Mushroom and Leek Lasagna with Creamy Bechamel Recipe

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Flour, TooAbout a year before Flour opened, Food & Wine magazine contacted me for an article that they were writing about pastry chefs who were delving into savory food. I knew that my dream bakery-tobe would also be part café, with sandwiches and soups and such, and I had big plans for possibly doing take-out dinner specials as well. This lasagna was one of the specials on my original menu. The magazine ran it with a gorgeous picture, and when the article appeared, people were calling me trying to place orders for it. I had to explain over and over that I hadn’t actually opened yet and that I was still searching for the right space for Flour. It was months before I would find the perfect location, but boy was it nice to know that people seemed excited about what I wanted to offer. This lasagna is rich and satisfying, with a
nutmeg-scented béchamel, sweet mild leeks, and heady garlic-infused mushrooms. Be sure to rinse the leeks thoroughly before chopping; dirt loves to settle in the inner portion of the white parts.

Ingredients

  • 2 lb (455 g) dry lasagna noodles
  • ½ cup (120 ml) olive oil, plus more for the noodles
  • 1 cup (225 g) soft fresh goat cheese, at room temperature
  • 1 cup (250 g) fresh whole-milk ricotta cheese
  • ½ cup (30 g) chopped fresh basil
  • 2½ cups (280 g) shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese
  • 1½ tsp kosher salt
  • ¾ tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 large egg, beaten
  • 1½ lb (680 g) mushrooms, such as oyster, chanterelle, trumpet, hen-of-the-woods (maitake), or portobello, wiped clean and thinly sliced
  • 5 garlic cloves, smashed and minced
  • 3 medium leeks, white and tender green parts, well rinsed and coarsely chopped
  • 2 batch Roasted Tomatoes, roughly chopped
Bechamel
  • 6 tbsp (85 g) unsalted butter
  • 0.33 cup (45 g) all-purpose flour
  • 4 cups (960 ml) whole milk, at room temperature
  • ¾ tsp kosher salt
  • ¼ tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • ½ tsp freshly grated nutmeg
How to Make It
  1. Bring the stockpot filled with salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the lasagna noodles, stir well, and cook for 8 to 10 minutes, or until al dente. Drain the noodles in a colander, rinse under cold running water, and drain again. Toss with a little olive oil and set aside in the colander.
  2. In a medium bowl, combine the goat cheese, ricotta, basil, 1 cup/110 g of the mozzarella, ¼ tsp of the salt, and 1⁄8 tsp of the pepper and stir to combine. Add the egg and mix until thoroughly blended. Set aside.
  3. In a large skillet, heat 2 tbsp of the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add about one-third of the mushrooms and cook, stirring and tossing occasionally, for about 2 minutes, or until softened. Stir in one-third of the garlic, add ¼ longer. Transfer the cooked mushrooms to a plate. Repeat twice with the remaining mushrooms and garlic, using ¼ tsp salt, 1⁄8 tsp pepper, and 2 tbsp oil for each batch. Set aside.
  4. In the same skillet, heat the remaining 2 tbsp olive oil over medium-low heat. Add the leeks and cook for 10 to 12 minutes, or until softened and golden. Add the tomatoes and cook for another 2 to 3 minutes. Add ½ tsp salt and ¼ tsp pepper, mix well, and set aside.
  5. To make the Bechamel
  6. In the same skillet, melt the butter over medium-high heat. Whisk in the flour and cook, whisking continuously, for about 2 minutes. Slowly add the milk while continuing to whisk and then bring to a simmer over medium high heat. Reduce the heat to medium and cook, whisking frequently, for about 5 minutes, or until the sauce has lost its floury taste and thickened. Add the salt, pepper, and nutmeg. Set aside.
  7. Preheat the oven to 350°F/180°C, and place a rack in the center of the oven.
  8. Spread half of the béchamel in the bottom of the baking dish and top with a single layer of the lasagna noodles, overlapping them so that about five noodles fit in the bottom of the pan. Scatter half of the mushrooms over the noodles, and top with dollops of half of the goat cheese mixture. Cover with another layer of overlapping noodles and spread evenly with half of the remaining béchamel. Spread the tomato and leek mixture evenly over the sauce. Cover with a third layer of overlapping lasagna noodles and top with dollops of the remaining goat cheese mixture. Top with the remaining mushrooms and any of the mushroom liquid. Cover with a final layer of lasagna noodles and spread the remaining béchamel evenly over the noodle layer. Top evenly with the remaining 1½ cups/170 g mozzarella.
  9. Bake for 50 minutes to 1 hour, or until golden brown on top and bubbling. Let the lasagna stand for 10 to 15 minutes before serving. The lasagna can be cooled, covered, and refrigerated overnight. To serve, bring to room temperature, cover with aluminum foil, and reheat in a 325°F/165°C oven for 20 to 25 minutes.
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