Spicy Mushroom Lasagna

When the very first Ottolenghi book came out, I had no idea what this mysterious restaurant, or person, was. But I was immediately captivated by the spectacular salads, cakes, vegetables, flatbreads, and more piled up on tables at Ottolenghi. The pictures in the book had a vibrancy that I’d not seen in any other cookbook before; mounds of vibrant-green fresh herbs piled atop salads, charred vegetables and lavish use of tahini (which I narrowly once thought was only used to make hummus), and plum-marzipan cakes with the rosy, glistening fruit juices sliding off the top and pooling at the bottom. Wow.

We’ve since seen that style in plenty of other books, but the Ottolenghi books continue to evolve and each one marks another evolution in Yotam Ottolenghi’s cooking. And even when you don’t think he could come up with another great idea, he does.

Flavor is Yotam Ottlenghi’s latest book which he’s written with Ixta Belfrage. The title refers to the concept of the book, which is about how (and which) ingredients can be used to amplify flavors when cooking and baking. Ixta had a multicultural upbringing and she’s brought references and flavors from around the world in this book, which includes this Spicy Mushroom Lasagna. The recipe features dried and fresh mushrooms, as well as dried chiles, likely influenced by Mexico where she spent time with her grandfather, who lived there. The photo of it in the book made me want to make it. So I did!

The “get to the recipe” folks might want to make good use of their thumbs to scroll down to the recipe, but I’m not going to lie to you. I picked one of the more challenging recipes from the book, although the easier-looking the Iceberg Lettuce Salad with Smoky Eggplant Cream (page 38), Za’atar Cacio e Pepe (page 104), Broccolini with Mushroom Ketchup and Nori (page 227), and the Tangerine and Ancho Chili Flan (page 278, which I think is next…) also have my name on them. But first, I needed to tackle this lasagna.

Fortunately, I keep a big stock of dried chiles on hand, but went on a scavenger hunt around town before our current lockdown, getting the ingredients, hitting supermarkets, the outdoor market, and the Italian épicerie, to gather everything else I needed. The dried mushrooms were the biggest challenge, which I located at Monoprix; three canisters for €13 ($15.)

My heart skipped a beat when I first saw the dried morels on the same shelf, which were four times the price, but was relieved to see the dried cèpes next to them. It seemed a lot to shell out for just one ingredient but reasoned that when we go out to dinner, a main course usually runs at least €15-20, and a bottle of wine more than that. And honestly, a chicken for roasting at home costs at least that. So why am I balking at spending €13 for a recipe that feeds six?

The other ingredients were easy to find, and easier on the wallet, with the possible exception of the oyster mushrooms, called pleurottes in French. Those ran about €6 ($7), but still, I was feeding my two favorite people – me and Romain – so why not?

Okay, back home, and on to the recipe: The outline of it is that you make a mushroom ragù. Usually made with meat, since all the recipes in Flavor are vegetarian or vegan, the fresh mushrooms replace the meat, and the dried mushrooms along with their soaking liquid provides a savory richness to the sauce. The generous pile of mushrooms cooks down a lot in the oven, and while I was skeptical when I put the overloaded baking sheet in there to cook, around thirty minutes later, and a few good stirs, they were indeed cooked down to a near crisp.

Separately, in a large skillet or Dutch oven, you make a thick stew or ragù starting with a base of onions, carrots, and garlic, then add fresh tomatoes and tomato paste, then chopped dried mushrooms and chiles, and their soaking liquid, as well as the roasted mushrooms and cook until thickened. It gets a good splash of cream (which is optional) and a few more good stirs on the heat until it’s a thick sauce. Sounds easy, right?

Yotam and Ixta are ace recipe writers but I took it upon myself to recast the recipe order a little, since I’m not the sharpest knife in the drawer. Before you start, I recommend getting all the ingredients measured out and together on the counter, what’s called a mise en place, before starting to assemble the lasagna.

I recommend doing that because I made a goof in the order of things when I made this, but in the end, everything ended up in the same skillet. It’s just food and it’s all going to the same place.

No-boil noodles I’ve learned are the norm here and that’s what they use in the book. They absorb some of the liquid while baking. I didn’t find this lasagne dry but if your mushroom ragù is a little more liquidy than mine, I think that’s a good thing.  I’ve added additional notes in the recipe and the in headnote but I have to say, Romain absolutely swooned over this, and so did I. It truly lives up to the title of the book and is packed with flavor.

