A glorious meat-free dish that contains four types of mushroom and two types of cheese which lend it the most satisfying, and savory intensity. They claim there’s a fair amount of heat in this Spicy Mushroom Lasagna, but we beg to differ, we could barely detect any heat. However, if you feel the need to tone it down a bit, reduce the amount of pepper and omit the chili altogether.
The mushrooms are the star here and their flavor truly shines. Those layers of flavor and umami build on each other with each delicious bite. Yes, quite a LOT of time and effort is necessary, as it is prep- and ingredient-intense, yet the result is well worth your effort. To get ahead, build the lasagna one day, chill, then bake the next.
One reviewer wrote “The umami factor here was really off the charts. To me it was one of those rare recipes in which all the ingredients sound good by themselves and smell wonderful when cooking, but when brought together, the finished product is head and shoulders above the individual parts.” We have to agree…
You will be dehydrating the fresh mushrooms and rehydrating the dried mushrooms, then mixing them altogether to obtain a very tasty, meaty consistency. While the original recipe called for only two plum tomatoes, we decided to double that and added in 4 large. Paired with a side salad and a glass of wine, it was the perfect Sunday evening meal.
Spicy Mushroom Lasagna
For the fresh mushrooms
- 26 oz. cremini or baby bella mushrooms halved
- 18 oz. oyster mushrooms or other wild mushrooms
- 3 Tbsp. olive oil
- 1 tsp. table salt
For the dried mushrooms
- 2 1/4 oz. dried porcini mushrooms
- 1 oz. dried wild mushrooms or dried porcini mushrooms
- 2 dried red chili peppers roughly chopped (seeded if desired)
- 2 cups plus 2 Tbsp. hot vegetable stock
For the filling
- 1 onion, peeled and quartered
- 5 garlic cloves, peeled and roughly chopped
- 1 carrot, peeled and quartered
- 6 Tbsp. olive oil
- 4 medium plum tomatoes, quartered
- 1/3 cup tomato paste
- 1 1/2 tsp. table salt
- 1 3/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper plus more as desired
- 3 1/3 cups water
- 9 Tbsp. heavy cream (just a touch more than 1/2 cup)
- 2/3 cup pecorino, finely grated
- 2/3 cup Parmesan, finely grated
- 1/4 cup fresh basil leaves, finely chopped
- 1/2 cup parsley leaves, finely chopped, plus 1 tsp.
- 12 oz. oven-ready dried lasagna sheets (about 14 sheets)
Roast the fresh mushrooms
- Preheat the oven to 450°F. Line a large rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.
- In a food processor, working in 3 or 4 batches, add the button mushrooms and oyster mushrooms and pulse each batch until finely chopped (or finely chop everything by hand). Avoid filling the processor bowl more than halfway so that the mushrooms are finely chopped and not over processed.
- In a large bowl, toss the chopped mushrooms with the oil and salt. Spread out on the prepared baking sheet.
- Roast near the top of the oven, stirring 3 or so times throughout, until the mushrooms are golden brown and have reduced in volume significantly, 30 to 45 minutes. Let cool.
- Decrease the oven temperature to 425°F.
Rehydrate the dried mushrooms
- Meanwhile, in a large bowl, combine all the dried mushrooms, the chiles, and hot stock, and let soak for 30 minutes. Strain the liquid into another bowl, squeezing as much liquid from the mushrooms as possible to get just under 1 1/2 cups—if you have any less, top up with water.
- Very roughly chop the rehydrated mushrooms (you want some chunks) and finely chop the chili peppers. Set the stock and mushrooms aside separately.
Make the filling
- In the food processor, combine the onion, garlic, and carrot, and pulse until finely chopped or finely chop everything by hand.
- In a large sauté pan or pot over medium-high heat, warm 4 tablespoons oil. Once hot, add the onion mixture and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened and golden, about 8 minutes.
- In the food processor, pulse the tomatoes until finely chopped or finely chop by hand and then add them to the pan along with the tomato paste, salt, and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 7 minutes.
- Add the rehydrated mushrooms and chiles and the roasted mushrooms and cook for 9 minutes, stirring only once during the cooking. Resist the urge to stir more frequently; you want the mushrooms to be slightly crisp and browned on the bottom.
- Stir in the water and reserved stock and bring to a simmer. Reduce the heat to medium and cook, stirring occasionally, until you get the consistency of a ragù, about 25 minutes.
- Stir in 7 tablespoons of the cream and simmer for 2 minutes more, then remove from the heat.
- In a small bowl, combine both cheeses, the basil, and 1/2 cup parsley.
- Spread 1/5 of the sauce in the bottom of a round 12-inch baking dish or a 9-by-13-inch rectangular dish, then top with 1/5 of the cheese mixture, followed by a layer of lasagna sheets, broken to fit where necessary. Repeat these layers 3 more times in that order. Finish with a final layer of sauce and cheese; that’s 5 layers of sauce, 5 layers of cheese, and 4 layers of pasta.
- Drizzle with 1 tablespoon cream and 1 tablespoon olive oil, then cover with aluminum foil and bake for 15 minutes. Remove the foil, increase the temperature to 450°F, and bake for 12 minutes more, rotating the dish halfway through.
- Turn the oven to the broil setting and broil until the edges are brown and crisp, about 2 minutes.
- Set aside to cool for 5 minutes or so, then drizzle with the remaining 1 tablespoon cream and 1 tablespoon oil. Sprinkle with the 1 teaspoon parsley and finish with a good grind of pepper. Serve immediately.
Recipe from Yotam Ottolenghi and Ixta Belfrage