What’s for dinner? Spinach lasagna with wild mushroom ragu

By Kathryn Jones

Editor

We have a vegetarian friend who is a challenge to cook for sometimes because we and most of her other friends are carnivores. But we also try to eat less meat for health reasons and jack up our use of fresh veggies.

This dish, Spinach Lasagna with Wild Mushroom Ragu, fits the bill on both counts. The dish is hearty enough to satisfy meat-eaters and it’s chock full of vitamin-rich veggies.

Ragu usually is an Italian meat-based sauce, with the meat cooked with aromatic vegetables and simmered with wine, tomato paste and broth. In this recipe porcini, shiitake and portabello mushrooms sub for the meat.

We prefer to use fresh porcini mushrooms and shiitakes (purchased at Kroger or H.E.B. in Granbury) and baby portabellas, which can be found at Brookshire’s in Glen Rose. If you can’t find them, button mushrooms will work, but they don’t have as much flavor.

The ragu sauce requires a lot of chopping and simmering for several hours. It’s better prepared a day ahead for time reasons and also so the flavors can mingle overnight in the refrigerator.

This also is a great one-dish meal to freeze and reheat. I doubt you’ll miss the meat because the mushrooms are so flavorful and rich. In fact, I like them better.

The recipe is courtesy of the Food Network.

Read more at: http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/food-network-kitchens/spinach-lasagna-with-mushroom-ragu-recipe.html?oc=linkback

Photo by Kathryn Jones

Photo by Kathryn Jones

Spinach Lasagna with Wild Mushroom Ragu

Ingredients

For the ragu:
1 ounce dried porcini mushrooms
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
1 large carrot, finely chopped
1 stalk celery, finely chopped
4 cloves garlic, chopped
2 tablespoons tomato paste
2 portobello mushroom caps, chopped
1 1/2 pounds shiitake mushrooms, stems removed, chopped
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
2 28 -ounce cans whole San Marzano tomatoes, crushed by hand
3 bay leaves
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
For the lasagna:
3 ounces parmesan cheese, grated
1 1/2 pounds part-skim mozzarella cheese, shredded
8 ounces asiago cheese, shredded
2 pounds ricotta cheese
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 pound frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
12 ounces dried lasagna noodles

Directions

Make the ragu: Soak the porcini mushrooms in 1 cup hot water until soft, about 15 minutes. Strain through a fine-mesh sieve over a bowl. Chop; reserve the liquid.

Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a pot over medium heat. Add the onion, carrot and celery and cook until soft, 5 minutes. Stir in the garlic and tomato paste and cook, stirring, 2 more minutes. Add the portobello and shiitake mushrooms, 1 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper; cook, stirring, until the mushrooms are soft, 5 more minutes.

Add the porcini mushrooms; cook 2 minutes. Add the reserved porcini liquid, bring to a boil and cook until reduced slightly, about 3 minutes. Add the tomatoes and their juice, 2 cups water and the bay leaves; bring to a boil, stirring occasionally. Reduce the heat to medium low, add the parsley and 1 teaspoon salt and simmer, stirring a few times, until thick, about 1 hour, 30 minutes. Discard the bay leaves. (You can make the ragu up to 1 day ahead; let cool, then cover and chill. Reheat before using.)

Make the lasagna filling: Mix the parmesan, mozzarella and asiago; set 1 1/2 cups of the cheese mixture aside. Combine the remaining cheese mixture in a large bowl with the ricotta, eggs, spinach, nutmeg and 1/2 teaspoon salt.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Bring a pot of salted water to a boil. Add the noodles and cook as the label directs. Drain and rinse under cold water; shake off the excess water.

Spread 1 cup of the ragu in a 9-by-13-inch baking dish. Add a layer of noodles, then half of the spinach mixture and 2 cups ragu. Repeat with another layer of noodles, spinach mixture and ragu. Top with the remaining noodles and ragu and sprinkle with the reserved cheese. Cover with foil, place on a baking sheet and bake 50 minutes. Uncover and bake until golden, about 25 more minutes. Let rest before serving.

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