Roasted mushroom & potato lasagne with kale

This lasagne is a really nice alternative to a tomato based version. It’s good and hearty for winter suppers, and is even special enough for a dinner party or festive gathering. I’m including instructions on how to make your own pasta, but this significantly increases the effort involved, so no one will judge you for using store bought. Just layer it in the same way as instructed (if you’re using dried sheets, make sure to get the ones you don’t need to pre-cook). I love the flavour of tarragon paired with mushroom, but if it’s not your thing, consider swapping it out for thyme. Using the right size dish to bake the lasagne in is essential. I make mine in a Reiss enamel roasting tin. The size is 29 x 18 cm at the top, and 25 x 14 cm on the bottom. And lastly, this reheats really well, so if you don’t have so many mouths to feed, you can always freeze any leftovers you might have.

Roasted Mushroom & Potato lasagne, with kale

Serves 8

For the pasta
200 g ‘00’ flour
2 eggs
1 yolk
pinch of salt

For the vegetables
500 g chestnut mushrooms (or any combination you like), sliced
400 g waxy potato, sliced
3 garlic cloves, peeled and left whole
1 large onion, peeled and cut into wedges
2 tbsp olive oil
½ tsp salt
100 g kale, thoroughly washed and finely chopped (this is the weight after removing the stalks)

For the béchamel sauce
600 g whole milk
35 g plain flour
35 g unsalted butter
1.5 tsp dijon mustard
¼ tsp salt
150 g gruyère, grated
40 g parmesan, grated
1 tsp fresh tarragon, finely chopped
1 tbsp flat leaf parsley, finely chopped

To finish
1 ball of mozzarella, grated
35 g parmesan
100 g gruyère, grated

In a food processor, combine the ‘00’ flour, eggs, yolk, and salt until it resembles large couscous. Transfer onto a clean surface and knead until it forms a smooth ball. Wrap tightly in cling film and allow to rest for 20-30 minutes.

Divide the ball into four, toss each in a little flour, then flatten so that it will pass through the widest setting on your pasta roller (I use the Kitchenaid pasta roller attachment). Pass once through the widest setting, then again through the next setting down (should be slightly narrower). Lay the sheet on the kitchen surface. Fold one of the short edges in over the first third of the sheet, and then repeat with the other short edge. Your sheet should now be a third of the size it was when you first laid it down.

Reset the pasta roller to the widest setting and pass the dough through once more. Repeat, narrowing the roller setting by one each time, until you reach the second to last setting (or your preferred thickness). Cut the rounded short edges off your long sheets, then cut them down into more manageable lengths that will fit in the lasagne tin. Dust them with generously flour so they won’t stick together, and then stack them on top of each other until you’re ready to use them. Repeat with all four portions of dough.

Preheat the oven to 220°C, then line a large baking tin with baking paper. Add the sliced mushrooms, potatoes, onion, and the whole garlic cloves, then toss in the olive oil and salt. Roast for 15 minutes, then remove the garlic cloves and set aside. Toss everything around and return the tray to the oven for another 5-10 minutes, or until the potatoes have browned a little round the edges, the onion is soft, and the mushrooms are nicely browned too. Transfer to a bowl and set aside.

While the vegetables roast, steam the kale over some salted water for 4-5 minutes, or until cooked. Remove the steamer basket and set the kale aside to cool. If it’s very wet, you can squeeze some of the moisture out. Then toss with the mushroom and potato mixture.

For the bèchamel, melt the butter over a medium heat, then add the flour, stirring to combine into a paste. Allow to bubble and cook for a couple of minutes before adding the milk, stirring vigorously with a whisk. Add the dijon, salt, and pepper and mix thoroughly. Increase the heat to just above medium and stir continuously with the whisk until the sauce has thickened. Off the heat, mix in the cheeses in handfuls. Mash the reserved garlic cloves and mix into the sauce, and finally add the chopped herbs. Taste and adjust the salt and pepper to your liking.

Add a ladleful of the bèchamel to the bottom of your lasagne tin and spread so it covers the base. Lay sheets of pasta over the sauce to cover it. Add another ladleful of sauce on top, then a layer of the roasted vegetable and kale mixture, pressing it down to make it even. Repeat this two more times: pasta, sauce, vegetables. After the third layer of vegetables, cover the whole top with pasta and the remaining sauce. Distribute the grated mozzarella, gruyère and parmesan evenly over the sauce.

Bake in a 220°C oven for at least 30 minutes, or until the cheese is golden on top. If you can, allow the lasagne to cool for 20-30 minutes before slicing. Serve with steamed veg or a lightly dressed salad.

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