Photos by Ana Cuba
Recipes by Anna Jones from The Modern Cook’s Year courtesy of HarperCollins Publishers
- 30g dried porcini
- 450g mushrooms
- 25g butter, plus more for greasing
- Olive oil
- 2 tablespoons chopped flat-leaf parsley
- 150g kale, stalks removed, leaves torn into bit-sized pieces
- 300g fresh lasagne sheets
- 150g Parmesan, grated
- Truffle oil (optional)
FOR THE BÉCHAMEL:
- 1 litre whole milk or almond milk
- ½ small onion
- 2 bay leaves
- 8 black peppercorns
- 50g butter
- 75g plain flour
- 1 tablespoon smoked water (optional)
- Cover the porcini with 200ml of boiling water.
- Clean your mushrooms, using a brush or damp kitchen paper to dust off any dirt, then tear or slice them into bit-sized pieces.
- For the béchamel, heat the milk in a pan with the onion, bay and peppercorns until boiling. Remove from the heat and leave to infuse for 30 minutes. Strain through a fine sieve into a jug and set aside for later.
- To cook your mushrooms, melt half the butter in a large frying pan over a very high heat and add a splash of olive oil.
- Let the plan get nice and hot, then add half the fresh mushrooms and cook, moving them around the pan until they are browned and crisp (about 5-7 minutes).
- Season with a pinch of salt and remove the first batch to a large bowl.
- Put the pan back on the heat, add the rest of the butter and a bit more oil, and cook the rest of the mushrooms.
- Once the second batch is golden, drain the porcini, keeping the soaking liquid, then roughly chop them and add them to the pan of mushrooms along with the parsley.
- Stir together and tip into the bowl with the rest of the mushrooms.
- For the sauce, melt the butter in a heavy-bottomed pan. Add the flour and mix well, allowing it to cook for a couple of minutes so the flour loses its rawness.
- Take the pan off the heat and add the milk bit by bit, starting with small drops and stirring well with a balloon whisk to prevent lumps forming.
- Once you have mixed in all the milk, stir in the porcini soaking liquid and put the pan back on the heat.
- Bring to a boil, stirring constantly—the mixture will thicken.
- Simmer for 3 minutes, then stir in the smoked water (if using) and the parsley and mushroom mixture and heat gently. Taste and season with more salt and pepper if needed.
- In a bowl, scrunch the kale with a tablespoon of olive oil and some salt and pepper and mix through the sauce too.
- Preheat the oven to 220°C.
- Butter an oven dish (about 20 x 30cm).
- If you are using dried pasta sheets, boil the pasta in salted water according to the packet instructions. If you are using fresh, cook the sheets in boiling water for 2 minutes, cooking 4 squares at a time and assembling the dish as you go.
- Start with a layer of pasta, then sauce, then a sprinkling of Parmesan and keep going, building up the layers until you have used all the pasta sheets, and finishing with a layer of sauce and Parmesan.
- Bake in the over for 25-30 minutes, until golden brown on top and bubbling.
- Drizzle with truffle oil if you like, and serve with more Parmesan and some green salad.