Friday 26 September 2014

Foodie Friday - Gluten Free Mushroom And Basil Lasagne

You should know by now that I'm partial to the epic blog post, you know the ones, long and picture heavy, well I make no apologies that this is one of those posts. Way back when on the 7th September we celebrated Mummy Lou's birthday, sometime we celebrate by having a family event, other times it's just the two of us and we either go out for a meal or I cook something special for the two of us. This year I decided to cook, and for our main meal I made something that I've made many times before - My Mushroom And Basil Lasagne. This recipe landed in my inbox quite a few years ago now in a mail out from Goodness Direct, but it was originally from a sadly now defunct food blog called Polka Dot Mittens. I tried it and it was love at first bite. It's not the hardest recipe but there are quite a few steps to it all of which take a bit of time. It can be made a bit easier and I'll tell you how later, but unfortunately it can't be made any less calorific, yeah that's just the way it rich, luscious and perfect for special occasions x

Gluten Free Mushroom And Basil Lasagne

For The Mushroom Sauce

1lb 10oz Chestnut Mushrooms
1/2 40g Packet Of Dried Porcini Mushrooms
1 Carton Whipping Cream (About 142ml)
2 Large Onions
4 Cloves Garlic
2oz Butter 
1 Or 2 Tablespoons Chopped Parsley
2oz Grated Cheddar 
Salt and Pepper To Taste

For The Basil Sauce

1 Tub Of Fresh Pesto Sauce
1 Jar Of Good Pesto Sauce

For The Cheese Sauce

3oz Gluten Free Plain Flour
3oz Butter 
1 Pint Milk
2oz Cheddar
Salt And Pepper To Taste

For The Topping 

1 Ball Mozzarella 
2oz Cheddar

1 Pack Of Dried Lasagne Sheets (Around 250g)

1. First up your mushroom sauce. Finely chop your onion, and thinly slice your garlic cloves, and put them in a large pan with the butter, and cook until soft.

2. Put your porcini mushrooms into a small bowl and cover with boiling water and leave them to soak for about 20 minutes. Then slice your chestnut mushrooms.

3. After about 10-15 minutes your onions and garlic should be soft, so add your chestnut mushrooms to the pan. Don't panic if they don't all fit in at once, pop as many in as you can and leave it for a few minutes and you should be able to put the rest in. If you've got a lid put it on and cook over a gentle heat until the mushrooms are coloured and softened.

4. Right back to the porcinis, after about 15-20 minutes they should have softened considerably. Now what you need to do is drain them, through either a tea strainer or a sieve Don't throw the liquid away though, it contains great flavour so you going to add it to the mushroom sauce later. There still might be a little bit of grit left in the soaking liquid though so I usually end of straining it back through the sieve a few times.

5. It's pretty obvious when your chestnut mushrooms are done, the colour will have changed, the size will have reduced and there will be a lot more liquid in the pan.

When they're done add you porcini mushrooms

and your parsley and give it a mix

and then add your grated cheddar

6. Now for the liquids, first add the cream and then the porcini soaking liquid

7. It will look pretty liquidy but don't panic, cook it slowly over a gentle heat till it thickens slightly, and be careful not to boil it. It can take up to hour but low and slow is the key. It will also thicken a little bit when it cools. Once it's done set it to one side.

8. Next up prepare your lasagne sheets as per the packet instruction. I'm using Tesco Free From here which I just cooked in small batches for 10-12 minutes in boiling, salted water with a touch of olive oil added. You can use no cook lasagne sheets if you like, but once you've assembled your lasagne leave to stand for an hour before baking.

9. Pre heat your oven to about 180 C and now it's assembly time - I'm using my large ceramic baking dish here but whatever you use normally for lasagne will be fine, something none stick is preferable though.

All you do now is layer it all up, I just got two layers but you can do how ever many you like, first put in a layer of the mushroom sauce, 

Then on top of that swirl a few tablespoons of pesto sauce, you can use as little or as much as you like. Homemade or fresh is way better than the jarred stuff but how much you use is up to you.

Then put a layer of lasagne sheets, and repeat, till all your mixture is used ending with a layer of lasagne sheets.

10. We're on the home strait now and it's cheese sauce time. I've read all sorts of faffy ways to make it but this way works for me. Maybe it because it's gluten free but it's worth a try. Put the milk, flour and butter in a large pan, and apply the heat.

Stir, stir and keep stirring to get rid of the lumps, I'm using a mini whisk here but a wooden spoon or large whisk would do the same thing. Eventually it will start to thicken, and start to coat the whisk or spoon. Once it gets to this stage add your grated cheese and give it a good stir till it melts in, and season with salt and pepper to taste. Make sure it bubbles though to make sure the flour completely cooks out.

11. Pour you cheese sauce over your lasagne, and top with the remaining grated cheddar and the torn up mozzarella.

Then bake in the middle of the oven for about 30 minutes till golden and bubbly.

12. Once it's done leave it to cool slightly before serving. It's very rich so small portions are probably best, and I would always serve this with something to cut through the richness like the rocket leaf salad here.

My dish made 6 substantial portions, it fine eaten straight away but I actually think it's nicer if it's eaten the next day. You can keep it in the fridge when its cool, and heat it up either in the microwave or the oven till it's piping hot.

This is a long drawn out and slightly complicated recipe but you can make it slightly easier. In my opinion it's better to make everything yourself but of course you can buy your own pesto sauce, and even your own bechamel sauce to make it quicker. You can also make the mushroom sauce the day before, just leave it to cool, then refrigerate, and then reheat it either in a pan or in the microwave till it's piping hot before adding it to your lasagne. Oh and the mushroom sauce can also be used with normal pasta x Obviously this recipe is gluten free but it would be easy to adapt it, to use wheat flour and pasta

Yes this is an epic and pretty calorific recipe and it's not for everyday but it's so yummy and so worth making. It has a real richness, and savouriness. The chestnut mushrooms give it a real meaty texture making it ideal for vegetarians and meat eaters alike. Although I only make it once or twice a year, it's definitely one of my favourite, luxury recipes for when I just want to potter and spend some time in the kitchen. I really hope that you try this out, it's so worth the effort x Let me know if you do xx 

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