Wednesday, October 27, 2010

The Bechamel Success

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I always find myself slightly nervous when I'm trying a new recipe that employs a sauce or technique I've never tried before. Thankfully I haven't had any major issues, but I still get that little flutter of nervous anticipation in my stomach when I decide to tackle something new.

Thankfully my nerves were completely unfounded with this new recipe! I've never made a bechamel sauce before, but this one turned out to be perfectly delicious. I should have known it would, I have yet to make one of Ina Garten's recipes badly! This mushroom lasagna was proclaimed by my father-in-law to be "the best thing I've made so far" - which is high praise as he also loves my crabcakes and went back for seconds when I made veggie curry a few weeks dish so far? I'm definitely happy my forage into the world of cream sauce was a successful one!

The only thing I did differently from Ina's original recipe is I didn't use portobello mushrooms. They were just too expensive at our grocery store and I'd have to buy a pound and a I just picked up a pound and a half of regular pre-sliced mushrooms in the produce aisle. The lasagna was delicious and maybe someday I'll give it a shot with portobellos...or one of you should and let me know how it is!

The only slightly annoying thing about this recipe is that you have to use so many pots - so prepare yourself to do dishes!

Barefoot Contessa's Portobello Lasagna


- salt
- olive oil
- 3/4 pound dried lasagna noodles
- 4 cups whole milk
- 12 tbsp. unsalted butter (divided into a stick and a half)
- 1/2 cup flour
- black pepper
- 1 1/2 pounds portobello mushrooms
- nutmeg
- 1/2 cup Parmesan


Preheat oven to 375, then cook the lasagna noodles in a large pot of boiling water with a dash of salt and a splash of olive oil. They should boil for about 10 minutes, then drain them and lay them out flat on wax paper to cool.

2. While the noodles are boiling you can start on the bechamel sauce. First, bring the milk to a simmer in a saucepan. Once hot, set it aside. Melt one stick of butter in a large saucepan, then add your flour. Cook for 1 minute, stirring constantly with a whisk until smooth.

3. Add the hot milk to the butter/flour mixture all at once, then whisk in 1 tbsp. salt, 1 tsp. black pepper and 1 tsp. nutmeg. Whisk gently for 3-5 minutes until it is thick, then set the sauce aside off the heat.

4. Now its time for the mushrooms! Melt the rest of the butter in a large pan with about 2 tbsp. olive oil. Add the mushrooms to the pan and sprinkle them generously with salt. Saute the mushrooms until they are tender and have begun to release some of their juices - about 5 minutes. If they seem too dry, just add a splash more of olive oil. If your pan won't hold all the mushrooms (mine was too small!) just cook them in two batches.

5. Time to layer up the lasagna! Start with the bechamel sauce, then layer noodles on top, then another layer of sauce, topped with mushrooms. Sprinkle the mushrooms with about a 1/4 cup of Parmesan cheese before you top them with another layer of noodles...just keep layering that way until you end with sauce on top. Sprinkle the rest of the Parmesan on the top to finish off the layers.

6. Once you're done layering it, pop it in the oven for about 40 minutes - until it is all browned and bubbly. Let it sit for about 15 minutes to cool and then serve. We were so excited to eat it, I completely forgot to take a final photo before we dug in! I served it with fresh tomato bruschetta and a light spinach salad...what a great meal!

1 comment:

  1. I made this awhile back...we used portabellos and it was amazing!!!!
    and now that you have that sauce down you can make your own alfredo sauce, and other wonderful cheese sauces!