Look no further than this Ottolenghi Lasagne with Mushroom Ragu if you are looking for big flavour for your meatless Monday – or any day for that matter.
Ottolenghi is an Israeli-British celebrity chef, food writer and restaurateur. While not vegetarian himself, many of his recipes are focused on vegetables and use intense cooking methods and lots of spices to make them star dishes.
In the interest of full disclosure – the original recipe calls for 2.75 pounds of fresh mushrooms and 3 oz of dried mushrooms.
I only had 2 packages on hand and a jar I had dehydrated myself. So I ended up with about 1 .25 ounces of dried.
The other thing…. I had read this recipe a week or so before I visited an Asian grocery store. When I saw the array of fresh, unusual mushroom varieties I decided to try a variety of them. I got King Oyster mushrooms, Brown Beech and Seafood mushrooms there. Then I picked up some sliced cremini and white mushrooms at my regular store. I didn’t have the exact quantities with me so I just went for ‘lots’. I came in just under 2 lbs. So I decided to work with what I had.
The recipe is written with the quantities I used. If you are feeling flush feel free to up the fresh and dried mushrooms to original recipe quantities. The other sauce ingredients are the original quantities so you don’t need to adjust the other items.
I used beef broth since I had some amazing home made broth on hand. I was not trying to go the vegetarian route. The original recipes is vegetarian and calls for vegetable stock.
I also reduced the Thai red chilis from 2 to 1. Every bite is spicy since the chili is soaked with the mushroom water. I know for our tastes, 2 chilis would have overwhelmed us. If you are serving to children or non-heat-lovers I would suggest you omit the chili from the recipe and pass dried red pepper flakes on the side.
The flavour in this lasagne is rather amazing- even with the reduced mushroom quantities I used. I don’t think when I make it again I will up the mushroom amounts. I was more than happy with the way it turned out.
I am also thinking about making the ragu and freezing it so I have some on hand. It would be delicious on spaghetti, baked potatoes -pretty much anything I would think. I actually stole a cup of it and used it as pizza sauce on a homemade pizza I was making. So I can vouch for that being super-delicious. I didn’t need to use mushrooms as a topping since the ragu added them to every bite.
You can use regular lasagne noodles boiled or oven ready lasagne. They both work well. The only difference is the bake time. If you use boiled noodles the oven time is just under 30 minutes. If you use oven ready you will need to bake about 60 minutes.
Sigh…I wish I could think of other ways to explain how delicious this is!!!
Wine Pairing for Ottolenghi Lasagne with Mushroom Ragu
This deserves a red wine with descriptors like forest floor, mushrooms, earthy. This would imply and aged red like Syrah, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Barolo, aged Sangiovese, aged Tempranillo. Pinot Noir on the weightier end of the scale can have earthy, mushroom-y characteristics as well.
If you are a white aficionado then look for a barrel aged Chardonnay or a Soave or Gavi.
- 1000 grams fresh mushroom, mixed portabella, cremini, King oyster, Brown Beech 2.2 lbs
- 36 grams dried mushrooms, porcini and mixed 1.25 oz
- 9 Tbsps olive oil plus more for greasing the pan divided 3 +4 +2
- 2 1/2 tsps salt divided 1 + 1 1/5
- 1 3/4 tsp black pepper
- 1 dried Thai red chili seeds removed if you want less heat and rough chopped
- 500 ml hot beef stock 2 cups (use vegetables broth per original recipe to keep it vegetarian)
- 1 yellow onion peeled and quartered
- 5 cloves garlic peeled
- 1 medium carrot trimmed, peeled and cut in quarters
- 3 roma tomatoes quartered, stem site removed
- 75 grams tomato paste 2.5 ounces
- 130 ml 10% cream 1/2 cup (reserve 2 Tbsps to drizzle over top of lasagne)
- 60 grams Pecorino Romano grated 2 oz
- 60 grams Parmesan grated 2 oz
- 5 grams basil leaves, minced about 7
- 10 grams parsley, minced about 1/4 cup
- 250 grams oven ready lasagne sheets about 14 sheets (See Note 1 if using regular lasagne.)
- Preheat oven to 450 °. Line a rimmed baking tray with parchment paper.
- Clean fresh mushrooms and trim as necessary. Pulse in batches in food processor until finely chopped.
- Toss chopped mushrooms with 3 Tbsps olive oil and 1 tsp salt. Spread mixture out evenly on baking sheet. Bake for 30 minutes stirring every 10 minutes. Mushrooms will have browned and shrunk considerably.
- Set mushrooms aside and reduce oven to 400°.
- Add dried mushrooms and Thai chili to the hot stock and allow to sit 30 minutes. Strain mushrooms, reserving the juice/stock. Rough chop rehydrated mushrooms and chili. Top up to liquid to make 340 ml. (about 1 1/2 cups) Set mushrooms and stock aside till ready to use.
- Pulse onion, carrot and garlic in food processor until they are minced.
- Heat 4 Tbsps oil in a large Dutch oven. Saute the onion mixture on medium high heat about 8 minutes. Stir a few times.
- Add the tomatoes to the food processor and pulse until finely chopped. Add the tomatoes and the tomato paste to the onion mixture along with 1 1/2 tsps salt and 1 3/4 tsp black pepper. Saute another 7 minutes stirring periodically.
- Add the rehydrated mushroom mixture and the roasted mushrooms to the tomato mixture and cook about 9 minutes. Do not stir, you want the mushrooms to brown a bit on the bottom of the pan.
- After 9 minutes, scrape up any browned bits from the bottom of the Dutch oven. Add the reserved stock to the mixture along with 800 ml (about 3 1/3 cups) of water. Bring mixture to a simmer. Reduce heat to medium and allow mixture to simmer about 25 minutes.
- Reserve 1 Tbsp of cream to drizzle over the top of the lasagne. Add the remaining cream to the ragu mixture. Cook 2 minutes then remove ragu from the heat.
- Ragu can be made 1 day ahead and refrigerated.
- Mix the cheeses and the basil and parsley in a bowl.
- Grease a deep 8 X 12 " oven proof pan. Spread 1/5 of the ragu on the bottom. Top with 1/5 of the cheese, then a layer of lasagne noodles. Break noodles to fit your pan. Repeat layers 3 more times and end with a layer of ragu and cheese. You will have 5 layers of sauce and cheese and 4 layers of pasta.
- Drizzle 1 Tbsp of reserved cream and 1 Tbsp olive oil over the top. Cover tightly with foil and bake 30 minutes. Remove foil and bake 30 minutes more. Finally broil for 2 minutes until the top is brown and crispy.
- Allow lasagne to cool 5 minutes, then drizzle last Tbsp of cream and oil over the top. Garnish with more fresh parsley and fresh black pepper if desired.