This lasagna recipe is perfect for use with fresh summer tomatoes. No ricotta or mozzarella in this, just a simple bechamel sauce with lots of sauteed mushrooms.
3 1/2 lbs fresh Romas or plum tomatoes or 1 28 oz can good Italian tomatoes
12 oz or 1 1/2 sticks butter
1 1/2 medium onions, peeled and halved
1 1/2 t salt
1/2 t sugar
1 recipe bechamel sauce:
6 T butter
4 T flour
1 t salt
Fresh ground pepper
2 1/2 c milk, warmed in microwave for about 1 to 1 1/2 minutes
Pinch of nutmeg (optional)
1 c fresh grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
1 lb fresh mushrooms (optional) cleaned and sliced or chopped
3/4 c dried porcinis (soaked and liquid reserved) (optional)
3 T butter
1 box no boil lasagna noodles
Wash tomatoes in cold water. Cut in half, lengthwise. Cook in a covered stockpot or saucepan until they have simmered for 10 minutes. Puree the tomatoes through a food mill back into the pot.
If you are using canned tomatoes, start at this point. (Canned tomatoes should also be run through a food mill or use an immersion blender.) Add butter, onion, salt and sugar and cook at a slow, but steady simmer, uncovered for 45 minutes. (I bring this to a slow boil on medium and then reduce my temperature to the lowest possible setting that keeps it simmering.)
Remove onion and slice into half moons and reserve for lasagna.
Directions: Bechamel Sauce
Melt butter in a medium saucepan. Add the flour as butter melts and use a whisk to blend flour into the butter.
When mixture is golden and velvety, slowly stir in the warm milk, stirring constantly with a whisk. Stir for about 15 minutes or until sauce is thickened and of smooth consistency.Season with salt, pepper and nutmeg until this tastes so good you can eat it from your spoon.
While bechamel and tomato sauce are cooking, start the mushrooms if using.
Heat butter in a large skillet. Add fresh mushrooms and cook on high heat until mushrooms release their juices. Let the juice simmer away.
Stir in strained and reserved liquid from the dried porcinis along with the chopped porcinis. Cook for a few minutes. Let liquid simmer away until the mushroom mixture is fairly dry. Season with salt and pepper.
Preheat oven to 450.
Soak 1 box of no boil lasagna noodles in very hot water. While these are soaking, prepare your baking pan. I used a 9 x 11 deep pan. Grease with 1 T butter.
Spread a thin layer of tomato sauce on the bottom of the dish.
Top with 1 layer of lasagna noodles.(I dry my noodles by running them between two fingers. This usually removes enough water.)
Spread with tomato sauce, some of the reserved onions and then some Parmigiano.
Now another layer of lasagna noodles and then spread with bechamel. Sprinkle with cheese. Add half of the mushrooms.
Now another layer of pasta and some tomato sauce and onions. Sprinkle with cheese. More pasta, Bechamel sauce, mushrooms and cheese.
One more layer of pasta with tomato sauce and onions, and cheese and finish with pasta and bechamel sprinkled with cheese.
You can always use more cheese if needed. I try to reserve some tomato sauce for pouring over while serving and you may also have some lasagna noodles left over.
Bake at 450 for 15 minutes or until top is light golden and sauce is bubbling.
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