This is the mushroom lasagna I make when no one is looking. The one where I take a few traditional cuts, add a few personal touches, and, quite frankly, never look back. Sometimes I use a long pan and use homemade pasta for the layers, other times it’s all about keeping the process quick – store-bought lasagna sheets, etc ragu it is from the freezer. Both versions are shown here.
Be warned, this lasagna is big boy, filling a 13×9 pan with layers of a vibrant, hearty, and creamy mushroom ragu. There are generous dollops of ricotta and silky strips of pasta. For as long as I can remember, I’ve rubbed fragrant lemon zest on the bottom of every lasagna, and that’s a specialty here too.
There are different types of mushroom lasagna. Some are white lasagna, with no tomatoes at all. They rely on creamy béchamel (butter, milk, flour) to give the lasagna some of the desired binding and creaminess. That’s not my version. I generously layer a creamy tomato-based mushroom on top ragu as the main sauce. It’s so rich that I omit the béchamel component found in many lasagna. Lemon zest brings out all the flavors, and depending on how ambitious you are, you can use store-bought sheets of lasagna or make them from homemade pasta.
Fast version vs. slow version
Lasagna is always made with love. These can be day-long affairs, but with a little planning, this can happen fairly quickly. I used mushrooms for the lasagna pictured above ragu thawed out of the freezer with store-bought pasta. Had the whole thing in the oven 30 minutes after going into the kitchen. The other lasagna picture, not so much. i did this ragu I rolled out homemade pasta sheets that same day, and when I say it was an all-day situation, I’m not exaggerating. Either way, a lasagna is never worth the trouble.
Mushroom Lasagna: The Ingredients
The list here is short, so you’ll want to make sure each component is correct, flavorful, and tastes good.
- Mushroom Ragù: There is only one sauce in this lasagna recipe and that is this Mushroom Ragù. It’s a hearty wonderful, slow cooked Tomato and mushroom sauce with finely chopped mushrooms, tomatoes and spices. Keep it in your freezer. Use half for pasta and half for this lasagna.
- Pasta: The choice is yours and both are fantastic! You can use homemade pasta or store-bought lasagne sheets.
- Cheese: The main cheese in this lasagna is ricotta. Parmesan is used more as a finishing cheese.
- Lemon Zest: Don’t skip it. It’s the secret wink of kindness.
- Basil: Use when basil is in season—always fresh basil. But don’t let the lack of basil put you off making this.
Call the mushrooms
All the mushrooms in this lasagna are added to the dish ragu. They are well chopped. However, if you want a mushroom lasagna with more pronounced mushrooms, the choice is yours! De-stalk 1 pound of mushrooms and cut into 1/4-inch slices. Fry in a hot pan with a few tablespoons of olive oil and a pinch of salt until golden brown. Alternatively, you can roast them after tossing them with olive oil in the preheated oven. Add these mushrooms to your lasagna layers.
Mushroom Lasagna: The Process
Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to make this lasagna. First you need to coat your baking dish with butter or oil and then sprinkle with some citrus zest. You see orange here, but I usually use lemon. Or a mix.
In the next step, the lasagne sheets are pre-cooked in boiling salted water. You dip them in a large bowl with ice water and some olive oil. Then place on a baking sheet. See below.
From there, build up the lasagne in layers, starting with a thin layer of ragù. Next, a layer of pasta, more mushroom stew, and then a few dollops of ricotta.
Repeat the process until you run out of ingredients. Make sure to add a decent amount of sauce to finish. Top with ricotta, some basil and even more lemon zest if you like, or keep it simple with some sauce and a finishing layer of parmesan. The lasagna below was made with homemade pasta and parmesan to finish. Bake until golden brown and nice.
Once your lasagna is done baking, let it rest for a few minutes before slicing.
The house rule for this mushroom lasagna is eat half, freeze half. It’s great to reheat and is an easy weeknight meal along with a quick salad or vegetable side. To freeze the lasagna, first let it cool completely. Cut into desired pieces and freeze. Store each slice in a separate container or freezer bag. This makes the work easier and the discs do not freeze together. Store frozen for up to three months.
Warm up the lasagna
Arrange the frozen lasagne slices at least an inch apart on a parchment-lined baking sheet. If you remember, let it thaw a bit beforehand. If you forget it, that’s not a problem because defrosting it will only allow you to reheat it faster. Preheat the oven to 400°F, cover the baking sheet with foil and bake for 30 minutes or until the lasagna is quite hot. You may need to slice it to make sure the center is hot.
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