Spicy Mushroom Lasagna

Adapted from Flavor by Yotam Ottolenghi and Ixta Belfrage
The lasagna uses fresh brown button mushrooms (chestnut mushrooms) and oyster mushrooms, as well as dried mushrooms. It's a vegetarian recipe that everyone will love, and can easily be made vegan, too.
It does require a little extra shopping than most recipes, and involves a few steps to assemble. I recast it a bit and here are some tips that'll help you:
-The original recipe called for both dried porcini (90g) and dried wild mushrooms (30g) but I went with 2 1/2 ounces (70g) of dried cèpes. Feel free to use the original mix the recipe calls for.
-If oyster mushrooms aren't available or aren't in your budget, try using a mix of other fresh mushrooms, like brown and white button mushrooms, or using some portobellos.
-If you can't get both Parmesan and Pecorino Romano cheese, or don't want to buy both, you could use 4 1/4 ounces (120g) total, of one or the other.
-If fresh basil isn't available, feel free to use another aromatic leafy fresh herb, such as tarragon, chives, or dill.
-I used a Guijillo and pasilla dried pepper for the two dried peppers called for. You can use whatever dried peppers you like, according to your tolerance for heat. If you don't have dried peppers, add a few chopped fresh chiles to the onion, garlic, and carrot mixture. Once again, let your tolerance be your guide when choosing chiles as to how spicy you want it. Yotam and Ixta say they can be omitted if you're feeding kids, or people who don't like spicy foods.
-Because the book is vegetarian, the recipe calls for vegetable stock. Although I'm not normally a fan of bouillon cubes, natural foods stores carry cubes of vegetable stock, which are fine. (I used something similar here.) You could try diluted chicken stock, equal parts water and chicken stock, or just water. If you do try one of those, let us know how they work in the comments.
-Don't eat dairy? Yotam and Ixta say this lasagna can be made without the cream and cheese. And speaking of cream, I am nearly certain this recipe would work with whole milk in the ragù since that's traditional to add to ragù sauces like this. I am going to try that next time. Another option is plant-based "milk," such as almond or oat drink.
-I added a little fish sauce to the mushroom ragù to highlight savory flavor. You can use soy sauce, or omit it if you wish.
-I was cooking from the UK edition of the book, and converted the recipe from the fan-assisted convection oven baking times and temperatures used in the UK edition. If using a convection oven, you may wish to consult the book for precise temperatures.
The recipe takes a little time to assemble so suggest you get all the ingredients prepared and laid out in advance before tackling it. A do-ahead tip is to make the recipe up to finishing the ragù in step 5, and do the final assembly a day or two later.
Course Main Course
  • 2 1/2 ounces (70g) dried mushrooms, see headnote
  • 2 dried red chiles, coarsely chopped and seeds removed
  • 2 cups (500ml) hot vegetable stock
  • 1 pound, 10 ounces (750g) brown button mushrooms
  • 1 1/4 pounds (565g) fresh oyster mushrooms
  • 8 tablespoons (125ml) extra-virgin olive oil, total, plus additional for preparing the baking dish
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons kosher or sea salt, total
  • 1 medium onion, peeled and cut into 8ths
  • 1 medium carrot, peeled and cut into 4 pieces
  • 5 cloves garlic, peeled and sliced
  • 3 Roma tomatoes, quartered
  • 1/3 cup (75g) tomato paste
  • 1 3/4 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper, plus extra for serving
  • 3 1/4 cups (800ml) water
  • 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons (130ml) heavy cream
  • 1-2 teaspoons fish sauce or soy sauce, (optional)
  • 2 ounces (60g) grated Parmesan
  • 2 ounces (60g) grated Pecorino Romano
  • 1/4 cup (15g) chopped fresh parsley, plus 1 tablespoon for serving
  • 1/4 cup (15g) chopped fresh basil
  • 8-9 ounces (250g) no-boil lasagna noodles
  • To prepare the dried mushrooms and chiles, put the dried mushrooms in a medium bowl and the chopped chilis in a separate small bowl. Pour enough hot stock over the chiles to cover them and pour the rest over the dried mushrooms. Let both stand 30 minutes or until softened. When soft, set a strainer over another bowl or measuring cup and strain the mushrooms, squeezing out as much moisture as you can.
  • Chop the mushrooms, leaving a few of them coarsely chopped, and put the mushrooms back in the bowl you rehydrated them in. Strain the chiles so their liquid goes into the same bowl as the liquid from the mushrooms, squeezing them to get as much moisture out as possible. (You may want to wear latex gloves if your hands are sensitive, and so you don't get chile in your eyes later if you rub them.) You should have about 1 1/2 cups (340ml) of liquid. If not, top it up to that amount with water. Finely chop the chiles and add them to the bowl of chopped mushrooms. Set the liquid and chopped rehydrated mushrooms and chiles aside.
  • To prepare the mushroom ragù (the lasagna filling), preheat the oven to 425ºF (220ºC) and set a rack on the top third of the oven. Working in 3-4 batches, chop the fresh mushrooms in a food processor (or by hand) until they're finely chopped. (No need to clean the food processor as you'll be using it again shortly.) Spread the mushroom pieces on a large baking sheet and drizzle with 3 tablespoons olive oil and 1 teaspoon of salt. Mix them together with clean hands, then spread in an even layer. Roast in the oven, stirring the mushrooms three times during baking, until they are dark, well-reduced, and slightly crisp, about 35 minutes.
  • Finely chop the onion, carrot, and garlic in the food processor (or by hand.) Heat 4 tablespoons (60ml) olive oil in a large skillet (preferably one that's at least 14-inches/35cm wide, with high sides, or use a Dutch oven) over medium-high heat. Add the chopped onion/carrot/garlic mixture and cook, stirring frequently, until the vegetables are soft and starting to brown, 6 to 7 minutes. While the vegetables are cooking, finely chop the tomatoes in the food processor, or by hand.
  • Add the chopped fresh tomatoes, tomato paste, 1 1/2 teaspoons salt, and 1 3/4 teaspoons black pepper. Reduce the heat to medium and cook for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  • Add the rehydrated chopped mushroom and chiles, as well as the oven-roasted mushrooms, and continue to cook until the mixture starts to brown on the bottom, about 9 minutes. (The original recipe said not to stir them while cooking, which I didn't read. Oops. I stirred them a few times and they came out fine.)
  • Stir in the reserved stock from rehydrating the mushrooms and chiles, the water, and cook, stirring occasionally, until it's a thick stew, about 25 minutes. Add 1/2 cup (125ml) of cream and continue to cook for two minutes. Remove from heat and when cool enough to taste, and season with fish sauce or soy sauce, as well as additional salt if desired.
  • Prepare the herb and cheese mixture by mixing the grated Parmesan and Pecorino cheeses together in a medium bowl with the chopped parsley and basil.
  • To assemble and bake the lasagna, preheat the oven to 400ºF (200ºC.) Spread some olive oil in a 12x8-inch (30x20cm) rectangular baking dish with high sides, or a similar-sized baking dish. Mine has 2-inch/5cm sides and it didn't overflow. If that's a concern, place the baking dish on a baking sheet lined with foil before baking.
  • Spread one-fifth of the mushroom ragù in the bottom of the baking dish. Sprinkle one-fifth of the cheese and herb mixture over the top. Place a layer of the lasagna noodles over the cheese, breaking any noodles to fill in any gaps. Continue to assemble the lasagna, repeating those three steps in that order, so you end up with five layers of sauce and cheese, and four layers of pasta.
  • Drizzle 1 tablespoon of olive oil and 1 tablespoon of heavy cream over the top. Cover with foil and bake for 25 minutes. (The original recipe said to bake for 15 minutes but my noodles didn't quite get cooked thoroughly in that time, but they did continue to "cook" after I removed the lasagna from the oven and let it sit for a bit. But I think adding 10 minutes to the baking time at this point will do the trick. Next time I make it, I'll update that to be sure.) Remove the foil and increase the heat of the oven to 450ºF (230ºC.) Bake for another 12 minutes, rotating the lasagna midway during baking.
  • Finally, turn on the grill or broil setting and cook for 2 minutes until the top is browned. (Make sure your baking dish is sturdy enough to stand up to being under the broiler for 2 minutes. Mine is enameled cast iron and it worked fine but if you are unsure, skip this step. You can check the website for your particular piece of bakeware to find out their recommendations.)
  • Remove the lasagna from oven and drizzle it with 1 tablespoon of cream and and 1 tablespoon olive oil. Sprinkle with the remaining tablespoon of chopped parsley and freshly ground black pepper right before serving.

