Monday, March 29, 2010

Mushroom Artichoke Lasagna

A few weekends ago, I went over to Val's to do some ol' fashion friend cooking.  It was a big discussion of what we were actually going to make - mostly because I don't understand how Val ever finds anything to eat.  No bananas, nuts, meat, and more that I'm not thinking of at the moment.  I've really been wanting to make a lasagna, but since I cook for just me - I knew that wasn't anything I could make on my own.  Val found this recipe for Mushroom Artichoke Lasagna on Epicurious - and we were both sold with just the name.

(We also made a Blueberry Peach Pie, which will be coming soon - so stay tuned!)

This really was a phenomenal dish.  I'm not really a huge fan of marinara sauce, mostly because it upsets my stomach.  The earthy flavor of the mushrooms balanced with the acid in the artichokes.  The Béchamel sauce brought the whole thing together for a dish where seconds were a necessary evil.

I believe I've mentioned my love of garlic before...  If not, let me re-iterate.  Any dish where I can throw a half a head of garlic in is going to be an automatic winner in my book!

We used a mixture of portabella and button mushrooms.  (I used to work from home in college and I'd turn Food Network on in the background.  I learned a lot of little tips and tricks that often forget about mentioning - but I'd say them to Val and it made me realize most home cooks don't have that 8 hour a day Food Network education, so I'm going to start making an effort to document them here.)  Mushrooms are like sponges and will soak up water if you wash them by soaking them, which can effect texture and taste.  If they are dirty, take a damp cloth and rub off the excess dirt.  

Saute the mushrooms and garlic in a little extra virgin olive oil.  (Note:  I can't stand Rachel Ray, who I'm sure is very nice in person and has really great ideas - like a trash bowl.  It just drives me nuts when she says things like "sammy" instead of "sandwich."  However, I'm going to start using EVOO, just because it's easier to type.)

Add in the artichokes and a cup of dry vermouth.  We both tried the vermouth, which we thought would be disgusting, but really is mostly flavorless.
Start the Béchamel sauce while the liquid is evaporating from the mushroom artichoke mixture.  Combine equal parts butter and flour, stirring until all clumps are removed.

Pour in milk.  We used soy milk, which (Val researched) should act just as normal cow milk.  There was a slight issue with it wanting to boil over at points, but we weren't sure if it was from the soy milk, heat to high or maybe not stirring enough.

Stir in grated Parmesan.  We used a mixture of Parmesan and Asiago.  Mmmm - cheese....

Add in nutmeg, pepper and salt.  (I'm really glad Val did this part as I'm a bit of a pansy when it comes to adding spices - I usually under do it, but this was perfect!)

Slice your mozzarella.  Apparently, they sell mozzarella, which can just be rolled out.  We did slice it so it wasn't too cheesy inside the lasagna.

Start with a layer of Béchamel sauce.  

Add a layer of cook in the pan lasagna noodles and mushroom/artichoke mixture.

Right at this moment, Val's punk cat (adorable Bo Jangles) knocked over some margarita salt in the pantry.  (We were drinking wine, not margaritas.)  Also, we decided that there wasn't enough artichokes and mushrooms, so after the mess was vacuumed up, we thawed some frozen, pre-grilled zucchini and eggplant from Trader Joes to mix in.  In retrospect, I'm not sure this was entirely necessary, but it didn't hurt either.

Cover with mozzarella.  Repeat.  

Drizzle more Béchamel over the top, cover and bake.  

For the last 15 minutes, uncover and add some parmesean cheese.  We both agreed the crunchy bits were our favorite.

Seriously, I wish I had a piece right now.  It really cannot have a higher recommendation.

See - this was my plate.  AMAZING! 

Happy cooking.


  1. After re-living the event through your blog, I really, really want more of this!

    And yes, my cat is totally a punk!

  2. I am suprised to be saying this but - SISTER this looks yummy!