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Wild Mushroom and Spinach Lasagna

This is the perfect meal to serve vegetarian guests. Frozen spinach can be substituted for fresh, and fresh plain lasagna sheets can be substituted for fresh spinach lasagna sheets.

  • Servings: 12
Wild Mushroom and Spinach Lasagna

Source: Celebrating 2000, Special Issue 2000

Ingredients

  • 5 pounds fresh spinach, stems removed
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter
  • 3 cloves garlic, finely sliced
  • 1 pound ricotta cheese
  • 2 tablespoons coarse salt
  • 1 3/4 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 pounds wild mushrooms, (chanterelles, oyster, and shiitake), trimmed, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 3/4 cup Madeira wine
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 4 1/2 cups milk
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 cup grated pecorino Romano cheese
  • 1 one-pound package fresh spinach lasagna sheets

Directions

  1. Wash spinach leaves well in three changes of cold water; shake dry. Melt 1 tablespoon butter in large pan over medium heat. Add half the garlic; saute until light golden, about 2 minutes. Add half the spinach leaves, cover, and cook, stirring occasionally, until wilted, 4 to 5 minutes. Drain spinach in a colander. Repeat with another tablespoon butter and remaining garlic and spinach. When spinach is cool enough to handle, squeeze to rid it of liquid. Roughly chop spinach; place in medium bowl. Add ricotta, 2 teaspoons salt, and 1 teaspoon pepper.

  2. Melt 2 tablespoons butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add a third of the mushrooms; season with 1 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Saute until mushrooms are softened and browned, about 10 minutes. Deglaze skillet by pouring 1/4 cup Madeira into hot skillet with mushrooms and using a wooden spoon to loosen bits cooked onto skillet. Cook mushrooms until liquid has almost evaporated. Transfer cooked mushrooms to medium bowl. Repeat with another 2 tablespoons of butter, another third of the mushrooms, and 1/4 cup Madeira. (Reserve the final third of mushrooms and Madiera for topping.) Add two-thirds of the chopped parsley to bowl with cooked mushrooms; stir.

  3. In medium saucepan over medium heat, heat 4 cups milk. Melt 8 tablespoons butter in medium saucepan over medium heat. When butter bubbles, add flour; cook, stirring constantly, 1 minute. Slowly add warmed milk; cook, whisking constantly, until mixture bubbles and becomes thick. Remove pan from heat. Stir in 2 teaspoons salt, 1/4 teaspoon pepper, the nutmeg, and 1/2 cup grated cheese.

  4. Heat oven to 350 degrees. Set aside 1/2 cup sauce. Assemble lasagna: Spread 1/2 cup sauce in bottom of 9-by-13-inch baking pan. Place layer of lasagna sheets in pan, trimming to fit; spread 1 cup spinach mixture, 1 cup mushroom mixture, and 1/2 cup sauce on top of lasagna sheets. Repeat layers several times. For last layer, place a layer of lasagna sheets on top; spread 1/2 cup sauce over lasagna sheets. Sprinkle with 1/2 cup grated cheese. Bake lasagna until top is golden brown, 1 to 1 1/4 hours. Let stand 20 minutes before serving.

  5. Just before serving, melt remaining 2 tablespoons butter in the skillet over medium heat. Add remaining third of the uncooked mushrooms; season with the remaining teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Cook until golden and tender, about 10 minutes. Deglaze skillet, with mushrooms in it, with the remaining 1/4 cup Madeira. Stir in the remaining third of fresh parsley.

  6. In a small saucepan, combine reserved 1/2 cup sauce with remaining 1/2 cup milk. Over medium heat, whisk until warm and smooth. Spoon cooked mushrooms over each serving, or serve on the side. Serve lasagna with warmed sauce.

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