Earthy Lasagne
Russell Degnan

Procrastination and a lack of other options saw a little baking tear on the weekend. An attempt at nougat, which may have been acceptable - is it possible to make sugar and honey inedible? - but is probably over-handled and flat; and a lasagne which came out much better than expected, given it was mostly made up of ingredients I needed to use.

I like traditional bolognese and bechamel lasagne, but it can come out very starchy. In the wonderful Snowflakes and Schnapps there is a lasagne recipe with veal and spinach that uses no tomatoes. This is a variation, heavy on mushrooms and earthy flavours. Quantities are pure guesses, but that's par for the course around here.

Meaty Part

1 Large brown onion, chopped
100g Mince - beef, but optionally veal
2 tsps Vegetable stock powder
200g Brown mushrooms, sliced
200g Baby spinach, washed
1 handful fresh sage
White wine

1. In a little oil, fry the brown onion until starting to caramelise
2. Add the mince and vegetable stock, fry until brown, then the mushrooms with a little butter, frying until soft.
3. Add the spinach, sage and enough white wine to de-glaze pan. Cook until spinach wilted and no liquid remains in pan.

Cheesy Part

40g butter
20g flour
200g Button mushrooms, sliced
200ml cream or sour cream (or both)
100g Blue cheese, in chunks
White wine
tsp Ground nutmeg
pinch Ground cayenne

1. Add 20g butter and mushrooms to saucepan, fry, stirring constantly until soft. Add white wine to deglaze pan, allow to evaporate then put aside
2. Add remaining butter and flour, whisking until light brown, then while stirring, pour in cream slowly.
3. Add cooked mushrooms, blue cheese and spices, then cook until thickened, stirring often.

Lasagne Part

100g Gruyere cheese, sliced
Dried lasagne sheets, one box.
Truffle Oil

1. Prepare a lasagne dish with a few small knobs of butter, then the first layer of lasagne, breaking as required to fit
2. Alternate meaty part with a little truffle oil drizzled on, and cheesy parts with layers of lasagne in between, trying to get all the mushrooms from the cheesy part into the middle, and leaving just enough cheese sauce to coat the top sheet.
3. Coat top sheet with remaining cheese and Gruyere cheese, bake for 30min.

If I was completely honest, it is a little oily, even by my very unconcerned standards, you do have to wonder about a thick pool of butter at the bottom of the dish. But the combination of multiple mushrooms and cheeses is such a rich meld of different earthy flavours is well worth it, and in any case, if it stays in the dish or on the plate, you've not eaten it. Variations to reduce the fat content are naturally available. Or you could run it off. I recommend the latter.

Finer Things 10th November, 2013 23:17:21   [#]