Allow me to introduce to this truffled lasagna, also affectionately known as “sink lasagna.”
No, it doesn’t mean that this lasagna bears an ingredient list including everything but the kitchen sink. It means that this lasagna was so good, that I proceeded to eat it after dropping it…face-first…into the kitchen sink.
Not only did I eat it, but I actually served it to a friend. A poor, defenseless friend….I mean, really – what could she have said when I asked her if she minded eating it, once the laughter subsided and we got over the fact that yes, we just watched this lasagna plop right into the sink as I was trying to pour off the liquid that had accumulated in the dish from being refrigerated overnight?
Poor thing didn’t even like truffles.
This might be a good time to point out that I like to keep my sink super-clean. It’s true that Daniel’s the neat freak in the house but I get on his ass probably four times a week about the sink. My sink must be totes spotless, at all times. I don’t get why he refuses to understand this. It’s like, for someone who insists on cleaning the coffee table every time as much as a coaster has been placed on it – true story – how the hell can you not care about the fact that there is crusted food stuck to the side of the sink!? I don’t care if it’s the size of an earring back and no one can see it but me. It needs to go, and it needs to go now.
Thank goodness for my complete insanity, because I had just squeaky-cleaned my sink mere minutes before the incident. A bit of it fell too close to the garbage disposal for comfort, and so I had to part with it, but most of it was salvaged.
My dear friend Rebecca, the poor and defenseless non-truffle-enjoying one who was forced to eat from my sink, even loved this lasagna. It may have converted her into a truffle-lover – or at the very least, a truffle-liker. I attribute it to the fact that truffles and mushroom are a match made in heaven, though I must admit – I haven’t yet met a truffle pairing I didn’t like.We devoured this lasagna. I even went on to dream about that lost little bit once my precious sink lasagna was no more. I thought, if only I hadn’t been so stupid, so careless…I could be eating the same thing for the fifth night in a row.
And that, my friends, is how I knew this one was a keeper.
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 4 leeks, thinly sliced (white and light green parts only)
- 10 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
- 2½ pounds sliced mushrooms, divided (any combination of button, cremini, and wild mushrooms)
- Healthy splash of red wine (whatever you’d like to drink)
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh sage
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 3 tablespoons white truffle oil
- 2½ cups milk (low-fat works)
- 1 bay leaf
- 4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) butter
- ¼ cup all-purpose flour
- Pinch ground nutmeg
- 1 32-ounce container part-skim ricotta cheese
- Small handful chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
- Small handful chopped fresh basil
- Zest of 1 lemon
- Cooking spray
- 8 ounces precooked whole-wheat lasagna noodles
- 8 ounces part-skim mozzarella cheese
- 1 cup (4 ounces) freshly grated Parmesan cheese
- Heat olive oil in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add leeks and garlic, and give them a sprinkle of kosher salt; sauté 2 minutes. Add 1½ pounds of the mushrooms (including the wild mushrooms here if you have them); sauté 10 to 15 minutes or until the mushrooms release their liquids and begin to brown. Add a splash of the wine; cook 3 minutes or until the liquid almost evaporates, stirring frequently. Remove from the heat and stir in the thyme, oregano, sage, and truffle oil. Take a whiff – it’s intoxicating! Season to taste with salt and pepper.
- Combine the milk and bay leaf in a heavy saucepan (use the pot you cooked the noodles in if it’s still out); cook over medium-high until tiny bubbles form around edge (watch carefully – don’t let it boil). Remove from heat; cover and let stand 10 minutes. Discard the bay leaf and set aside.
- Melt the butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Add the remaining 1 pound of mushrooms; sauté until tender. Add flour, stirring with a whisk until blended. Cook 1 minute, stirring constantly; gradually add milk. Bring to a boil; reduce heat, and simmer 10 to 15 minutes, or until it gets nice and thick, like a sauce. Add nutmeg and season to taste with salt and pepper.
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Combine the ricotta, parsley, basil, and lemon zest in a bowl. Season to taste. Coat an 11 x 7-inch glass or ceramic baking dish with cooking spray (I like the olive oil spray).
- Start by spreading about a ½ cup milk mixture in the bottom of the pan. Next, 3 noodles over top. Then, ½ of the mushroom mixture. Scatter ¼ of the mozzarella (break into small pieces with your hands if you’re using whole instead of shredded) and ¼ of the Parmesan on top of the mushrooms. 3 more noodles. Now, spread half of the ricotta mix over that.
- Repeat with 3 more noodles, the remaining mushroom mixture, ¼ of both the mozzarella and the Parmesan, 3 noodles, and the rest of the ricotta. The dish will be very full!. Spread remaining milk mixture/sauce over the top.
- Cover with foil and place the baking dish on a baking sheet. Bake for 30 minutes, then increase the oven temperature to 450 degrees. Add the rest of the mozzarella and Parmesan and bake an additional 15 minutes, or until it’s nice and golden brown.