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Friday
Apr172009

creamy mushroom and leek lasagne

vegetarian lasagnes can be shameful affairs – a final resting home for non-descript vegetables, no clear flavours and the provoker of a slightly mournful sigh if ever they are the only vegetarian option on a menu.

 

having said that, they can also be fabulous and are well worth making yourself (see here and here for a couple more vegetarian lasagne options). one of the secrets, i think, is to think about the vegetables you want to use and how you are going to ensure that their individual flavours shine through. making sure that everything works together is also important.

 

this leek and mushroom lasagne was truly fabulous. it is based on nigel slater’s recipe for mushroom lasagne with pesto but with addition of a layer if slow-cooked creamy leeks in the middle. you do need to be a bit of a mushroom fan though as their flavour is at the fore.

 

i'm sharing this dish with katie from one little corner of the world who is hosting this week's presto pasta nights.

 

creamy mushroom and leek lasagne* (serves 6-8)

 

for the pesto:

60g pine nuts

2 big bunches basil, giving about 4 handfuls of leaves

4 tablespoons grated parmesan

2 tablespoons olive oil

2 cloves garlic, peeled

for the mushrooms:

a thick slice of butter

1 large onion, chopped

2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced

500g mushrooms, sliced

1 handful chopped parsley

10g porcini mushrooms (a small handful)

2 tablespoons grated parmesan

for the leeks:

a thick slice of butter

3-4 large leeks, cleaned and cut into small pieces

50ml double cream or crème fraiche 

for the topping:**

500g crème fraiche

50g grated parmesan plus extra to finish

100g grated cheddar

 

lasagne sheets, preferably the type that doesn’t need precooking to make your life easier

 

preheat the oven to 180°c.

 

start with the mushrooms. sauté the onions and garlic in the butter over a medium heat for around 20 minutes until definitely soft and transparent. meanwhile cover the porcini in around 100ml of boiling water. after the onions have softened, add the mushrooms, porcini with their cooking water, parsley and a couple of tablespoons grated parmesan. cook with the lid half on, allowing quite a lot of moisture to escape, for around 20 minutes, until the mushrooms are coloured and nice and soft. season to taste and set aside.

 

for the leeks, melt the butter, add the leeks and turn the heat down low. cut the leeks until they are soft, making they don’t brown as this will make them taste bitter. when they are ready, stir in the cream and season to taste. set aside

 

during this sauté time, you can make the pesto by putting all the ingredients in a food processor, and processing it until it forms a paste. don’t worry too much about the consistency (too dry, too wet).

 

mix together all the topping ingredients except the cheddar.

 

use an ovenproof dish around 20×25cm and assemble your lasagne – i started with half the mushrooms, topped this with lasagne sheets, added all the leeks, topped this with more pasta, finished the mushrooms and added a final layer of lasagne before finishing with the pesto and crème fraiche mix. you could make your vegetable layers thinner if you’d like more pasta.

 

sprinkle over the cheddar plus a good grating of parmesan and bake for around 30-40 minutes until there are browned bits on top.

 

* based on a nigel slater recipe

** you could make a béchamel sauce but this is much easier. i also like the slightly tangy flavour which balances well with the rest of the lasagne.

Reader Comments (11)

MMMMM...Abby!
This lasagne looks so delicious!
I adore every ingredient!
Yummie stuff!!
April 17, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterSophie
Definitely on my "must make soon" list. Thanks for sharing with Presto Pasta Nights.
April 17, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterRuth
It looks delicious!
April 17, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterThe Food Hunter
Thanks for sharing with Presto Pasta! Your dish looks great!!!!!
April 18, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterKatie
i'm glad you like it - mushroom lasagne had been on my "to cook" list for so long it was a relief that it was worth the wait!
April 20, 2009 | Registered Commenterabby
Might I suggest a darn good scrape of nutmeg over those mushrooms?

Love the blog!
April 21, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterKelly
you may indeed kelly!
May 3, 2009 | Registered Commenterabby
What a terrific combination, and the squelchy leek layer is truly inspired! My friends tonight practically licked their plates.
I came across your website yesterday. It's wonderful. You have a great passion for real food and an integrity in what you do. Thank you from sunny Australia.
January 15, 2010 | Unregistered Commentervincent
thank you vincent, that was a lovely thing to read in grey gloomy london. i'm really pleased you liked the lasagne, let me know how you get on with other recipes as you try them.
January 17, 2010 | Registered Commenterabby
10g only porcini?
October 14, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterAnita
anita - yes. it's the equivalent of a small handful and is enough to add an extra depth of flavour the dish. obviously you can use more if you prefer.
October 16, 2012 | Registered Commenterabby

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