Spicy Mushroom Lasagna

81 comments

  • Kathleen Mann
    November 6, 2020 5:42pm

    David, you have provoked my first cookbook purchase in ages – since My Paris Kitchen, actually. I am an improvisational cook, taking occasional inspiration or tips from recipes I see online. This post shows me how much I really can benefit from the Ottolenghi books. Thank you once again for helping me to take my kitchen to a higher level. Reply

  • Sandra H.
    November 6, 2020 5:51pm

    I was wondering how this recipe turned out. Thanks for the lovely article detailing the preparation and outcome, as well as the very useful cooking notes! I appreciate the suggestions and substitutions. Reply

  • November 6, 2020 5:54pm

    Wow that looks and sounds delicious! I love Ottlenghi and was given his cookbook years ago by my Aussie family. I’ve used the recipes many times in catering for friends because they all work so well at room temperature. It’s very kind of you to share his recipe, thanks, David. Reply

  • November 6, 2020 6:31pm

    I had not pre-ordered this book, so I’m glad you shared this. Just went and ordered, and the Amazon hard cover was a steal at 14.99. I try to buy from my local bookstore most of the time, but couldn’t pass this bargain up. The recipe sounds amazing so can’t wait to try it. I have Ottolenghi’s Plenty and Plenty More and know these are amazing cookbooks. I always love seeing what you do with recipes, David, and your notes always help things come out better. Thanks again! Reply

  • Pauli
    November 6, 2020 7:42pm

    Why do so many people, even a lot of food professionals such as you call something “spicy” when what they really mean is “hot.”
    I am surprised that you are guilty of this misuse David! Reply

    • Kathleen Mann
      November 6, 2020 7:58pm

      Pauli, I think you have it wrong. The chiles guajillo and ancho are “picantes” not “calientes,” which is to say, spicy, not hot. I speak from knowledge – less than David’s, but this I know. Reply

      • November 6, 2020 8:33pm
        David Lebovitz

        Thanks for chiming in on the chiles (which you’d know more about than me, living in Mexico.) In English piquant means stimulating to the taste whereas hot indicates a burning or searing sensation. I don’t find the chiles I use to be fiery or hot, but they are delicious! : ) Reply

    • Ellen N.
      November 6, 2020 8:53pm

      Where I live, USA, spicy and hot are both commonly, and interchangeably, used to describe dishes with a high Scoville rating.

