Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Lasagne with Artichokes and Mushrooms

As I promised on my last post, here is the recipe for the lasagne with artichokes and mushrooms that I cooked on Saturday, for a potluck dinner.
This is the perfect vegetarian dish to prepare for guests. It's an easy recipe to follow, but surely it's not as quick as most of my other dinner preparations.  Well worth the effort, though!! You will definitely impress your guests with this tasty and sophisticated Italian dish.
Please note, you can prepare the lasagne in advance, up to the day before and store it in the refrigerator (before or after baking). Just bake or reheat in the oven before dinner time.
And lasagna leftovers are my favorite!

Ingredients for a 13.5 x 9 inches baking pan, serving 9 to 12:        Printable recipe

  • 18 oz of frozen artichoke hearts (I like the one at Trader Joe's , 1 and 1/2 packages)
  • 20 oz sliced mushrooms (I used the pre-cleaned crimini mushrooms from Trader Joe's - 2 packages)
  • one onion, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 2 tablespoons of fresh Italian parsley, chopped
  • 8 oz fontina cheese (or other mild cheese)
  • 8 oz fresh mozzarella cheese
  • about 2 oz of Parmesan cheese
  • 9 oz oven-ready lasagne (about one package). I like the Barilla lasagne. Please make sure you have an extra package just in case. To finish my lasagna I ended up needing two extra sheets of pasta!
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • salt
For the Besciamella Sauce:

  • 5 cups of milk
  • 1/2 stick of butter
  • 1 cup of all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon of grated nutmeg
  • about 3/4 of a tablespoon of salt

Preparation time: About 1 and a half hours.

Step 1: Saute' the chopped onion in a couple of tablespoons of olive oil, over medium heat for about 5 minutes.

Step 2: Rinse the artichokes under running water for a minute in a colander. Slice them in smaller pieces. Add to the skillet with the onions. Season with salt, and cook for about 10 minutes.

Step 3: While the artichokes cook, let start working on the mushrooms. Wash the mushrooms and slice in smaller pieces. I know these were pre-washed, but I feel better if I wash them myself!

Step 4: In a medium size saucepan, saute' the crushed  garlic with a couple of tablespoons of olive oil. Add the mushrooms, season with salt and pepper if you like.

Step 5: Cook the mushrooms for about 5 minutes, add  the chopped parsley, and cook for another 5 minutes or so. Remove the garlic at the end. Don't forget to check on the artichokes!

Step 6: Pre-heat the oven to 375 degrees. Prepare the besciamella sauce following this recipe.

Step 7: Cut the cheeses in small cubes or pieces.

Step 8: When all the ingredients (artichokes, mushrooms and besciamella) are ready, you can start assembling everything together:

My baking dish is 13.5x9 inches (inside measurements!).
Pour a couple of tablespoons of besciamella at the bottom and spread, so that the pasta will not stick to the bottom.
Top with sheets of lasagne to cover it all. As you can see from the picture, you can simply break the sheets with your hands to make it fit. 
Top with about 1/4 of the artichokes and 1/4 or the mushrooms.
Top with maybe 1/5 of the besciamella. I'm not saying  1/4 only because you need a little extra besciamella for the top layer.
Top with 1/4 of the fontina and mozzarella cheese.
Cover with sheets of lasagne. And repeat all the layers three more times.
The last layer should have lots of besciamella to cover everything. Sprinkle the Parmesan cheese on top of everything.
Step 9: Cover with foil and place in oven for about 25 minutes. Uncover and bake for another 5 minutes to lightly brown the cheese on top. 
Let rest for 5-10 minutes before cutting and serving.
Buon Appetito!

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