This is a traditional style, comfort food lasagna reminiscent of what I ate growing up. I love incorporating mushrooms because they are so plentiful at this time of the year, but you could substitute something like zucchini or eggplant for the mushrooms, or just do an additional layer of sauce and cheese. I also use my husbands “secret recipe” Bolognese sauce in place of regular tomato sauce. But since I am not yet allowed to share that recipe in case Bobby Flay comes looking for a throw down! I would recommend using your favorite Bolognese sauce or adding a spicy Italian sausage to your tomato sauce. Of course, just using a great, rich tomato sauce with no meat is also a good option.
6 cups of mushrooms, sliced
2 Tbs butter
½ cup of red wine
2-3 Tablespoons of fresh oregano and thyme, finely chopped
32 oz ricotta cheese
2 eggs, beaten
½ lb pecorino, finely grated
2 Tbs fresh oregano, finely chopped
Kosher salt and black pepper
9 oz no boil lasagna sheets
8 cups tomato sauce, (with or without meat)
½ lb Parmesan, finely grated
1lb fresh mozzarella cheese, sliced into thin rounds
In a large sauté pan, add the mushrooms to a dry pan heated over medium heat. Sprinkle them with a little kosher salt and let them sit about 2 minutes. The mushrooms will start to sweat and soften. Add the butter and let the mushrooms cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the oregano, thyme and red wine, and stir to combine. Let the mushrooms cook on low until they are very soft and tender and they have absorbed the wine and butter, (you don’t want there to be extra liquid in the lasagna.) Set the mushrooms aside.
In a bowl place all of the ricotta cheese. Add the two beaten eggs and whisk them into the cheese so that it is a smooth and the two are well incorporated. Sprinkle in the pecorino and the fresh oregano and stir to combine. Add kosher salt and black pepper to taste.
PREHEAT THE OVEN TO 400 DEGREES
Assembling the Lasagna:
Spray a 13×9 glass baking dish with cooking spray. Add 2-3 cups of tomato sauce to the bottom of the pan and spread it evenly over the surface. Place 4-6 of the lasagna sheets over the sauce so that they evenly cover the surface. Spread ½ the cheese mixture over the noodles in an even layer. Add another 2-3 cups of sauce in an even layer. Place another layer of noodles over the sauce.
Spread the other half of the cheese mixture evenly over the noodles. Take the mushrooms, and evenly place them over the cheese. Sprinkle the mushrooms with half of the Parmesan. Place the final layer of noodles over the mushrooms. Put the last layer of sauce over the top of the noodles. (There will probably be about 2 cups of sauce left and I reserve it to serve with the lasagna). Sprinkle the sauce with the rest of the Parmesan cheese. Place the fresh mozzarella cheese rounds evenly on the top if the lasagna.
Spray a piece of parchment paper with cooking spray and gently place it over the top of the lasagna, and then top the whole thing with a sheet of foil. (The parchment will keep the foil from sticking to the top of the lasagna.) Bake the lasagna for about 45 minutes and then remove the foil and parchment paper from the top of the lasagna. Continue cooking the lasagna for another 15 minutes so that the top gets browned and bubbly. Remove the lasagna from the heat when done and let it cool for about 5-10 minutes before cutting and serving.