By Natasha Price of Alaska Knit Nat
This is my favorite time of year in Anchorage. It’s cool, rainy and above all, the forests are chock full of mushrooms. It’s a veritable fairy wonderland out there!
I grew up foraging boletus mushrooms (wild porcini) and this year they have been abundant. It’s prime mushroom time right now in Anchorage. If you’re interested in foraging boletes, check out my handy mushroom guide for an introduction (but be sure to read my disclaimer).
I found about six boletes in my front yard and decided they should go into a lasagna with white sauce to really show off their deep, woodsy flavor.
This. was. splendid. Creamy, cheesy, rich and mushroomy. All the things that are delicious. The boletes add such flavor and depth that meat wasn’t missed.
You can use grocery store crimini or button mushrooms if you don’t have fresh boletes. If you reconstitute dried porcini, I would use half crimini and half reconstituted as they are sometimes tough after they’ve been dried.
White lasagna with spinach, zucchini and porcini
- dried lasagna noodles
- 8 oz. fresh porcini mushrooms, cleaned and sliced (subsitute crimini or button if needed)
- 1 package of chopped frozen spinach, thawed and squeezed of liquid
- 1 egg
- 1.5 cups shredded mozzarella
- 1 cup shredded parmesan
- 1/4 cup chopped parsley
- 1, 16-oz carton of whole-milk cottage cheese
- 1 zucchini, sliced
- 2 cloves garlic, smashed
- 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
- salt and pepper
For the béchamel:
- 2 cups milk
- 4 tablespoons butter
- 3 tablespoons flour
- 1/4 teaspoons salt
- 1 clove garlic, minced
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Boil noodles according to directions.
Meanwhile, slice the mushrooms and zucchini. Sauté the mushrooms in butter until softened and the liquid has evaporated from them, about 7 minutes. Set aside.
In the same pan, sauté the zucchini in butter until softened, about 5 minutes. Set aside.
In a medium bowl, mix together the spinach, cottage cheese, egg, 1/2 cup of mozzarella, 1/4 cup of parmesan, parsley, nutmeg, salt and pepper.
Once the noodles are drained and are cooling, make the béchamel. Heat up the milk in a small saucepan over medium-low flame until just below a simmer. In a medium saucepan melt the butter. Add the flour and stir constantly with a wooden spoon for one minute. Add the one clove of minced garlic and continue to stir another minute while it bubbles but does not brown. Pour the milk in 1/4 cup at a time, stirring all the while, until it’s creamy. Turn off heat.
Assembly: Pour a 1/4 cup of béchamel into the bottom of the lasagna pan and lay down three noodles. Top with half the spinach mixture. Layer on half the mushrooms. Add another layer of noodles. Spread on another bit of béchamel, then half the zucchini. Sprinkle on some mozzarella cheese and add another layer of noodles. Add the rest of the spinach mixture and mushrooms and add one last layer of noodles. Spread on some béchamel, then add the rest of the zucchini and top with parmesan and mozzarella. Drizzle on any remaining sauce and top with some freshly ground pepper.
Top with foil and bake for 40 minutes. Remove foil and bake for another 15 minutes. Remove from oven and let sit for 5 minutes before slicing and serving.
I’m happy to carry on my family’s foraging traditions. Here’s a photo of my son picking a prime king bolete. He’s as thrilled as a boy on Christmas morning.
Check out other Alaska recipes by Natasha here.