, Ottolenghi
I can’t believe that a year has passed and this is my final recipe from my Year of Plenty adventure! I started this cooking and blogging adventure to remind myself to find and sit in all of the places of great plenty and abundance in my life – particularly at a time that felt difficult. What a transformative experience! How differently this year ends for me than it began. Being mindful of the amazing plenty that I have in my life has helped me to be incredibly grateful. My life is so full of love and joy – thanks to each of you for being a part of this ridiculous abundance. And many thanks to Diana Henry and Yotam Ottolenghi for each having a cookbook called Plenty that sparked this entire year of intentional gratitude through cooking for those that I love….
As I get ready for the end of 2012, my lovely wife, SG, and LB are in the garage – painting, sewing, generally creating amazing beauty and joy to surround us, and I am in the kitchen making a pan of hearty (and RIDICULOUSLY cheesy) mushroom lasagne for us to sit down to eat together in a few hours, and I could not be happier.
We will enjoy this rich lasagne, a salad, bread, and some wine as we prepare for the last day of 2012 and the end of this particular project. Watch for my 2013 version of plenty — a picture a day– to begin soon!
Mushroom Lasagna (Courtesy of Plenty: Vibrant Recipes from London’s Ottolenghi)
1 1/4 oz dried porcini mushrooms
1 3/4 cups lukewarm water
5 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 tablespoon thyme leaves
1 3/4 pounds of mixed fresh mushrooms, sliced if large
2 tablespoons chopped tarragon
4 tablespoons chopped parsley
salt and white pepper (I used black because that’s what I have in the spice rack)
5 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 small shallot, chopped
scant 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
2 1/3 cups milk
13 fl oz ricotta
1 large egg
5 oz feta, crumbled
6 oz Gruyere, grated
1 pound dried spinach lasagna (I used regular lasagna noodles)
5 oz fontina cheese (or mozzarella), grated
1/2 cup grated Parmesan
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Cover the porcini with the lukewarm water and leave to soak for 5 minutes. Drain in a sieve set over a bowl, squeezing the mushrooms to remove all the liquid; reserve the liquid.
- Melt the butter in a large heavy-based saucepan. When foaming, add the thyme, porcini and fresh mushrooms. Cook for 4 minutes, or until the mushrooms have softened and exuded some of their liquid, stirring occasionally. Off the heat, stir in the tarragon, parsley and some salt and pepper. Transfer to a bowl and set aside.
- Use the same pan to make a béchamel. Put the butter and shallot in the pan and cook on medium heat for about a minute. Add the flour and continue cooking, stirring constantly, for 2 minutes; the mix will turn into a paste but shouldn’t color much. Gradually whisk the milk and porcini soaking liquid, leaving any grit in the bowl. Add 1/2 teaspoon salt and continue whisking until boiling. Simmer on low heat, stirring constantly, for about 10 minutes, or until the sauce is thickish. Remove from the heat.
- In a small bowl mix together the ricotta and egg, then fold in 3 tablespoons of béchamel and the feta. Add the Gruyere to the remaining béchamel in the pan and stir well to get your main sauce.
- Pour boiling water over the lasagna noodles (do this a few at a time so they don’t stick together) and soak for 2 minutes; remove and dry them on a tea towel.
- To assemble the lasagna, pour one-fifth of the sauce over the bottom of an ovenproof dish that is about 10×14 inches. Cover with lasagna noodles. Spread one-quarter of the ricotta mix on top, scatter over one-quarter of the mushrooms and sprinkle with one-quarter of the fontina. Make three more layers in the same way, then finish with a layer of pasta covered with sauce.
- Sprinkle the Parmesan on top and cover loosely with foil (don’t lay it directly on the surface of the lasagna). Bake for 40 minutes, or until the sauce is bubbling around the sides. Lift the foil and bake for a further 10 minutes, or until the top turns golden. Remove from the oven and leave to rest for 10 minutes before serving.