Growing up, lasagna was something of a Shabbos staple in my house. I know that for many of you, eating lasagna for Shabbos lunch is incomprehensible, but in my vegetarian family it was completely normal.
Because certain siblings of mine prefer their lasagna “kid style” it was always the classic pasta, tomato sauce, and cheese combo.
But at Grandma and Grandpa’s house in the summers, lasagna was made two ways, in two trays: One plain for the purists, one veggie for the rest of us. And with Grandpa, lasagna never had the same vegetables twice. Mushrooms, onions, carrots, zucchini, even beets — all were fair game. (And all delicious.)
Is there anything in the world that tastes better than the sizzling lasagna your grandpa made expressly for your arrival? I don’t think so.
So I decided to take a leaf from Grandpa’s book and play around with that classic recipe, though this time with the sauce instead of the filling.
A little help from Jamie Geller, and I was well on my way to making a white lasagna. If you’re thinking that white lasagna is like white pizza — skip the sauce, just enjoy the cheese — think again. This recipe replaces the traditional tomato sauce with a creamy white bechamel sauce that kicks up the flavor and (at least in my opinion) sophistication.
One suggestion: To make sure your lasagna keeps that creaminess intact, serve it fresh. Freezing just doesn’t give you the same results.
So yes, this white lasagna with mushrooms is truly delicious, and a great variation on the classic.
But what can I say? I’m a grandpa’s girl. And I’d take a piece of his lasagna over mine any day.
Based on Quick & Kosher: Meals in Minutes
Update 5/17/12: I recently developed a bechamel sauce for another recipe and realized the proportions that yielded that creamy deliciousness belong here, too. I’ve adjusted several ingredient amounts and the recipe instructions.
- cooking spray
- 1 box no-bake lasagna noodles (you’ll probably have some extras)
- 6 Tbsp flour
- pinch of ground nutmeg
- 6 Tbsp butter (for sauce) + 1 Tbsp butter (for sauteing)
- 3 cups whole milk (I know you want to use skim. Resist.)
- salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
- 2 cartons fresh mushrooms, sliced
- 2 cups cottage cheese (I use the middle fat percentage)
- 1 cup + 1/2 cup shredded mozzarella, divided
- 1 egg, beaten
1. Preheat oven to 375 F/190 C. Spray lasagna pan with cooking spray and set aside.
2. Make bechamel sauce: In a small bowl, mix flour with nutmeg. Heat 6 Tbsp butter in a medium saucepan and whisk in flour mixture, cooking over low heat for 1 minute.
3. Remove from heat and add milk, slowly, continuing to stir constantly to ensure a smooth sauce. Return to heat and stir until thickened, 6-8 minutes. You’ll notice a difference in the texture around the sixth minute. Season with salt and pepper and set aside.
4. Melt the remaining tablespoon of butter in a skillet and saute the mushrooms. Transfer to a medium bowl and mix with cottage cheese, 1 cup mozzarella, egg, and salt and pepper to taste.
5. Now it’s time to assemble your lasagna. Pour about ¼ of the bechamel sauce over the bottom of the pan. Cover with a row of lasagna noodles and 1/3 of the mushroom/cheese filling. Repeat twice. Spread the rest of the sauce over the top and sprinkle with the remaining ½ cup mozzarella.
6. Spray a sheet of aluminum foil with cooking spray (so the cheese doesn’t stick to it) and cover the lasagna. Bake 40 minutes. Now uncover the dish and return it to the oven for an additional 10-15 minutes, or until the cheese is lightly browned.