      I wish there was another word because spicy can mean either containing a high amount/variety of spices or containing peppers with a high Scoville rating. Hot can mean temperature hot or spicy hot.

      For clarity, I usually say spicy hot or temperature hot. Reply

    • Christine Casey
      November 10, 2020 12:50am

      It’s not hot. I made it. Reply

      • Christine Casey
        November 10, 2020 12:51am

        Why did my comment end up here :) it was for Pauli. Reply

  • Jan
    November 6, 2020 8:46pm

    Ok I am making this! I have this book and tried two easier recipes so far. I love your notes and suggestions! My husband is vegan so I will be adapting accordingly. It does look laborious but now that you have shared your experience, I am motivated!
    Thank you David! Reply

  • Pam
    November 6, 2020 8:54pm

    I’ll try this grudgingly not a fan of no boil noodles in the past. I love the Ottolenghi books but swore not to buy anymore. Just as you mentioned it requires so much work to assemble his somewhat exhausting ingredient list. I’ve had to mail order and run to several stores that sometimes it’s not fun anymore (rose harissa for example). He is a charming writer and his books are fun to read. Thanks for the recipe. Reply

  • Ellen N.
    November 6, 2020 9:00pm

    Hi David,

    As you and Yotam Ottolenghi are two of my very favorite culinary writers, it was a pleasure to see this post today. Being American, I need all the pleasant distractions I can get right now.

    I find that no boil lasagna noodles can remain uncooked if used straight out of the package. I put them in a pan of simmering water for about ten seconds prior to adding them to the pan. Reply

    • Rhonda L.
      November 9, 2020 9:49am

      Oooh! What a great tip! I live in Switzerland where we also have no boil lasagne noodles. I’ve struggled with getting the right amount of liquid to cook the noodles without having it either swim in liquid or become a mass of paste. I think your idea will solve the problem. Thanks for sharing, Ellen. Reply

  • Bricktop
    November 6, 2020 9:21pm

    Count me as a NO! on the no-boil lasagna sheets. They suck up so much liquid that unless your sauce is very wet, one ends up with a dry lasagna. What, it’s too hard to boil a pot of water?

    But this recipe looks like a winner for a vegetarian twist. My go-to is an artichoke, smoked mozzarella and bechamel version. Nice to add another arrow to the quiver. Reply

  • Alex S. Phx & NB
    November 6, 2020 9:53pm

    David, I meant to tell you before, your produce and photos are amazing. (I have all your books, blah, etc) The colors and texture of the produce are stunning.
    Stay well during the confinement. We have basically stayed home (except for grocery shopping) since March 15. Reply

    • November 6, 2020 10:23pm
      David Lebovitz

      Thanks! It was hard to take pictures of the lasagna because it was dark outside and we were anxious to eat it for dinner :) Reply

  • usi
    November 6, 2020 9:55pm

    I bought Flavours the day the book was released in Canada, to add to my much used Ottolenghi collection. We’ve already made several dishes from this collection and I thank you for featuring the Lasagna. It’s now marked for near term attention!
    The book is gorgeous, mouthwatering to read and eat from, but readers should be warned that, in true Otto fashion, the recipes not only require a well stocked pantry but also the time and stamina for extensive prep work. Reply

  • jane2
    November 6, 2020 10:03pm

    Heck, Yes! making this asap.

    I am avoiding Costco for the duration of the pandemic but giant canisters of mixed dried mushrooms are found there for around $10 which is a great deal. I suppose it’s time to make a big winter delivery order there anyway!

    Also as lifelong vegetarian I can suggest silken tofu as a cream substitute though I usually use coconut milk unless like here it would distract too much from the flavor profile.

    Thank you! Reply

    • November 6, 2020 10:22pm
      David Lebovitz

      I stores that sell ingredients for Asian cooking have dried shiitakes which are inexpensive but might not be so good here. (If using them, I’d soak them in something like sherry to give them more flavor.) There is a Costco near Paris which I haven’t been to but I know someone who goes so will ask her to check out the dried mushrooms next time she’s there. Thanks for the tip. Reply

      • jane2
        November 7, 2020 5:28pm

        True, re: shitakes. Agree those would not work well here. However the Costco ones in the canister were mixed forest mushrooms like boletes, chanterelles etc. From France, it turns out! I looked them up after my comment and it turns out they are no longer available at Costco but Amazon has them – but not at the Costco price.

        Anyway this recipe only calls for 70g, which I’ll pick up when I shop today. It’s just relaxing to have an entire pound available in the pantry – esp over winter. Cheaper by far to bulk buy a pound as well; instead of $8-10per oz it’s more like $3-4.

        Making this tonight – will try to post results here, thank you! Reply

        • jane2
          November 11, 2020 4:52pm

          I made this with adjustments according to what I had and it was delicious, thank you!
          – I had dried ancho peppers so I used two of those with seeds removed.
          – subbed silken tofu for cream.
          – used the last of my costco dried forest mushrooms and the rest were fresh crimini (I think oyster will add a lot and I’ll add them next time but I didn’t want to drive to get them this time haha)
          – someone here is allergic to red tomatoes so I used yellow cherry and cooked half down to paste while prepping everything else.
          – skipped the extra water because I soaked the pasta sheets for 30 mins
          – used a new-to-me vegan parmesan (Violife) which has perfected the flavor if not the texture but was still the best alternative I’ve tried yet.
          – I had bread crumbs seasoned with olive oil and salt in the freezer left over from another recipe and I used those to cover the top and they were great.

