asagne is a warming comfort dish perfect for these soggy Autumn days. But with increasingly more vegetarian recipes out there to be experimented with I couldn’t resist the sound of this combination with a stringy cheese sauce and some soft sheets of pasta. The Italians might have something else too say about this but I think you can make ‘lasagne’ with anything as long as your have plenty of cheese, a white sauce and pasta. Throw in any meat ragu or roasted vegetable combination you like.
- About 9 x sheets fresh lasagne pasta sheets (dried will work also)
- About 300g cavolo nero, chopped (woody stalks removed)
- 500g mixed mushrooms (I used a pack of chestnut and some chanterelles) sliced
- Handful of dried mushrooms
- 2 garlic cloves, chopped
- 1 tbsp chopped fresh sage
- Few sprigs thyme, leaves picked
- 60g butter
- 60g plain flour
- 750ml milk
- 100g grated cheese (I used 50/50 cheddar and gruyere
- Parmesan cheese for grating on top
- Start by making the white sauce. Heat 50g of butter in a saucepan and melt slowly. Next, add in the flour and mix throughly until you have a paste. Cook out this paste for a minute or so.
- Next, add a good splash of milk and use a whisk to mix throughly. It will start to thicken fast so whisk fast and constantly. Add more milk and repeat until you’ve added all the milk and the sauce is smooth. Season well with plenty of freshly cracked pepper. Simmer on a medium heat for about 5-8 minutes until the side thickens and its smooth. Taste and season if needed.
- Add all but a handful of the grated cheese, mix and remove from the heat. Add the chopped cavolo nero and stir. Put a lid on top and set aside. The heat should wilt the greens, ready for the lasagne.
- Soak the dried mushrooms in water (enough to cover) and leave for 20 minutes.
- Heat a frying pan on a medium heat and add the remaining 10g of butter and a dash of sunflower/olive oil (Never cook with Extra virgin – it should not be heated). Add the chestnut mushrooms and cook for about 10 minutes until they are beginning to brown and the water they release has been evaporated. Season well. Add the chanterelles, chopped garlic and sage for the final few minutes. Remove from the heat.
- Preheat the oven to 180.
- Drain the soaked mushrooms, keeping the liquid, and chop roughly. Add to the pan of cooked mushrooms.
- Get yourself a rectangular lasagne dish, about 28x22cm approx.
- Spoon a small amount of white sauce on the bottom of the dish. Cover with 2-3 lasagne sheets, depending on your dish size. You don’t want any overlapping so cut them up to fit if needed.
- Spoon over 1/3 of the white sauce with the cavil nero followed by half of the mushroom mixture and spread evenly.
- Top with another layer of lasagne sheets and repeat the process adding 1/3 white sauce and the other half of the mushrooms. Top with the final layer of lasagne sheets (3 laters in total).
- You should be left with 1/3 of the white sauce. Spoon this over the top of the pasta, making sure to moisten all the sheets so they don’t dry out in cooking.
- Finally, scatter over the handful of cheese you reserved and grate a generous coating of parmesan over the whole thing. I don’t hold back with the parmesan. It creates a beautful golden crust and tastes amazing.
- Bake for about 30-40 minutes until golden on top and the white sauce is bubbling underneath.]
SERVE: with a crisp little gem, chicory and rocket salad coated in a smooth Dijon mustard dressing.