After both taking and making suggestions for improvement about the lasagna I made here, I decided to take advantage of the last few weeks of outdoor Farmers’ Markets and take a second stab. I believe I have now created the ultimate: Wild Mushroom and Spinach Lasagna with Arugula Pesto and Sundried Tomato Cream Sauce. Since I have had several requests, I am willing to share the recipe with y’all. Here goes, and keep in mind that most of my measurements are approximations.
Preheat oven to 350F and make sure you have a 9×9 square glass baking dish.
1/2 lb (?) mixed wild mushrooms (I used reconstituted dried shiitakes and golden chanterelles from the Saturday Market)
1-2 bags baby spinach leaves
2 bunches arugula
(your own mix for pesto, or my cheat: 3-4 TB premade pesto, to blend with arugula)
4 TB butter
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1/4 cup flour
2 cups milk or cream (or a mixture)
Splash of white wine (if desired)
salt and pepper
2-4 TB sundried tomatoes, finely chopped
1 16oz. container ricotta cheese
1/2 cup grated mozzarella cheese
1/4-1/2 cup grated Parmesan
no boil lasagna noodles
1. Roughly chop the mushrooms and fry them in a medium saucepan in olive oil or butter to your liking. Don’t rush them. Keep them on about medium heat and wait, patiently or impatiently, until they have sucked up all the butter, expelled their own liquids, and then regained those liquids to become browned but still tender.
2. Add the spinach and cook just until it has wilted but still retains its bright green color, then set the mushroom and spinach mixture aside.
3. Meanwhile, whir together arugula, premade pesto, and a little extra olive oil in a blender or food processor (or just make your own arugula pesto).
4. In a medium saucepan, melt butter. Add garlic and cook just until fragrant. Add flour and combine well to make a roux. When flour is well incorporated and has cooked for a minute or two, add milk or cream slowly, stirring or whisking well until clumps are incorporated. Season with salt, pepper and white wine to taste. A little grating of fresh nutmeg might also not be amiss. Add sundried tomatoes and stir gently until thickened to your liking.
5. Combine all three cheeses
6. Assembly: spread a layer of sauce in the bottom of your pan and add a layer of no-boil lasagna noodles. Then, add layers in your preferred order. I stacked cheese, arugula pesto, mushroom and spinach mixture, then sauce in that order before adding another layer of noodles and repeating the process. Repeat until you run out of filling ingredients (should be about half a box of noodles, if you are using Barilla and a square pan). After adding the final layer of pasta, top with any remaining sauce, cheese, and/or pesto, and then add a generous layer of grated Parmesan. (If you don’t have sauce to add to the top, the final layer of noodles will not soften as nicely as they should. I discovered this as I made my first cut.)
7. Bake for 45 minutes or until the cheese on top is browned and looks a little crunchy, and the fillings are bubbling up on the sides. If possible, wait for five minutes before cutting in, because the slices will hold together better this way.
Enjoy. Gorge. Disintegrate. Burn your mouth on the cheese and decide you don’t care, eat chilled slices you cut out of hand straight from the fridge at midnight, or have your neighbors over and just decimate the whole thing in one sitting, for I declare this the ultimate spinach and mushroom lasagna.