Spicy Mushroom Lasagne

Lasagne is a fail-safe dish, but sometimes the classics need a bit of an update. Look no further than this dish, elevating a vegie lasagne with four types of mushrooms and a healthy helping of spice.

Spicy Mushroom Lasagne (from Ottolenghi FLAVOUR by Yotam Ottolenghi and Ixta Belfrage)

Serves: 6

Ingredients

  • 750g chestnut mushrooms, halved
  • 500g oyster mushrooms
  • 135ml olive oil, plus extra for greasing
  • 60g dried porcini mushrooms
  • 30g dried wild mushrooms
  • 2 dried red chillies, roughly chopped (deseeded for less heat)
  • 500ml hot vegetable stock
  • 1 onion, peeled and quartered
  • 5 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
  • 1 carrot, peeled and quartered (90g)
  • 2–3 plum tomatoes, quartered (200g)
  • 75g tomato paste
  • 130ml double cream
  • 60g Pecorino Romano, finely grated
  • 60g Parmesan, finely grated
  • 5g basil leaves, finely chopped
  • 10g parsley leaves, finely chopped, plus an extra teaspoon to serve
  • 250g dried lasagne sheets (about 14 sheets)
  • Salt and black pepper

Method

1. Preheat the oven to 230°C fan.

2. Put the chestnut and oyster mushrooms into the large bowl of a food processor in three or four batches and pulse each batch until finely chopped (or finely chop everything by hand). Toss the chopped mushrooms in a large bowl with three tablespoons of oil and one teaspoon of salt and spread out on a large, 40cm x 35cm parchment-lined, rimmed baking tray. Bake for 30 minutes near the top of the oven, stirring three times throughout, until the mushrooms are golden brown; they will have reduced in volume significantly. Set aside. Reduce the oven temperature to 200°C fan.

3. Meanwhile, combine the dried mushrooms, chillies and hot stock in a large bowl and set aside to soak for half an hour. Strain the liquid into another bowl, squeezing as much liquid from the mushrooms as possible to get about 340ml: if you have any less, top up with water. Very roughly chop the rehydrated mushrooms (you want some chunks) and finely chop the chillies. Set the stock and mushrooms aside separately.

4. Put the onion, garlic and carrot into the food processor and pulse until finely chopped (or finely chop everything by hand). Heat 60ml of oil in a large sauté pan or pot on a medium-high heat. Once hot, add the onion mixture and fry for eight minutes, stirring occasionally, until soft and golden. Pulse the tomatoes in the food processor until finely chopped (or finely chop by hand), then add to the pan along with the tomato paste, one-and-a-half teaspoons of salt and one-and-three-quarter teaspoons of freshly cracked black pepper. Cook for seven minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the rehydrated mushrooms and chillies and the roasted mushrooms and cook for nine minutes, resisting the urge to stir: you want the mushrooms to be slightly crisp and browned on the bottom. Stir in the reserved stock and 800ml of water and, once simmering, reduce the heat to medium and cook for about 25 minutes, stirring occasionally, until you get the consistency of a ragù. Stir in 100ml of the cream and simmer for another two minutes, then remove from the heat.

5. Combine both cheeses and both herbs in a small bowl. To assemble the lasagne, spread one-fifth of the sauce in the bottom of a round 28cm baking dish (or a 30cm x 20cm rectangular dish), then top with a fifth of the cheese mixture, followed by a layer of lasagne sheets, broken to fit where necessary. Repeat these layers three more times in that order, and finish with a final layer of sauce and cheese: that’s five layers of sauce and cheese and four layers of pasta.

6. Drizzle over one tablespoon of cream and one tablespoon of oil, then cover with foil and bake for 15 minutes. Remove the foil, increase the temperature to 220°C fan and bake for another 12 minutes, turning the dish round halfway. Turn the oven to the grill setting and grill for a final two minutes, until the edges are brown and crisp. Set aside to cool for five or so minutes, then drizzle over the remaining tablespoon of cream and oil. Sprinkle over the remaining parsley, finish with a good grind of pepper and serve.

Ottolenghi FLAVOUR by Yotam Ottolenghi and Ixta Belfrage, photography by Jonathan Lovekin, is published by Ebury Press. Available now.

How often do you make lasagne? Do you turn classic meals into vegetarian options?

– With PA

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