Up here in Boston the snow has clearly been falling around quite a bit. It seems that the weather, through precipitation, truly wants us to remember that the winter will be here for quite some time. Although we are starting to get our springy-spring shipments in to the stores the snow drifts outside aren't melting anytime soon.
In my own efforts, as a non-native New Englander -and vegetarian, to stave off that chill i've been trying to cook up extremely hearty meals. I present to you a recipe (with some modifications) that I found amongst the pages of a very delightful book: Market Vegetarian, by Ross Dobson. Delicious, interesting ideas....
Wild Mushroom Lasagne!!
3 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 quite large white onion, sliced
3 garlic cloves, chopped roughly
2 bay leaves
2.25 lbs wild mushrooms, sliced thickly
- this I used a fairly even mix of shiitake, button, cremini, and portobella all cut quite evenly but in different shapes, obviously...
1 cup vegetable stock
-I like using "Better than Bouillon" vegetable base, or freshly made stock
1 tablespoon tomato paste
12 ounce pack of fresh OR dried lasagne sheets
-whole wheat adds a great texture/flavor to this recipe
3 cups grated cheese
-the original recipe calls for fontina, but I couldn't find it at the store so I opted for 2 cups part-skim mozzarella and 1 cup extra sharp cheddar for a less mellow flavor
.5 cup finely grated parmesan
salt 'n pepper and some additional spices including white pepper, oregano, basil, sage, thyme and red pepper flakes
for béchamel sauce:::
3 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons unbleached all-purpose flour
.25 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
3 cups whole milk
Heat the butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Once melted, add the flour and nutmeg and stir in. Remove from heat and whisk the milk in until mixed very well. Put this mixture back on the heat and whisk/stir constantly for about five minutes until the sauce becomes creamy and saucelike.
Preheat your oven to 350. Heat the butter and oil on a higher temperature in a very large skillet and add the onion, garlic, and bay leaves until the onion has started to soften. Then, add all your chopped up mushrooms and a pinch of the spices (white pepper, thyme, sage, red pepper flakes, oregano, basil) whilst reducing the heat to medium until all the mushrooms are cooked to a tender and even niceness. Then add your stock and tomato paste and stir in thoroughly. Turn the heat back up and let this little guy simmer until the liquid has reduced down to half of what it was. The finishing touch is salt and pepper to your own liking.
To put the lasagna together, line the bottom of a greased dish (I used a rectangular big one and made this only a two-layer lasagne) with some of the lasagne sheets, spread over a third of the sauce and a third of the mushrooms and a third of the cheese. Repeat this process until all of your delish is used up and then put the remaining sauce over the top with a cover of the parmesan cheese. I also drizzled a bit of olive oil for taste lightly over the top. Then let the lasagne cook for 45 minutes until it starts to get a bit bubbly and light brown on top. Let cool a bit and