This Mushroom Marsala Lasagna is a traditional Christmas lasagna according to Chef Fabio Trabocchi.
The celery root ‘bechamel’ sauce, the earthy mushrooms with prosciutto and caramelized leeks, the marsala and the combination of cheeses all add amazing layers of flavor profiles to this dish.
This is my adaptation of his Celery Root and Mushroom Lasagna published in Food and Wine. This is a fall/winter lasagna because celery root is typically only available in fall and winter and it is a signature flavor of this dish. It does require a bit of preparation but trust me – you won’t regret it. So throw on your favorite music, pour a glass of wine and enjoy the journey!
There are four parts to this recipe
- the creamy ‘bechamel’ sauce
- the mushroom/prosciutto and vegetable mixture
- the cheese and,
- the lasagna noodles
Chef’s Tips for Mushroom Marsala Lasagna
You could prepare the sauce or vegetables and grate the cheese ahead of time and then cook your noodles and bake or you could prepare the dish and refrigerate overnight before cooking. (Return to room temperature before baking). So… if you fall in love with this flavorful dish you have some options on how to make it regularly!
The ‘bechamel’ sauce is in quotes because it is a cream sauce but instead of using butter and flour to thicken it I simmered the diced celery root in the broth/cream mixture with the herbs and when you purée it the celery root thickens it.
You will need to use most of your stove top and about 3 or 4 good sized skillets in addition to your pasta pot. You can save time if you can prepare the ‘bechamel’ sauce, the mushrooms, the leeks and the prosciutto/shallot mixtures simultaneously. The celery root, the mushroom mixture and the leeks all need to cook separately on the stove top for about 20 minutes. The prosciutto and shallot mixture need about 10 minutes. So prepare one part and get it on the stove, go on to the next and get it on the stove so in all it will probably take you about 40-50 minutes to prep each part and cook.
Be sure to dice the reconstituted dried mushrooms very finely. They have a tendency to be ‘chewy’ so if the chunks are coarse it will be unpleasant in the mouth.
The recipe calls for prosciutto diced. This would mean you can find an unsliced portion of prosciutto. The finely sliced, paper thin version in the deli section would not work very well so if you can’t find prosciutto in a chunk I would suggest substituting pancetta.
Time the cooking of the lasagna noodles so everything is ready to go when they are being rinsed. If they sit for any length of time they will start to stick together despite the rinsing.
Wine Pairing for Mushroom Marsala Lasagna
I would serve this with a Chianti or Ripasso – something full bodied to complement the earthiness of the lasagna.
For white I would give a nod to the Italian heritage of this recipe with a Lugana or Soave. If these are not readily accessible then look for an oaked Chenin Blanc or Chardonnay.
- 3 1/2 cups celery root 1" dice
- 2 cups beef broth
- 1 1/4 cups 5% cream
- 2 sprigs each thyme, sage, rosemary
- 1 bay leaf
- 2 large eggs
- 1 1/2 cups ground parmesan cheese
- 2 cups dried mushrooms (porcini or gourmet mix)
- 4 cups boiling water
- 4 cups mushroom slices (about 1/4" slices of cremini or baby portabella)
- 1 Tbsp olive oil
- 1 cup Marsala
- 2 cups beef broth
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp pepper
- 3 medium leeks, finely sliced white and light green parts only
- 3 Tbsps butter
- 2 Tbsps olive oil
- 6 oz prosciutto (can sub pancetta)
- 2 medium shallots finely diced
- 1 Tbsp olive oil
- 24 oz mozzarella cheese shredded
- 1/4 cup ground parmesan (reserve for the topping on the final layer)
- 1 pkg dried lasagna noodles 16-20 noodles
- Peel celery root and dice into 2" chunks. Simmer the celery root in the broth and cream with the fresh herb sprigs and the bay leaf for about 20 minutes until soft.
- Let the mixture cool down while you prepare the other ingredients.
- When the mixture is cool remove the herbs and bay leaf. Transfer to a blender and add the eggs and the parmesan cheese. Blend until smooth. You should have 3-4 cups of sauce in the end.
- Separate out 1/2 cup of the sauce and reserve for the final topping.
- Add the dried mushroom to the boiling water and let it sit about 15 minutes.
- Meanwhile, clean and slice fresh mushrooms.
- When dried mushrooms are ready drain the water off them and dice them (really) finely.
- Heat 1 Tbsp oil in a separate skillet. Add the mushroom to the hot pan and sauté about 15 minutes over medium heat. You want them to release their moisture but not shrink considerably.
- Add the Marsala and cook another 5 minutes to allow it to evaporate. Add the 2 cups of broth and the salt and pepper and simmer another 10 minutes or so until mixture equals about 5 cups.
- Heat 3 Tbsps butter and 2 Tbsps oil in a large skillet. Add finely sliced leeks and sauté over medium heat about 20 minutes. Leeks should be golden in color.
- In a separate skillet, heat up the other Tbsp olive oil and sauté the prosciutto and shallots about 10 minutes.
- Combine the leeks, prosciutto and shallots and the Mushroom mixture when they are all done.
- Cook the pasta noodles according to the package instructions. When cooked drain them in a colander and rinse well immediately with cold water.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees
- Spray a 9 X 13" oven proof pan with cooking spray. Your pan should be 4-5 deep.
- Cover the bottom of the pan with a layer of the lasagna noodles overlapping slightly. Spread 1/3 of the cream 'bechamel' sauce over this layer, then 1/3 of the Mushroom/vegetable/prosciutto mixture, then 1/3 of the mozzarella.
- Repeat for 2 more layers.
- Drizzle the reserved 'bechamel' mix evenly over the top layer and sprinkle the 1/4 cup of ground parmesan evenly the top.
- Bake in oven for approximately 1 hour.