We went CRAZY for this white mushroom lasagna, and it’s a good thing we did, because this recipe makes tons. We’ve eaten it for three days straight and we’re still not sick of it. It’s a rich, comforting, cheesy lasagna infused with fall flavors like mushroom, shallot, thyme, Gruyere and Marsala. It’s all woodsy meets creamy white, and it’s very luscious. The time commitment and the cost of the ingredients for this are a little bit steep, but the splurge is worth it, trust me. You can hibernate for a week on a dish like this… or treat your friends to a feast.
This lasagne takes a full 2 pounds of mushrooms, plus a package of dried wild mushrooms for extra flavor. Remember that mushrooms undergo serious shrinkage when you saute them, so what seems like a huge amount is really necessary to fill out this large pan. Also remember that the mushrooms are taking the pace of the meat here, so you want lots. You’ll need a pound of grated cheese, too, a combo of sharp white cheddar and Gruyere. Then you have to have the Marsala wine (you could sub in dry Sherry) and fresh thyme. It must be fresh. And lots of ricotta, and eggs, and full fat milk. Lord, this dish is rich. But it will sustain you forever.
I used my dry saute method here with the mushrooms. No oil or butter is added to the pan, and that way the mushrooms don’t get soggy, and their flavor is intensified, I never do it any other way.
- 2 lbs fresh mushrooms, I used a combination of cremini and white
- 1 package dried mixed wild mushrooms
- one bunch of fresh thyme, leaves plucked off, about 4 Tbsp
- 1 Tbsp olive oil
- 1 Tbsp butter
- 3 large shallots, finely chopped
- 1/2 cup Marsala wine
- 3 Tbsp flour
- 1 cups whole milk
- 1 cup half and half
- 2 cups ricotta cheese
- 2 eggs
- salt and fresh cracked black pepper
- 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
- 8 oz sharp white cheddar cheese, grated
- about 1 lb fresh pasta sheets, enough for 4 layers
- 8 oz Gruyere cheese, grated
- Set oven to 350F
- Dust off your mushrooms and trim just the very ends off the stems. Slice them thickly.
- Reconstitute your dried mushrooms according to the package directions, then drain and rinse. Give them a rough chop and set aside.
- Heat a large saute pan on medium high heat and saute the mushrooms, and about half of the fresh thyme leaves, in batches, stirring constantly until they have begun to lose their moisture and are nice and fragrant and browned. Don't use any oil or butter --- the heat of the pan will saute them and concentrate their flavors. No mushy mushrooms! I did my sauteing in three batches so as not to crowd the pan. It doesn't take long, just several minutes per batch. Put the mushrooms aside on a plate, along with the reconstituted dried mushrooms.
- In the same pan heat the olive oil and butter and saute the shallots for a few minutes. Add the Marsala and let it bubble for a minute, scraping anything up from the bottom of the pan. When the liquid has reduced, sprinkle the flour over the shallots and stir to combine. Stir for another minute. Combine the milk and half and half and add it to the pan in a stream, stirring constantly. Whisk or stir to combine everything well, and then cook until the sauce thickens. This will happen just as the temperature is coming to a boil, but don't let it boil. Turn off the heat and add the grated cheddar cheese. Sprinkle the Parmesan cheese in and stir to melt it, too. If the sauce seems too thick, add a little more milk. Taste it and season with salt and pepper as necessary.
- Whisk together the ricotta and the two eggs. Set aside.
- To layer your lasagna: Spoon a little of the sauce across the bottom of a 9x13 casserole. Lay down a layer of pasta. Scatter 1/3 of the mushrooms across the top. Then 1/3 of the ricotta cheese, then 1/4 of the sauce.
- Add another layer of pasta, and repeat. When you get to the top layer of pasta, you will be adding the remaining sauce. Spread evenly over the entire top. Then add the Gruyere cheese evenly sprinkled over the sauce. Cover loosely with foil, so it doesn't touch the cheese, and bake for about 40 minutes, or until everything is bubbling and hot throughout. Pop it under the broiler for a minute if you want to get some color on the top.
- Scatter the remaining fresh thyme over the top and serve.
This lasagna can be assembled ahead of time and refrigerated overnight. Bring to room temperature before baking. It can also be frozen, baked or unbaked.