Thursday, February 9, 2012

Eat This, Jack Frost!

Well, it's official! Winter has finally come upon me, with snow and subzero winds. Brrr! My poor bistro set looks so cold and lonely, it's down right dismal! On days like these, I want something comforting, earthy, and positively delicious, like "Wild Mushroom, Leek, and Gorgonzola Lasagna." This fabulous lasagna is so good, even my husband, who is a devoted carnivore, loves it! Serve it with a simple green salad, a crusty baguette, and a glass of wine, for a meal that is guaranteed to banish the winter blues!

Wild Mushroom, Leek, and Gorgonzola Lasagna

Serves 8-10


9 ounces lasagna noodles, cooked according to package directions, or "no boil" noodles
15 ounces ricotta cheese
3/4 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-reggiano cheese
4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
5 large leeks, white and light green parts, cut into 1-inch dice
1 1/2 pounds wild mushrooms, thinly sliced
5 garlic cloves, minced
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
4 1/2 tablespoons flour
3 1/2 cups whole milk
5 ounces Gorgonzola cheese, crumbled
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
Freshly grated nutmeg
4 ounces whole-milk mozzarella cheese, coarsely grated


For the noodles
Cook lasagna noodles according to package directions, cool in a cold water bath, then drain and place the pieces in a single layer on a baking sheet. Cover with plastic wrap and set aside.

For the filling
In a small bowl, mix together the ricotta and Parmigiano, season with salt and pepper. Set aside.

Heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil in a skillet over medium-low heat. Add the leeks, season with salt and pepper, and cook uncovered, stirring occasionally, until the leeks a very soft and light golden, about 30 minutes. Remove the leeks from the pan and reserve.

Heat the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the mushrooms and cook until they are soft and the liquid has evaporated, 7-10 minutes. Add the garlic and stir for 1 minute. Season with salt and pepper, add to the leeks and stir together.

For the bechamel
Melt the butter in a saucepan over medium-high heat. Stir in the flour and cook, uncovered, stirring constantly for 2-3 minutes. Slowly add the milk, whisking constantly, until it comes to a boil and thickens, 4-5 minutes. Add the Gorgonzola and stir until smooth. Taste and season with salt (about 1 1/2 teaspoons), pepper, and nutmeg.

Finishing the dish
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Oil a 13x9-inch baking dish. Cover the bottom of the dish with a single layer of pasta. Cover the pasta with 1/3 of the ricotta mixture. (You may have to use your fingers to spread it out.) Sprinkle 1/3 of the mushroom/leek mixture over the ricotta. Spread 1/3 of the sauce over the vegetables. Repeat with the remaining 2 layers. Sprinkle the mozzarella evenly over the top layer. Bake until the top is golden and bubbling around the edges, 40-50 minutes. Remove from the oven and let stand 15 minutes before serving. Yum!