Photo Credit: Elizabeth Newman
This dish, which is essentially a lasagna, is a baked pasta that hails from the Marche region in Italy. There are many different versions of it out there, but the two main qualifiers are a ragu and bechamel sauce. For my version, I opted for a blend of mushrooms and bacon to give it a great savory, umami flavor, infused with my favorite herb: thyme. Bechamel is so creamy and comforting, and one of my favorite sauces with pasta. All together, this dish is the definition of comfort.
Giada's Mushroom and Bacon Lasagna (Vincisgrassi)
For the sauce:
- 1/2 cup 1 stick unsalted butter
- 2/3 cup all-purpose flour
- 5 cups whole milk at room temperature
- 1 dried bay leaf
- 1 tablespoon kosher salt
For the lasagna:
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1/2 pound 8ounces diced bacon
- 2 pounds mixed mushrooms such as portabella cremini or royal trumpet, diced
- 2 1/4 teaspoons kosher salt divided
- 1/2 red onion diced
- 1 carrot peeled and diced
- 1 celery stalk diced
- 2 garlic cloves chopped
- 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1/2 cup white wine
- 12 no-boil flat lasagna noodles
- 2 1/4 cups freshly grated parmesan cheese
- In a large saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. Whisk in the flour to form a smooth paste. Cook for 3 minutes whisking constantly. Slowly whisk in the milk until smooth. Add the bay leaf and salt and bring the mixture to a simmer whisking occasionally. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for 20 minutes stirring occasionally to prevent burning. Remove and discard the bay leaf.
- While that simmers, start the filling. Add the oil and bacon to a large skillet. Place the skillet over medium heat and cook, stirring often for about 15 minutes or until the bacon is crispy and golden brown and the fat is rendered. Using a slotted spoon, remove the bacon to a paper towel lined plate. If needed, drain off all but 3 tablespoons of the fat from the pan. To the hot pan add the mushrooms and 1 teaspoon salt. Increase the heat to medium high. Stir with a wooden spoon for 15 minutes or until the mushrooms have released their liquid and are beginning to brown. Add the onion, carrot, celery, garlic, thyme and remaining salt and cook until fragrant, the vegetables are soft and the mushrooms have browned, about 5 minutes longer. Deglaze with the white wine. Simmer until the liquid is almost entirely evaporated, about 4 minutes. Stir in the reserved bacon.
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Butter a 9×13 baking dish.
- Ladle and spread 1 cup of bechamel on the bottom of the baking dish. Place a layer of pasta over the sauce breaking the pasta to fit the pan if needed. Spread 1 1/2 cup of the sauce over the pasta. Spoon 1/2 of the mushroom filling over the sauce and top with 3/4 cup parmesan cheese. Place another layer of pasta on top of the filling and repeat with the sauce, the remaining mushrooms and more parmesan. Layer another layer of pasta and top with the remaining bechamel and parmesan cheese. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes or until golden brown and bubbly around the edges. Allow the lasagna to rest for 15 minutes before serving.
- Cooks note: This makes a 3 layer lasagna. If you would like more layers, simply switch to a slightly smaller baking dish and layer up!