Lasagna with Asparagus and Morel Mushrooms
The combination of smoky morel mushrooms with fresh spring asparagus gives this creamy vegetarian lasagna a sophisticated flavor. No-boil lasagna noodles make it a breeze to make, even on a weeknight. If you can’t find fresh morels, substitute 1/2 ounce (15 g) dried morels soaked in hot water for 30 minutes, drained and then chopped before using.
- 1 Tbs. olive oil
- 1 leek, white and light green parts only, thinly sliced
- 1 lb. (500 g) asparagus, tough ends snapped off and stalks cut into 2-inch (5-cm) pieces
- 1/4 lb. (125 g) fresh morel mushrooms, coarsely chopped
- 1 Tbs. chopped fresh rosemary
- Sea salt and freshly ground pepper
- 2 cups (16 fl. oz./500 ml) heavy cream
- 1 1/2 cups (12 fl. oz./375 ml) vegetable broth
- 1 garlic clove, lightly smashed
- 2 tsp. fresh lemon juice
- 3/4 tsp. freshly grated nutmeg
- 6 no-boil lasagna noodles
- 1 cup (4 oz./125 g) finely grated Parmesan cheese
Preheat an oven to 350°F (180°C). Spray an 8-inch (20-cm) square baking dish with cooking spray.
In a large sauté pan over medium heat, warm the olive oil. Add the leek and sauté until tender, about 4 minutes. Add the asparagus, mushrooms and rosemary. Sprinkle lightly with salt and pepper and sauté until the asparagus is bright green and crisp-tender, about 4 minutes. Transfer the vegetables to a bowl and set aside.
Return the pan to the heat and add the cream, broth and garlic. Bring to a simmer and cook for 5 minutes to reduce a bit (you should have 2 1/2 cups/20 fl. oz./625 ml liquid). Remove the pan from the heat, stir in the lemon juice and nutmeg, and discard the garlic clove. Season to taste with salt.
Spoon 1/2 cup (4 fl. oz./125 ml) of the cream mixture into the baking dish, and arrange 2 pasta sheets on top. Spoon one-third of the asparagus mixture over the pasta, sprinkle with one-third of the cheese and top with 1/2 cup more sauce. Repeat with two more layers of pasta, vegetables, sauce and cheese. Cover the baking dish with aluminum foil and bake for 40 minutes. Uncover and bake until the cheese is golden-brown, 6 to 8 minutes. Let the lasagna stand at room temperature for 5 minutes before serving. Serves 4.
Adapted from Williams-Sonoma Weeknight Vegetarian, by Ivy Manning (Weldon Owen, 2013)