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White Lasagne with Artichokes and Mushrooms

White Lasagne with Artichokes and Mushrooms

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3 oz butter
1 lb leeks, white parts only, sliced
2 jars artichokes (about 15 large), sliced
Leaves from a few sprigs of fresh thyme, or 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
Sea salt and freshly cracked pepper
1 glass dry white wine
1 1/3 cup vegetable broth

1-2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
3 garlic cloves, smashed
Leaves from a few sprigs of fresh thyme, or 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
8 oz shiitake mushrooms, wiped clean, stems removed, and sliced

Mornay Sauce (*see note below)

20-25 sheets of dried or fresh lasagne


Make the artichokes first. Melt the butter over medium heat in a saucepan large enough to accommodate the artichokes. Add the sliced leeks and fry lightly until they begin to wilt. Add the artichokes, the thyme, and a pinch of salt and pepper. Cook for 1 minute and then add the wine. Boil gently until most of the liquid has evaporated. Add the broth. Cover and simmer over low heat for 20 minutes.

Next, make the mushrooms. In a saucepan, fry the garlic in the olive oil for a few minutes (it works well to tip the pan to one side over the heat so all of the oil congregates in one area and the garlic is submerged; also prevents the garlic from overcooking). When the oil has taken on the aroma of the garlic, add the mushrooms (garlic can be removed if you think it might burn). Toss the mushrooms in the oil, add the thyme, and then leave them to sear in the pan; toss again when they have browned on one side. Once they have released some water, add a little salt and set aside to cool.

The artichokes should be done cooking by now. If needed, adjust the seasoning, and then set aside to cool.

Put a large pot of water on the stove to boil the pasta.

*Meanwhile, make the Mornay sauce. (I would make 4 cups instead of 3 cups: so 4 tablespoons butter, 4 tablespoons flour, and 4 cups milk; adjust cheese accordingly.) Taste and adjust the sauce until it tastes good to you (add more cheese if needed; I also threw in some pecorino romano at the end). This is the base of the dish so you want it to be just right.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

For lasagne assembly, butter a 9 1/2″-by-12″ baking pan. Spread a layer of Mornay sauce on the bottom of the pan, and then cover with a layer of pasta, slightly overlapping them as you go from end to end. Add another layer of Mornay sauce, then the artichokes, the mushrooms, and another layer of pasta. Repeat this layering and finish with any leftover Mornay sauce and a sprinkling of parmigiano reggiano on the top to achieve a golden crust.

Bake 30 minutes or until golden and bubbling. Remove and let sit for a few minutes, and then serve.

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