          In all a great success! Reply

          • jane2
            November 11, 2020 5:21pm

            Also pre-soaking the noodles meant only 20mins in the oven. With a food processor this recipe didn’t take that long to make. Under an hour plus baking time. I listened to Tedtalks while I worked and it was great : ) ok last comment. Can you tell I’m starved for socializing? hahaha

      • Toni McCormick
        November 11, 2020 6:07pm

        I’ve gotten oyster, chanterelles, trumpet mushrooms & fresh Asian types at our New Orleans Asian market. Since dried shiitake are inexpensive, I use them w Pacific mushroom broth, saved stems for stock base. Gathering the ingredients now. Costco had FRESH chanterelles for sale. Reply

    • Toni McCormick
      November 9, 2020 2:25am

      I wish the Costco in New Orleans carried dried mushrooms! Fortunately we belong to Restaurant Depot and I just picked up a huge container of Porcini (the Wild Mushrooms are awful) I find I can get wonderful exotic mushrooms a fraction as Asian grocery stores. I make my own mushroom stock so good to go. And fresh pasta too! Reply

  • November 6, 2020 10:20pm
    David Lebovitz

    Pam, Ellen and Bricktop: I used to try to find regular lasagna noodles at the grocery stores but I think they only sell the no-boil ones, as far as I could tell. Perhaps some of the Italian food shops have regular ones but I didn’t check. But I generally prefer them as they don’t soak up so much liquid. Next time I make this, I’ll try dipping them in boiling water for 10 secs first and perhaps cooking the sauce a little less so it’s runnier. Will update when I do! (Although since we’re in lockdown, not sure when that’ll be…) Appreciate your comments! Reply

    • Ellen N.
      November 7, 2020 5:30am

      Hi David,

      Where I live, Los Angeles, CA, it’s easier to find regular lasagna noodles than no-boil. However, I’ve come to appreciate the no-boil noodles. For me, the thinner noodles lead to more balance between pasta and filling in each bite. Reply

      • November 7, 2020 6:59am
        David Lebovitz

        I think the big, “regular” lasagna noodles we get in the U.S. are great for standard lasagna recipes but the thinner ones, like the ones used here, are more discreet so the finished lasagna is focused less on the noodles and more on the filling. I do like the idea of dipping the no-boil noodles in boiling water as another commenter suggested, or leaving the mushroom ragù a little looser. That’s the beauty of making a recipe a few times is that you can fine-tune it as you go! Reply

        • Michele
          November 7, 2020 9:32am

          No-cook lasagne sheets always sounds alluring but as you say, David, they seem to soak up the liquid in the dish. I now dip them in a large pot of boiling water using tongs for 10-20 seconds, then slide them into cold/iced water to stop cooking, then out onto the counter lined with a drying cloth. It’s a bit of a faff but in my view worth the effort. You have to be in a good humour, because some of it is bound to end up on the floor as it slips from your tongs’ grasp. Practice makes perefect. Lol.
          Thanks for the analysis of this recipe David, very useful. I’ve just been given Flavour so I’ll try it. Reply

        • jane2
          November 7, 2020 5:38pm

          Heidi Swanson did a post long ago on bringing home store bought fresh lasagna sheets and re-rolling them super paper thin for a “thousand layer” lasagna and I’ve always meant to try that technique. But I only make lasagna once every couple of years so it’s on the back burner. Reply

  • Jean
    November 6, 2020 10:44pm

    I’ve been trying to figure out which recipe I will try first. Everything looks delicious. Thanks for providing the answer! Reply

  • Maggie Beltrami
    November 7, 2020 12:03am

    I can vouch for the deliciousness of the Iceberg lettuce with Smokey Eggplant Cream. I made it a couple of weeks ago and it was wonderful. I used romaine lettuce because the head lettuce was looking quite sad. The charred eggplant and herb soup was amazing as well! Reply

    • Jean
      November 9, 2020 11:49pm

      Thanks I will try that next! Reply

  • Margaret
    November 7, 2020 12:09am

    I’m dying to make this — do you remember how long it took you to prepare? Reply

    • November 8, 2020 12:31pm
      David Lebovitz

      It took me a few hours but I had to figure out the steps and was also writing notes down to share how I made the recipe, which is a bit different than the way it’s presented in the book. Next time it’ll go faster because I understand the process : ) Reply

  • Pauli
    November 7, 2020 12:49am

    Why no comments for this recipe? Reply

  • Patti Pendexter
    November 7, 2020 10:52am

    This is gorgeous…a must try. SOON! Reply

  • Kristin
    November 7, 2020 2:44pm

    I love the texture of no boil lasagna sheets so much better than the kind you have to boil. My husband is not a mushroom fan, mainly because of the texture, not the flavor, so I am wondering if he might like this. I’ll have to give it a try sometime when we have leftovers he can have just in case. Thanks for sharing this recipe. It sounds delicious. Reply

