Fall in Umbria is glorious. The weather has cooled, although the days are still warm, and the abundance of fall produce, including mushrooms, fall squash, and hearty greens, inspires any cook. I tend to use a lot of mushrooms in my kitchen every fall as the selection of fresh mushrooms is bountiful. Our favorite mushroom is, of course, the meaty porcini mushroom. Still, they are all but impossible to find in North America. In Italy, we can find porcini mushrooms in every region, although they tend to be expensive.
This lasagna came about when I bought a mix of different mushrooms at a local outdoor market in Umbria and wanted to use them to create a memorable dish. I had a package of roasted and peeled chestnuts in my refrigerator, just waiting to be used, that I thought would pair perfectly with my mushrooms in a lasagna. To allow my mushrooms to be the star of this dish, I chose to use a béchamel sauce instead of a tomato one. My lasagna turned out great, and I plan to make it often in the fall when fresh, local mushrooms are plentiful. I used some porcini powder in my béchamel sauce that I made by finely grinding up dried porcini mushrooms. This adds to the earthy mushroom flavor, but you can skip this step if you prefer.
Deborah Mele 2022
- 1/4 Pound Diced Pancetta
- 2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
- 1 Medium Onion. Finely Chopped
- 3 Garlic Cloves, Minced
- 1 Pound Mixed Fresh Mushrooms, Cleaned & Sliced
- 12 Chestnuts, Roasted, Peeled & Chopped
- 1 Teaspoon Fresh Thyme, Finely Chopped
- Salt & Pepper To Taste
- 1 Ounce Dried Porcini Mushrooms
- 5 Tablespoons Of Butter
- 1/4 + 2 Tablespoons Cup All-Purpose Flour
- 3 Cups Milk
- Salt & Pepper To Taste
- 1/2 Pound Lasagna Noodles, Preferable Fresh
- 2 Cups Shredded Mozzarella Cheese
- 1/2 Cup Grated Parmesan Cheese
- Place the dried porcini in a spice grinder or food processor and blend until fine.
- To make the béchamel sauce, melt the butter in a heavy saucepan over low heat, and once it is completely melted and bubbling, add the flour and mix well with a wooden spoon.
- Cook for a minute or two until the flour just begins to take on some color.
- Slowly start adding the milk, whisking continuously to prevent lumps from forming.
- Continue to simmer until the sauce begins to thicken, stirring often.
- Season with a pinch of salt, white pepper and the powdered porcini.
- Set aside until you are ready to use, by pouring the sauce into a glass bowl and covering with a buttered sheet of plastic wrap.
- Cook the pancetta in a large skillet over medium heat stirring often until lightly browned, about 4 to 5 minutes.
- Transfer the pancetta to a plate.
- Add the oil to the pan, and add the onion and garlic.
- Cook until the onion is translucent, about 3 minutes.
- Add the mushrooms, and continue to cook until they wilt and begin to brown, 7 or 8 minutes.
- Stir in the chestnuts, pancetta, thyme, salt and pepper.
- Heat oven to 375 degrees F. and lightly grease an 8 ounce square baking dish.
- Heat a large pot of water to a boil.
- Drop the lasagna sheets into the boiling water one by one for 30 seconds, then remove to a cold water bath.
- Cover the bottom of the dish with a thin coating of sauce, then cover sauce with a layer of lasagna noodles.
- Spread half the mushroom mixture, then some mozzarella, a little
- Parmesan, then cover with sauce.
- Repeat layers until ingredients are used up, spreading the top layer with sauce and rest of the mozzarella and Parmesan.
- Bake 40 to 45 minutes until bubbly and brown.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 6 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 690Total Fat: 36gSaturated Fat: 17gTrans Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 16gCholesterol: 75mgSodium: 588mgCarbohydrates: 68gFiber: 5gSugar: 12gProtein: 24g