January 31, 2012

Mushroom Lasagna

To give my husband credit, he's become a much more adventurous eater since we've been married. But, there are still some things that leave him skeptical, such as traditional meat dishes converted into vegetarian versions. So when I planned to make Mushroom Lasagna, I pitched the idea to him as a mushroom and pasta dish to avoid the preconceived notion of lasagna layered with meat, red sauce and the likes. He was still slightly skeptical as he helped me prepare the lasagna, particularly when the conversation turned to the cheese:

Him: What type of cheese goes into this lasagna?

Me: (In my head, "Oh crap!") A blend of Italian cheeses.

Him: You mean feet cheese, don't you?

Me: (In my head, "I've been caught!") A blend of Italian cheeses.

Him: That's why you are vague. You're avoiding the question.

As I've said before, he believes he has an aversion to Parmesan and other cheeses that smell strongly (like feet to him). He can tolerate them in small amounts, but it's a strike against a recipe if he knows that's the only cheese involved.

Amazingly, he enjoyed this Cooking Light recipe that I modified. He ate his entire portion without complaints, faces or dying afterward. Both our guests for dinner enjoyed it as well. This is one that I will make again, a nice deviation from traditional pasta dishes in our house.

Mushroom Lasagna
1 cup boiling water
1 oz. dried porcini mushrooms
1 Tbsp. butter
1 cup onion, chopped
12 oz. white button mushrooms
1 tsp. salt, divided
1/2 tsp. pepper, divided
1 Tbsp. dried thyme
6 garlic cloves, minced and divided
1 Tbsp. olive oil
1/2 cup white wine
1/3 cup cream cheese
3 cups milk, divided
1/4 cup flour
9 no-boil lasagna noodles
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 350ºF. Combine boiling water with porcini. Let stand 30 minutes, and then strain mushrooms, reserving both mushrooms and liquid.

Melt butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion, and saute 3 minutes or until onions are translucent. Add fresh mushrooms, 1/2 tsp. salt and 1/4 tsp. pepper. Saute until mushrooms are browned. Add thyme and 3 garlic cloves. Saute 1 minute. Stir in white wine, bring to a boil and cook until liquid almost evaporates, stirring to loosen browned bits from pan. Remove from heat, and stir in cream cheese and porcini.

Heat a saucepan over medium-high heat. Add olive oil and remaining garlic. Saute 30 seconds, and then add porcini liquid, 2 3/4 cup milk, 1/2 tsp. salt and 1/4 tsp. pepper. Bring to a boil. Combine remaining 1/4 cup milk with flour. Add to milk mixture, and simmer 2 minutes or until slightly thickened, stirring constantly.

Spoon 1/2 cup sauce into the bottom of a 9 x 13 pan sprayed with non-stick spray. Layer 3 noodles on top. Spread with half the mushroom mixture and then 1/3 of the remaining sauce. Repeat layers, ending with the sauce. Top with cheese. Bake 45 minutes or until golden. Makes 6 servings.

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