MUSHROOM AND PARMA HAM LASAGNE
600 - 700 g fresh penny-bun mushrooms or other boletes
100 - 200 g paper-thin slices of Parma ham
unflavoured lasagna sheets (preferably fresh)
about 300 g Parmesan cheese
50 g butter
4 - 4½ tbsp coarse wheat flour
800 ml whole milk
dash of grated nutmeg
In lack of wild penny-buns, you may use cultivated mushrooms, like a mixture of brown champignons and shiitake mushrooms. If you like, you can make your own fresh pasta sheets. It is really simple, just follow the instructions given here.
Finely grate the cheese and set aside. Slice the mushrooms thinly and fry them in a skillet in batches, until the moisture has evaporated and the mushrooms are slightly browned.
Prepare the béchamel sauce. In a large, thick-bottomed saucepan, bring the milk slowly to the boil, stirring every now and then. Meanwhile, in another large saucepan, slowly melt the butter without letting it brown. Whisk the flour into the butter a little at a time, until a smooth paste is formed.
Increase the heat and let the mixture bubble for about 2 minutes, stirring continually. Do not let the mixture brown. Take the pan off the heat. As soon as the bubbling ceases, pour in the boiling hot milk, whisking vigorously.
Place the pan back on the stove and bring the mixture to the boil, stirring continually. Let the mixture simmer until it has thickened sufficiently, stirring every now and then. Add some milk, if the sauce seems too thick. To remove any possible lumps, strain the sauce through a fine sieve.
Season the sauce with a dash of white pepper and nutmeg. Add half of the grated cheese into the sauce and mix until the cheese has melted.
Assemble the lasagne. Spread a little béchamel sauce on the bottom of a buttered lasagne dish. Cover with a layer of lasagna sheets. Add a layer of mushrooms, ham slices and grated cheese. Drizzle a bit of truffle oil on the ingredients. Spoon some béchamel sauce on and top with another layer of lasagna sheets.
Continue layering the ingredients in the dish, until they are all used up. Top the dish with a layer of béchamel sauce and the rest of the grated cheese. Dot the surface with pats of butter.
Bake the lasagne at 190 °C for 20 to 30 minutes, or until the surface is nicely browned. Let the lasagne stand and firm up for about 10 minutes before cutting and serving.
Recipe source: adapted from "Porcini (Cep) Lasagne" by Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall/BBC Food website (2003).