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Prep 45 mins
Cook 1 hr 15 mins
This is adapted from an epicurious recipe. It is an excellent choice for a dinner party, especially if some of your guests are vegetarians. It is very rich. I recommend Barilla "no boiling required" lasagna for this recipe, prepared using the Cook's Illustrated soak method.
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1 lb mushroom, sliced
- 1⁄2 cup chopped shallot
- 5 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 (14 ounce) cansquartered artichoke hearts, drained
- 1 (10 ounce) package frozen chopped spinach, thawed and drained
- 1 1⁄2 cups dry vermouth
- 6 tablespoons butter
- 6 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 6 1⁄2 cups whole milk
- 1 bay leaf
- 1⁄2 lb grated parmesan cheese
- 1⁄4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1 (9 ounce) packageoven-ready lasagna noodles (no-boil)
- 1 lb part-skim mozzarella cheese, sliced
- Preheat the oven to 350º F.
- Melt 2 tablespoons butter in a large pot over medium heat. Add mushrooms and shallots; sauté until the mushrooms release their juices and begin to brown, about 10 minutes. Add the garlic, stir well, and cook just until fragrant - about 30 seconds to 1 minute. Add artichokes, spinach, and vermouth. Cook until liquid is absorbed, stirring occasionally, about 10 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper (approx 1/2 teaspoon of each, but add 1/4 teaspoon at a time, mixing and tasting as you go).
- Béchamel sauce:.
- Melt 6 tablespoons butter in a large sauce pan (at least 3 1/2 quart capacity) over medium heat. Add flour & stir for 2 minutes. Gradually whisk in milk, and add the bay leaf. Bring to a simmer and cook ,stirring occasionally, until sauce thickens and coats the back of a spoon - about 20 minutes.
- Set aside 1/4 cup of Parmesan. Remove the bay leaf from the sauce, and add the remaining Parmesan, whisking well to incorporate. Stir in the nutmeg, and season to taste with salt and pepper - remember that the Parmesan will have added a lot of salt, so go easy and taste as you add any additional salt.
- Run your tap until the water is as hot as it will get. Place the noodles in a large bowl - big enough to hold them whole. Cover the noodles with hot tap water and let sit for 5 minutes. Drain.
- DO NOT LET THE NOODLES SIT IN THE WATER FOR MORE THAN 5 MINUTES - THEY WILL BECOME TOO SOGGY. I make the filling and the béchamel sauce, and then when they are done I soak the noodles, drain them and assemble the lasagna - this prevents you from becoming distracted and letting the noodles soak for too long.
- Grease a 13x9x2 inch baking dish. Spread 1 1/3 cup of béchamel sauce over the bottom of the dish, and top with enough noodles to cover the bottom of the dish. Spread 1/3 of the artichoke mixture over the noodles, then top with 1 1/3 cups of béchamel sauce, and cover the béchamel with 1/3 of the mozzarella slices. Repeat layering two more times - you will have three layers in all. Sprinkle the remaining Parmesan over the top of the mozzarella of the last layer. (Lasagna can be prepared one day ahead - cover tightly with foil and refrigerate).
- Cover tightly with foil and bake at 350º F for 1 hour (1 hour and 15 minutes if chilled). Remove foil and increase oven temp to 450º F - bake for 10 to 15 minutes more until golden on top. Allow to sit for 15 minutes before cutting.
- This is even better if prepared a day ahead and reheated before serving - omit the browning step, and refrigerate still covered in foil. One hour before serving, reheat the foil-covered lasagna in a 325º F degree oven for 30 minutes, then remove foil and brown at 450º F for 10 to 15 minutes. Allow to sit for 15 minutes before cutting.