Lasagna Al Forno

Serves: 4
Prep Time: 35 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour

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Ingredients for Lasagna:

  • 1 medium yellow onion, diced
  • 2 celery stalks, diced
  • 1 large carrot, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1½ pounds mushrooms, such as crimini, white, trumpet (mixed is preferred), roughly chopped
  • 3 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1/2 cup red wine
  • 1- 28 ounce can crushed tomatoes
  • 1 cup vegetable broth or water
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh herbs such as thyme, rosemary, parsley and oregano
  • 1 pound fresh lasagna noodles (homemade or store bought)
  • 6 ounces fresh mozzarella
  • olive oil, as needed
  • kosher salt, to taste
  • fresh ground black pepper, to taste
  • parmesan cheese, for topping
Ingredients for the Mornay Sauce:
  • 2½ tablespoons butter or olive oil
  • 2½ tablespoons AP flour
  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 1¼ cups fontina cheese, grated
  • pinch of fresh grated nutmeg
  • kosher salt, to taste
  • fresh ground black pepper, to taste
Tools:
  • 7 inch x 11 inch rectangular baking pan (or something comparable)
Procedure:
  1. Preheat oven to 350 F.
  2. In a large pot over medium heat, add enough olive oil to cover the bottom of the pot. Add the onion, celery and carrots and sauté until softened and just beginning to brown, about 10 minutes.
  3. Add the garlic and cook until aromatic, about 30 seconds.
  4. Add all of the mushrooms and turn the heat up to medium high. Cook, stirring frequently, until all the moisture evaporates and the mushrooms begin to brown.
  5. Lower the heat back to medium and stir in the tomato paste. Cook for approximately 1 minute.
  6. Carefully pour in the red wine and stir, taking care to scrape up any of the bits on the bottom of the pot. Cook until wine is reduced to au sec (3/4 reduced).
  7. Pour in the crushed tomatoes and broth. Add the herbs and stir until combined. Cook, stirring often, until sauce reduces by 1/3, approximately 15 minutes. Taste and season with salt and black pepper.
  8. While the tomato sauce is cooking, make the mornay sauce.  In a medium sauce pot over medium heat, add the butter or olive oil. Once the butter is melted add the flour and cook, stirring continuously, for 1 to 2 minutes.
  9. Slowly pour in the milk, stirring constantly while doing so. If you see a lot of lumps grab a whisk and whisk them into the milk. Cook for approximately 5 minutes, stirring continuously to make sure the bottom doesn’t burn, until the sauce thickens.
  10. Turn off the heat and add the fresh grated nutmeg and fontina cheese, 1/3 at a time. Stir after each addition to make sure the mixture doesn’t break. Taste and season with salt and pepper.
  11. To build the lasagna, spread a spoonful or two of sauce on the bottom of your baking pan. Lay the lasagna noodle over it, cutting it as needed to fit the pan.
  12. Top the noodle with tomato sauce then the mornay sauce. Repeat until all the pasta has been used but make sure to end with the mornay sauce on top.
  13. Tear the fresh mozzarella and arrange over the top. Bake at 350F for 40 to 45 minutes, until the top is bubbly and just starting to brown.
  14. Remove from the oven and turn your broiler on. Top the lasagna with fresh grated parmesan and put under the broiler for 2 minutes until a deep, dark golden brown.
  15. Allow your lasagna to rest for at least 15 minutes before cutting into it.



       
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