  • Tríona
    November 7, 2020 2:58pm

    As in France, no boil lasagne sheets are common in Ireland. For lasagne and other pasta bakes, I have taken a tip from Ideas in Food and I now soak the pasta in advance in cold (lasagne) or hot (pasta) water for half an hour. You don’t need to watch them and I usually use the dish the final dish will be cooked in. Reply

  • Evelyn M.
    November 7, 2020 7:36pm

    I just made a meat lasagna and promised myself never again because it’s so much work. You’re tempting me to break that vow as I love mushrooms and never thought about a mushroom lasagna before! I have had trouble with the no boil lasagna noodles being too hard/crispy before, especially around the edges of the lasagna. My trick is to presoak them in warm water for about 10 min before using them. This helps ensure they are soft even if I don’t put enough liquid in the filling. Reply

    • November 8, 2020 9:56am
      David Lebovitz

      Yes, I’m definitely going to try presoaking them next time I use them. (Although I have to say, I like those crunchy edges!) Lasagna is general is a project, but the good thing is that there are usually leftovers and lasagna is often even better when reheated. Reply

  • rainey
    November 7, 2020 8:37pm

    MUST try! Reply

  • Penelope Remolif Brown
    November 7, 2020 9:22pm

    Two red chiles? What kind and what size? Makes so much difference. Reply

    • November 8, 2020 9:53am
      David Lebovitz

      Hi Penelope: I mentioned that I used “Guijillo and pasilla dried pepper for the two dried peppers called for” in the recipe. (Shown in the picture.) I don’t think they vary that much in size from one pasilla or guijillo chile to another, but you could go with spicier or hotter chiles, or less spicy and/or hot if you want (or what’s available where you live). Here’s a good guide to dried chiles to help you decide which ones you might like to use. Reply

  • Lotte
    November 8, 2020 11:16am

    I had to laugh so much, when I read your recipe as I made it just the day before using the same comibnation of chillies and adding soy sauce b/c mushroom + soy sauce = always a good idea. The other change I made was instead of cream I added dollops of ricotta to the layers.
    The resident food-demolisher and both really liked the lasagna :)

    Have a good sunday! Reply

    • November 8, 2020 12:29pm
      David Lebovitz

      Ricotta is a great idea! Reply

  • Jan Rutledge
    November 8, 2020 11:54am

    Hi David, may I politely ask why you spell lasagne incorrectly? It’s Italian and spelt with an ‘e’ (as on the packet you photographed)….and pasta noodles? Noodles are used in Chinese dishes and shaped like spaghetti. I’m sure Romain wouldn’t like you to misspell your French ingredients. Yottem (from Israel) spells it correctly in his recipe. I enjoy reading your emails and try a lot of the recipes, so thank you. Reply

    • November 8, 2020 12:28pm
      David Lebovitz

      Hi Jan: In American-English, it’s spelled lasagna whereas in English used outside of the U.S., it’s spelled lasagna. (Interestingly, in French, like most pasta dishes, it’s spelled in the plural.) You can read more about it here and here, the second link it to Mirian-Webster dictionary where they spell it with an “a” but say that it’s “less-commonly” written with an “e.”

      I haven’t seen the U.S. edition of Ixta and Yotam’s book but suspect it’s written with an “a” at the end. But if someone has a copy of the book, they can let me know. Enjoy the recipe! Reply

    • jojo
      November 19, 2020 1:57pm

      Jan, you answered your own question to David regarding lasagne vs lasagna when you said: It’s Italian and SPELT with an ‘e’…
      Is it ‘spelt’ or ‘spelled’? Depending on the region one is from, both are correct, as in lasagne/lasagna. BTW, spelt is also a species of wheat…see what I mean. Reply

      • November 19, 2020 3:47pm
        David Lebovitz

        Also Yotam is a friend of mine and he’d likely be bemused if I spelled his name wrong, rather than be irked : ) Reply

  • Anna
    November 8, 2020 4:47pm

    Hi David – I see you didn’t add the 800ml water in your written instructions, although it’s in the ingredient list. I made this adding the full 800ml, plus some red wine when adding in the dried mushroom broth to the ragu. It was very liquidy, but soaked up excellently with the no-boil noodles. I baked for 25 minutes. Perhaps that can help explain?

    Confinement greetings from Brussels :)

    Yes, the water is added – and I added it. The original recipe in the book didn’t list it as an ingredient, which some cookbooks don’t, but I indicated where I added it. Thanks for your feedback on how it came out & the baking time. Glad you enjoyed it! -dl Reply

    • Sarah
      November 30, 2020 5:35am

      Made this last night!! It was a considerable amount of work, but a good weekend project. Next time I’d do the chopping and roasting of the mushrooms the day before. Maybe even make the whole ragu. It was damn tasty though!!! I found dried mushrooms at Kalustyan’s in NYC (and lots of other ottolenghi ingredient suggestions). I left my ragu as saucier than shown in your photos, the no boil noodles were perfect and soaked up the extra liquid! I also added extra cheese because it seemed like too little. It’s not an overly cheesy recipe but even my addition didn’t hurt things. Will make this again, but in steps. Reply

