This is what food dreams are made of people! Gooey and sinful deliciousness at its best. I kind of wanted to high-five myself over this one. A date night at home was the inspiration, that and the overly large Costco containers of brown mushrooms and spinach wilting in my frig looking for a meal to call home. I'm not sure words can do justice as to how savory and creamy and so utterly satisfying this lasagna was. A smooth and luscious béchamel sauce, spiked with mozzarella and pecorino for that Italian zing, spotted with sweet onions, earthy sautéed mushrooms and bright green tender baby spinach leaves. I threw in a handful of peas (because I was feeling guilty about all the cheese) to help balance out the bacon fat I used to make my rough (oh yea, bacon – side note, if you do not store your leftover bacon grease in a jar in your frig you are NUTS! That stuff is GOLD.) I ended up using no-bake lasagna noodles I had laying around and seriously, I need to stop being so judgey about no-bake noodles….soooo easy and totally delicious people. I will absolutely be making this again, like tomorrow…and the day after that. And every day! It was that good.
Creamy Mushroom and Spinach Lasagna
a girl and her ktichen (adapted from Giada!)
1 qt milk (I used 2%)
1/3 c butter (or bacon fat, which is what i used bc bacon is awesome)
1/3 c flour
1 tsp white pepper + more to taste
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp salt + more to taste
1 onion, diced
1 large container of brown mushrooms, cleaned and sliced (i used about 3/4 of a costco size brown mushroom container)
5 cups fresh baby spinach (or 10 cups if you want it super spinachy)
2.5 c shredded mozzarella (in reality i used a whole mozzarella ball and just put a ton on top)
2 c grated pecorino
1 package no bake lasagna noodles
Handful of frozen peas (optional)
Handful of fresh basil leaves, chopped into ribbons (optional)
Butter (for buttering the baking dish)
3 small sprigs of fresh thyme
Butter a 9x13 baking dish and preheat oven to 350.
In a large sauté pan, sauté the onion in 1 tbsp olive oil until somewhat golden (roughly 8 minutes), set aside. Add a bit more olive oil to the pan (maybe 1 tbsp) and the mushrooms to the pan, stir to mix and then let sit at least 5 minutes without touching them. Then you can stir, add some thyme if you feel like it and cook until the liquid just starts to come out of the mushrooms (another 5 minutes) at which point you can season with salt and pepper and set aside with onions (remove the thyme sprigs at this point).
Make a béchamel: In a large heavy bottom pot melt butter or bacon fat over medium heat, add flour and whisk to mix well. Let cook 3-5 mins until golden in color. Add the milk (room temp milk works better) whisking constantly. Cook on medium heat, stirring very often until the liquid thickens slightly so that it coats the back of a spoon and if you run your finger down the spoon you get a nice line (maybe 5 minutes). Turn off heat, add in the white pepper, salt , nutmeg and cheeses (reserving 1/2 c mozzarella for topping). Once cheese is melted, mix in the fresh spinach (it will wilt in cheese sauce). After the spinach is incorporated, mix in mushrooms and onions. Add peas and basil if you using. Taste for seasoning and add salt or pepper as desired.
Assemble the lasagna: Start with a layer of the mushroom/spinach/cheese sauce on the bottom of your dish, add layer of noodles (slightly overlapping) and then a layer of sauce, then noodles, then sauce and so on continuing until you run out of noodles. Be sure you end with a layer of sauce on top. Sprinkle remaining mozzarella on top and drizzle a touch of olive oil over the top of the cheese.
Bake for 30 mins (do not cover). When bubbly and golden it's done. Let cool 10 mins before eating or you will have a soupy mess. Enjoy!
Cooks note: your could totally fold in some nice chopped bacon to add even more sinfulness to this dish! Also, pair this with a nice cool Sav Blanc for a killer combo.