Lasagna with Mushrooms and Ham. Sounds like a simply flavored dish, doesn't it? Well, it's not. It is a wonderfully flavorful dish that I want to thank Marcella for placing in her cookbook. Layers of thin homemade pasta sheets, in between layers of a mushroom, ham, and bechamel sauce filling, and all layered with Parmesan cheese.
What a great intense mushroom flavor this had. The recipe calls for 1 1/2 pounds of button mushrooms and 2 ounces of dried porcini mushrooms. I had a lot of porcini mushrooms that I had bought in bulk last year. These mushrooms seem to have a very intense strong flavor, stronger than most dried porcini. The complex flavor they added to this lasagna is indescribable.
I served this to some girl friends who came over for a "Girls Night Out". One of the girls doesn't eat ham and so I made part of the dish with mushrooms only and without the ham. Although I preferred it with the ham, it is still excellent if you're looking for a meatless lasagna.
Making the lasagna noodles seemed a little labor intensive, but was actually pretty quick. You roll out the pasta, then par-boil it for just a few seconds. Marcella explains the process of quickly cooking the pasta, then transferring it to a bowl of ice cold water to stop the cooking process. You then take your fingers and rub the pasta to remove excess starch, then place on kitchen towels and dry slightly. By doing this, the pasta was nicely firm and not sticky at all when cooked.
It's nice the lasagna can be made up to 2 days in advance. I made mine about 2 hours in advance and was very happy to find I only had to place it in the oven for 15-30 minutes to heat through and lightly finish cooking the pasta.
Again, another recipe that I'll be making again in the future. Marcella, thank you again.