      • November 30, 2020 2:51pm
        David Lebovitz

        Glad you liked it. Yes, it’s a bit of a project but it’s one of those things that once you’ve figured out the steps, you’ve got a better understanding of the process for the next time, and can make any adjustments as well. I also think extra cheese is a good idea! Reply

  • Fer Alemán
    November 9, 2020 5:16am

    This looks great. I wonder If I can find fresh mushrooms that are not portobello or button in my tiny city. Damn, I’ve been wanting to buy that book, but they don’t sell the uk edition (which has a beautiful cover) where I live and shipping would be unjustifiably expensive. Reply

    • November 9, 2020 7:33am
      David Lebovitz

      Hi Fer: Usually you can find some sort of mushroom but I only know what I can get in France and what’s available in the U.S. If you can’t get Flavour at your local bookstore, Book Depository sells it (and a lot of other books) and has free international shipping, in case you’d like a copy. Reply

  • Emma
    November 9, 2020 4:37pm

    To be 100 % honest, I don’t understand or I understand too much the hype on Ottolenghi’s cookbooks : they are inspirational, but I mean I bought one : who really makes recipes with 15 ingredients ? Who stores them ? and if you really want to cook his way you need a hell of a pantry.
    The photos are glorious, the recipes spot-on, the food must taste amazingly good, but in no way it can be a realistic way of cooking. So I found his books so frustrating : making me wish to taste, but too too many ingredients. That’s why I have ordered his “Simple” coobook : a less than 10 ingredients list sounds more realistic :-) Reply

    • Ellen N.
      November 9, 2020 8:59pm

      For me, Ottolenghi’s cookbooks, especially Plenty and Plenty More, have been fantastic gifts to my culinary life.

      I don’t eat meat or poultry. It’s a treat to have cookbooks where I can cook every recipe in them and they come out delicious. It makes me happy when die hard meat eater friends ask for the recipes when I serve Ottolenghi dishes.

      Some of the recipes, like the Very Full Tart, are special occasion recipes. Some recipes, like the shakshuka in Plenty, are everyday dishes that can be cooked in less than an hour.

      Most of the ingredient list tends to be spices. Once you’ve bought them, you’re stocked for the next time you want to use them.

      I enjoy spending the day shopping for ingredients and cooking. I love trying ingredients, dishes and techniques that I haven’t previously tried.

      I live in Los Angeles, CA where one can procure just about anything. I have two Middle Eastern markets within a mile of my house and our local farmers markets have pretty much any produce called for in Ottolenghi’s recipes. In fact, for this recipe I will only need to go to two stores, an Italian deli and a Japanese supermarket (for the fresh mushrooms). Reply

  • Toni McCormick
    November 9, 2020 10:06pm

    I tend to cook w 15 ingredients or more routinely. I can’t wait to try this particular mushroom lasagna! Reply

  • Toni McCormick
    November 9, 2020 10:10pm

    David, what is the difference between this ragu and a mushroom duxelles? Reply

  • Christine Casey
    November 10, 2020 1:11am

    This is sensational. I had most of the ingredients but dried mushrooms are expensive in Australia (about $5 for 10g) and not readily available at supermarkets so I didn’t bother to go shopping for them, I just improvised. I had a few dried forest mushrooms so I used those & boosted the mushroom flavour with a mushroom stock cube instead of vegetable, plus mushroom soy instead of regular and some porcini powder. The ragu was delicious even with the changes. It’s certainly time consuming to make (a food processor does help) but it’s very simple. I’ll definitely make it again. A ‘print & keep’ recipe for sure. Reply

    • November 10, 2020 9:18am
      David Lebovitz

      Glad you liked it! One thing about dried mushrooms is that even if you use a handful (like 20g) they do impart a nice flavor to whatever they are added to. When I make risotto with mushrooms for example, I sometimes soak just a few dried mushrooms in hot water or stock to add to the mushrooms after they’re sauteed. But the mushroom powder and stock sound like they do the same thing. Appreciate your feedback! Reply

  • rose
    November 11, 2020 2:35am

    3 1/4 cups (800ml) water
    2 cups (500ml) hot vegetable stock
    I’ve used the stock but where does the water get used? I don’t see it anywhere? Thank you! Reply

    • rose
      November 11, 2020 3:54am

      Sorry, found it in step 7. Reply

  • November 11, 2020 10:31pm

    Not only did you prompt me to buy the book Flavour, but to also tackle the spicy mushroom lasagna. My husband and I spent 3 hours yesterday in the kitchen putting it together, after sourcing Italian dried porcinis on Amazon and oyster mushrooms here locally in Maryland. What a labour of love but it was beyond worth the effort. Amazing flavours, though I can’t imagine skipping the dairy for a vegan version. The sweetness of the cream and cheeses compliments the overwhelming woodsy mushroomy taste. So glad I didn’t make half the recipe as I won’t be doing it again any time soon due to the herculean effort. Reply

