Tempting layers of sautéed wild mushrooms, thin slices of Italian prosciutto, and wide ribbons of pasta smothered with a béchamel sauce beckon you. Can you resist? From the cookbook Good Friends, Great Dinners by Susan Costner comes this flavor-packed lasagne recipe. Although it does contain Italian tomatoes, prosciutto, and grated Parmesan cheese, it’s a refreshing change from the run-of-the-mill tomato sauce, beef, and ricotta cheese lasagne we so often have. Invite some friends over and pair this lasagne with a fresh autumn salad and a good bottle of wine – enjoy a great dinner with great friends!
Wild Mushroom and Prosciutto Lasagne
Adapted from a recipe by Susan Costner
1 ounce dried porcini mushrooms
2 pounds fresh mushrooms
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) plus 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided use
1 medium-size onion, finely chopped
14.5 ounce can Italian plum tomatoes, drained and coarsely chopped
1/4 cup fresh Italian parsley, chopped
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 pound box lasagne noodles
6 ounces prosciutto, thinly sliced
1/4 pound Parmesan cheese, freshly grated
Béchamel Sauce Ingredients:
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
4 cups milk
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon salt
1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.
2. Bring 4 quarts of water to a rapid boil with 1 tablespoon of salt. Add the pasta strips one at a time, until all are in the pot. Bring to a boil again and cook for 5 to 7 minutes. Drain and immediately rinse each pasta strip under cold running water to prevent sticking. Lay them out on paper towels to drain.
3. Soak the dried porcini mushrooms for at least 30 minutes in 2 cups of warm water. With a slotted spoon, carefully remove the reconstituted mushrooms from the water. Reserve the water. Rinse the mushrooms thoroughly and chop them coarsely. Set aside. Pour the mushroom-soaking liquid through a small sieve lined with paper towels into a bowl and set aside.
4. Coarsely chop the fresh mushrooms by hand (the food processor extracts too much liquid).
5. In a large skillet, heat the oil and 1/4 cup butter; then add the fresh mushrooms and cook over medium-high heat until all the liquid has been released and has evaporated.
6. Add the porcini, onion, tomatoes, and parsley to the skillet. Pour in the mushroom-soaking liquid. Partially cover the pan and cook until the liquid has evaporated. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
7. To make the béchamel sauce, melt the butter in a small saucepan. Add the flour gradually and stir for 3 to 5 minutes over low heat. Slowly stir in the milk. Cook and stir over medium heat until thickened and smooth, about 8 to 10 minutes. Season with nutmeg and salt.
8. Liberally butter an 8½ X 10½-inch lasagne pan. Line the bottom of the pan with a slightly overlapping layer of pasta strips. Spread a third of the mushroom mixture over the pasta, top with one quarter of the béchamel sauce and a sprinkling of the Parmesan cheese. Cover with slices of the proscuitto and repeat the sequence two more times. Cover with one last layer of pasta, top with the remaining béchamel sauce and Parmesan, and dot with the 2 tablespoons of butter, cut into small pieces.
9. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until the cheese is melted and golden brown on top. Allow to stand for 10 minutes before serving.
1. I purchase thinly sliced prosciutto at Costco. Each piece is separated by a piece of paper so that the thin slices of meat do not stick together. This is a time-saver when you are assembling the lasagne!
2. When I’m feeling lazy, I purchase bags of prewashed and presliced baby bella mushrooms and coarse chop them.
3. I lay out the cooked and rinsed noodles on a paper towel-lined baking pan. Each layer of noodles is separated by paper towels. To keep the top layer from drying out, it is covered with a damp towel.
4. *I use a 9-inch by 13-inch Pyrex pan every time I make this and it is always filled to the brim. It makes a lot more than the 6 servings stated in the recipe!