6 October 2010

Vegetarian Lasagne

Last Sunday, I wandered out into the nearby woods with my Mum as she promised rich mushroom pickings.


And she wasn't kidding one bit - we picked a whole kilogram of beautiful girolles in just over an hour and we barely strayed from the main path either. And I thought last year was good.

In fact, every time we spotted a small group of the little beauties, it turned out that there was another group a few centimetres away, and another and another and you ended up feeling that you're picking up a trail of crumbs someone has sneakily left for you to make you go into a trap.

Of course it took us both over two ours to clean them up. And the big giant in the photo is a type of cep called tegelröd björksopp and translates to orange birch bolete according to Wikipedia. It was a nice find, they normally come out in August.

My Dad kept talking about doing some sort of mince based food, so I suggested I make lasagne, entirely home made. And I did, following my recipe from last year, but making two batches - on with minced pork, the other with the girolles we'd picked. And with lots of cheese on both, this time.

My Mum parboiled the mushrooms after we'd cleaned them. Mainly to get some of the liquid out of them, rather than anything else. They all went into a saucepan and onto a medium hob and soon started releasing their juices. She stirred them every now and then and simmered them for about 10 minutes. Once removed from the hob, she stirred in a piece of butter and that was it.

The batches below refer to the amounts in my original recipe.


1 batch of pasta dough
1 batch of Béchamel sauce
1 dl grapeseed oil
200 g chopped onions
250 g diced carrots
1 kg girolles
200 g green peas
200 g diced cauliflower
1 can of crushed tomatoes (400 g)
1 tbsp tomato purée
dried basil
dried oregano
dried thyme
salt and pepper
fresh dill
fresh parsley
oil or butter for the baking tin
cheese of your choice

  1. Make the dough and while it's resting, make the Béchamel sauce and parboil the mushrooms.

  2. Roll out the dough to four lasagne sheets and set aside to dry a bit.

  3. Heat up the oil on high and fry the onions for a few minutes until the go translucent.

  4. Add the carrots and the mushrooms and stir for another couple of minutes, until the carrots begin to soften.

  5. Add the peas, cauliflower, canned tomatoes, tomato purée and dried herbs, then season with salt and pepper to taste.

  6. Let simmer for about 10 minutes, then add the fresh herbs, stir through and remove from the heat.Pre-heat the oven to 200 degrees C.
  7. Grease a deep baking dish, then line with one pasta sheet. Cover with a quarter of the Béchamel sauce and a third of the mushroom filling. Then sprinkle a little cheese, before covering with the next pasta sheet.

  8. Repeat with the remaining parts, ending with a pasta sheet, covered with the last quarter of the Béchamel sauce, then sprinkle generously with grated cheese and bake for about an hour.

  9. If it looks like the cheese is browning too much, cover with a sheet of aluminium foil. Let the lasagne rest for 5 minutes after taking it out of the oven and before serving it.

The peas and cauliflower were my Mum's idea and she also suggested courgettes and aubergines, but she didn't have either of them. We also managed to fill the baking dish to the brim and it overflowed a bit, since the lasagne will expand a bit during baking. The Béchamel sauce was made with lactose free milk and it worked just as well as with regular milk. Since we used fresh mushrooms, there was no liquid from any cans to add to the sauce, so it was milk all the way through, which made it even creamier I think.

As for the cheeses, we used several - a spicy chilli cheddar in the bottom layer, followed by two layers of parmesan and finally topped with a Swedish grated cheese, possibly Herrgårds, but I'm not sure.

And it was extremely yummy, my Mum even had seconds. I think the meat version was also quite good, my Sister asked for some to take home afterwards.


We finished off with the remaining four glasses of panna cotta and bilberry jam. So a full blown Italian meal, practically.

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