Tuesday, June 7, 2011

A big win on Meatless Monday

Wow! Last night I made a mushroom spinach lasagna that was out of this world! Of course Gabi turned up her nose at it, but Papi and little Buddy ate it right up and asked for more. I was pleasantly surprised at the way it turned out; I had a vague idea of what I wanted, but once I started cooking and throwing things together that strange alchemy occurred that transforms a mess into magic.

Follow me below the fold for the recipe . . .

Before I get into the what (ingredients) and how (directions) let me just say that all measurements are estimates until I make this again and I can keep better notes!

Mushroom Spinach Lasagna
1 box no-cook lasagna noodles (I think I'll try pre-cooked noodles next time)
1.5 lbs mushrooms, sliced (I used crimini mushrooms, but any type would work)
2 zucchini, sliced
Parmesan cheese, grated
2 cups white sauce
2 cups spinach sauce
olive oil for sauteing veggies

For the spinach sauce
1 bag baby spinach
2 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon whole milk
salt & pepper to taste

For the white sauce
3 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons flour
1 1/2 cups whole milk
salt & pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Start by preparing the spinach sauce (this makes a great dip for baguette or bread sticks, or to serve as a side dish as creamed spinach) by sauteing the baby spinach in the butter until its wilted. Season with salt and pepper, transfer to a blender along with any liquid in the pan, add the milk, and blend until smooth. You can adjust the amount of milk depending on how much liquid the spinach released during cooking. This shouldn't make a thick dip, more like a thick sauce.

Next prepare the white sauce by melting butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Next stir in the flour and cook it (stirring constantly) until it begins to brown slightly and the raw flour aroma is gone. Turn the heat down to low and slowly pour in the milk as you whisk the roux (butter/flour mixture). Add enough milk so that the sauce is slightly runny - it will stiffen up as it cools.

Saute the mushrooms in olive oil over medium high heat until they are browned and softened. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Saute the zucchini (in a separate pan) over high heat until browned, and season with salt and pepper.

To assemble the lasagna, start with white sauce on the bottom of the baking dish. Next add a layer of lasagna noodles, followed by some more white sauce and  1/3 of the spinach sauce. Spread the two sauces over the noodles, then add 1/3 of the mushrooms, 1/3 of the zucchini, and a sprinkle of Parmesan cheese. Next repeat that layer two more times (noodles, sauces, veggies, cheese) and finish with a final layer of white sauce and sprinkle of Parmesan.

Cover the pan with aluminum foil and cook it in the oven for 1 hour - removing the foil in the last 5 minutes of cooking so that the top can brown.


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