Mushroom,spinach and ricotta lasagna
So this morning I am off to begin a 30 day yoga challenge at Moksha Yoga across the street. What am I getting myself into? Can I even hold any of the yoga positions? I am better at hiking, walking, swimming and leisure biking occasionally (not to mention lunching) but my friend suggested we do it and I took her up on it. Granted, it’s good to surprise your body/muscles as they can get used to a particular routine and the benefit diminishes over time. Well, my body/muscles will surprised this morning. We’ll see how it goes.
Same is true for cooking. You have to get out of your comfort zone now and then in order to grow your culinary skills. I am in the mood for a culinary challenge but have to figure out where to go with it. Any suggestions? Perhaps sweet potato gnocchi, haven’t made those in a while and they are so good with brown butter and sage. Does it count as a challenge if I have made them before? Stay tuned.
Since I mostly cook for two these days, I haven’t made a “regular” lasagna in ages. I usually make the individual free form lasagna that are beautiful but there are no leftovers. Today I was in the mood for a more traditional style lasagna and since I had mushrooms and spinach in the fridge, this is what I came up with. I did have to run out for the dairy ingredients, what’s a lasagna without ricotta and mozzarella?
If you make your own lasagna sheets that’s great. I sometimes do as well. Today I used dried lasagna sheets that came in small rectangular shape and I needed 12 (3 per layer plus 3 for the top).
When making the lasagna (or any other recipe for that matter) it’s good to have all of the ingredients ready before you begin (mis en place). It’s also good to complete each component before assembling. I baked the lasagna in a 12X9 Le Creuset dish.
Lasagna sheets to make a 3 layers lasagna
3 tablespoon olive oil
1 small onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
6 cups mixed mushrooms, chopped (white, brown, portobello, shitake)
2 tablespoons fresh thyme leaves
salt and pepper
4 cups fresh spinach leaves,
2 cups ricotta
1 cup grated parmesan
2 cups shredded mozzarella
Bechamel (White sauce):
4 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons flour
2 cups milk
Heat the olive oil in a large skillet, add the onion and cook until translucent.
Add the garlic and cook until fragrant.
Add the mushrooms (you can do this in two batches) and cook until they soften.
Add salt, pepper and thyme as the mushrooms are cooking.
Remove to a bowl and set aside.
Steam the spinach with a few drops of water in a skillet or the microwave just until wilted.
Combine the ricotta with the eggs and grated parmesan.
Make the bechamel:
Melt butter in a saucepan, add flour and whisk for 3-4 minutes over medium-low heat to cook the flour.
Add the milk, a little at a time, whisking constantly.
Cook the sauce until it thickens.
Add salt and pepper and a few drops of tabasco.
Remove from heat and set aside
Cook the lasagna sheets in plenty of boiling salted water until not quite done. They will continue to cook in the sauce while baking in the oven.
Spoon some of the sauce into the bottom of a 12X9 lasagna baking pan.
Place 3 lasagna sheets (or as needed) over the sauce and spoons more sauce over the pasta.
Spoon a third of the mushrooms over the pasta.
Spoon 1/3 of the ricotta over the mushrooms.
Scatter 1/3 of the spinach over the cheese.
Spoon some of the bechamel over and a little of the grated mozzarella.
Repeat to create three layers.
Top the last layer with the remaining pasta sheets.
Finish with the remaining bechamel and scatter remaining mozzarella over.
Bake in 375F oven for 45 minutes or until lightly bubbling and the cheese is golden brown.
Rotate the pan once during the cooking to ensure even browning on top.
Let the lasagna rest and settle for 20 minutes before slicing it into squares or rectangles for serving.