Thursday, December 4, 2014

A Birthday/Lasagne Dinner Party: Roasted Portobello, Bacon & Kale Lasagne

I had a dinner party for my birthday a few months back and made two types of lasagne - one with a white sauce and one with a red sauce - Roasted Portobello, Bacon & Kale Lasagne and Two Sausage & Collard Greens Lasagne. I wanted something that would be prepped the day before and then baked up without too much effort the day of. It was my birthday, after all, and I didn't want to spend all day cooking. Lasagne is great too because you always get lots of leftovers!

hearty and delicious!

Here is my recipe for Roasted Portobello, Bacon & Kale Lasagne (adapted from this Bon Appetit recipe).

3 T. and 2 T. olive oil
10-12 large portobello mushrooms, cleaned and stems removed
8-10 slices of thick cut bacon
4 large shallots, finely chopped
1 large bunch kale
2 t. finely chopped fresh rosemary
2 t. finely chopped fresh thyme
salt and pepper

White Sauce:
4 c. whole milk
16 oz. broth (chicken or vegetable)
1 bay leaf
8 T. butter
2/3 c. all-purpose flour
2 c. (approx. 8 oz.) shredded Gruyère cheese
1/3 c. shredded Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
1/8 t. freshly grated nutmeg
salt and pepper

1 pound lasagne noodles, slightly under-cooked as they will finish cooking when you bake the lasagne
1/2 shredded Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese (to sprinkle over assembled lasagne)

See below for the step-by-step:

Step 1, making the mushrooms. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Toss cleaned and de-stemmed mushrooms in 3 T. olive oil (drizzle oil over mushroom caps and rub with your hands until the oil coats the mushrooms).

oil drizzled portobello mushroom caps, ready for baking

Place mushroom caps upside-down on two parchment paper covered sheet pans. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Bake at 400 degrees for about 45 minutes or until tender.

done! These were so fragrant and delicious after baking.
I would definitely make these again and serve sliced or cubed over pasta or a salad
(or just as a meal with some crusty bread). Yum!

Slice each cap into thin strips (approx. 1/4 or 1/3 inch wide) and set aside. A serrated knife works well for this.

slice each cap into thin slices and set aside

Step 2, making the rest of the filling. While the mushrooms are roasting, make the bacon, kale, and shallot filling.

ingredients for the bacon-kale-shallot filling

Cut the bacon slices crosswise into small pieces (approx. 3/4 inch or so). Finely chop the shallots, and both the herbs. Set the herbs aside.

Wash the kale and cut it into a chiffonade (long strips). You can do this easily by laying several kale leaves on top of each other, then roll them into a round (lengthwise) and slice thinly.

leaves are rolled up and cut into thin strips

voila, a chiffonade of kale!

In a medium, heavy-bottomed pan, heat remaining 2 T. olive oil over medium-high heat. Add bacon and saute until crisp and browned. Add shallots and herbs. Cook for about 5 minutes, until shallots are tender. Lower heat, if necessary.

cooking down the bacon and shallots; rosemary and thyme are added

Add kale, stir well, cover and cook an additional 5 or so minutes until the kale softens. It doesn't have to be completely cooked as it will continue to cook in the lasagne.

doesn't this look amazing? Bacon, shallots, and kale? I could eat it just like this!

Remove this mixture from heat and set aside.

Step 3, making the sauce. Shred the cheeses and set aside; grate nutmeg and set aside.

ingredients for the white sauce

shredded Parmigiano-Reggiano and Gruyère cheeses

Add milk, broth, and bay leaf to a large heavy-bottomed saucepan and heat to a simmer. Remove the milk mixture from heat and set aside for 10 minutes, then remove bay leaf and discard.

In a separate large, heavy-bottomed pan or medium pot, create a roux by melting the butter over medium heat. When it begins to get bubbly and foamy, whisk in the flour (lower the temperature, if necessary so the butter doesn't burn). Whisk for about 2 minutes to remove the floury taste.

creating the roux

Whisk in about 1 cup of the hot milk mixture, whisk well (this will help avoid lumps), then add remaining hot milk mixture. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low. Simmer about 5 minutes, whisking frequently. You don't want the mixture to get too thick because it will continue to thicken after you add the cheeses.

Remove from heat and stir in the two cheeses and the grated nutmeg. Season with salt and pepper. Set the sauce aside.

the finished sauce

Step 4, boil the lasagne noodles. Cook the noodles as directed by the package, but cook for slightly less time than noted (they will continue to cook when you bake the lasagne). Boil your noodles gently, so they don't get ripped or shredded. Drain and rinse with cool water.

gently boiling my noodles

If not assembling the lasagne immediately, drizzle some olive oil over the noodles so they don't stick together and gently toss (or use your hand to swirl the noodles around) to make sure all noodles get some oil. Carefully lay out all noodles and make sure there is a bit of oil between each noodle, so they don't stick. I used a sheet pan (they fit perfectly!) lined with foil.

my cooked noodles, lightly oiled

fillings made, noodles boiled...I'm ready to assemble

Step 5, assembling the lasagne! If baking right away, preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly oil a 13x9 inch glass baking dish. Spoon approximately 1 cup of sauce into the baking dish and spread evenly over the bottom. Layer 3 noodles over the sauce, overlapping them slightly, if needed. Spread about 1 1/2 cups of sauce over noodles (use more if needed), then layer 1/3 of the sliced mushrooms over the noodles, then layer 1/3 of the bacon-kale-shallot mixture over the mushrooms.

layering the sauce and two fillings

Three more noodles go next, then about 1 1/2 cups sauce, then 1/3 of the mushrooms, then 1/3 of the bacon-kale-shallot mixture. Repeat with 3 noodles, about 1 1/2 cups sauce, then the remaining mushrooms and remaining bacon-kale-shallot mixture. Top with 3 more noodles and the remaining sauce.

At this point I wrapped my assembled lasagne and refrigerated it overnight.

my assembled lasagne goes into the fridge until the next day

When you are ready to bake the lasagne, sprinkle the 1/2 shredded Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese over the top of the sauce. Bake in a 350 degree oven for approximately 45 minutes (or 1 hour, if out of the fridge), until golden brown on top and the sauce is bubbling up. Let stand in a warm place for about 20 minutes before serving. Enjoy!

baked up hot and ready to enjoy!

Bye for now...

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