    • November 12, 2020 9:22am
      David Lebovitz

      Glad you liked the recipe, Penelope. Yes, it is a project to make it, from gathering the ingredients to assembling it, but I thought it was worth it. I did go out and buy more dried mushrooms because I want to make it again but I think the second time one makes it, once you figure out the steps, it’s easier the second time. But I’ll see! Reply

  • Olivia
    November 12, 2020 4:18am

    Thanks so much for sharing. Made it close to as-written and it was delicious! ❤️ (Minor mods: different local mushroom mix, used chili flakes and urfa biber peppers, added red wine and ricotta to the ragu, as well as a little anchovy paste with the tamari, and used Capello’s gluten free lasagna noodles, which turned out great!) Reply

  • November 12, 2020 3:01pm

    It took me a while but in the end a super good lasagna came out! I ate it all with my family and I plan to do it again this weekend. Thank you for the recipe Reply

  • November 12, 2020 3:11pm

    I have a bag innoculated (if that’s the word) with oyster mushroom spore. Once they start “fruiting”, we will have more mushrooms than we know what to do with. This recipe is being bookmarked for the harvest. Thanks. – Kathleen Reply

  • Kay
    November 15, 2020 2:06am

    I made this. I used 2 chiles de arbol with seeds. Maybe a little too much. I added almond milk ricotta because I had some. I had homemade mushroom stock in the freezer and used that. I used 1% milk instead of cream because the cheese already has more cholesterol than I should eat. I made my own pasta. Jack says it’s delicious. I checked for swooning. I said that Romaine swooned. Jack said he’s not a swooning kind of guy. I’m disappointed. By the way, the Grilled Figs with Shaoxing Dressing from the same book is very nice. Reply

  • Sarah
    November 16, 2020 2:26am

    I love Ottolenghi’s recipes, but this was probably my least favorite I’ve ever made… It was a fair amount of work, expensive, and really underwhelming. Reply

  • Pam
    November 16, 2020 4:46am

    Just made this. It’s good! My adaptations were:
    -used 1 guajillo and 1 NM chile, because that’s what I had, removed seeds and septums.
    -used 70g dried porcini, no others
    -used a 5oz oyster mushrooms, with crimini, white, and portabello making up the rest. Next time because of cost will skip oyster mushrooms.
    -didn’t read the directions carefully, and instead of diluted broth, used a cube of vegan bullion for the mushrooms and another for the chiles (1 cube of brand I used usually rehydrates in 2c water…). This seems to have worked just fine. They were low-salt, so maybe I got lucky.
    -used too much water to rehydrate mushrooms and chiles, so boiled it down to 1.5c.
    -roma tomatoes are pink this time of year, which I refuse to use, so used 1 (14.5oz) can diced tomatoes. Drained/saved juice to use as part of the 3.5 cups of water at the end.
    -fresh lasagna sheets
    -Layered 1/2 with vegan parmesan, 1/2 with pecorino, because we have limited dairy digestion in the household.
    -forgot to add soy sauce or fish sauce, which I’m ok with.

    I ended up with ~2.67 qts of sauce. Used 1/3 of the sauce in 8×4 glass bread pan, froze the rest in two separate jars.

    It’s good. Never used fresh lasagna sheets before, and they were cooked through. I was concerned about the spiciness; love hot spice, but not in lasagna. Gratefully, the chiles give it a nice warming-type of spiciness, similar to but not as strong/spicy as red posole (IMO). Both the vegan parmesan and pecorino were great. Interesting, the half with the vegan parmesan was creamier than the half with pecorino.

    Thank you David, it was fun! And now we have 2 additional meals in the freezer. Reply

  • Mary Hayes
    November 17, 2020 4:03am

    This is a fabulous recipe. Thank you for the detailed instructions, David. I used dried porcini, which made it pricey, but so worth it! All the quantities were spot on, but since I used fresh pasta sheets I reduced the water to 2 1/4 cups and skipped the broiling at the end because I didn’t want it to dry out. Baking for 20 minutes covered with foil was enough, followed by the 12 minutes uncovered. It was perfection. Reply

    • November 17, 2020 10:20am
      David Lebovitz

      Thanks for chiming in! It’s not an inexpensive recipe, but I figured I spent around ~$20/€20 on ingredients and got 8 servings out of it, so that’s a little less than $3/€3 per serving. I did cut down a bit on the dried mushrooms in the original recipe and next time I try it, I’m going to use button mushrooms (brown and white) in place of the oyster mushrooms, just to see how it turns out. Oyster mushrooms are pretty reasonable, but I’m interested in seeing how it works without them. (But I do think the dried mushrooms are important to the flavor!) Reply

  • Susan
    November 18, 2020 3:17pm

    I was excited to get your new post about your changes in delivery! I hadn’t seen your blog in a long time amas it somehow got lost in the morass! Also, I’ve been vegan for 1.5 years and can’t cook a lot of your recipes. This mushroom lasagne is right down my alley. I, too, was amazed at the price of dried mushrooms but justify it as I don’t eat meat. During the pandemic I literally cook all our food so it’s all I do!! Also; I miss Paris (and travel in general)and can’t wait for this to all be behind us as I’m sure everyone else does! Thanks for the update to your missives !! A bientôt ! Reply

  • Abigail Menard
    November 18, 2020 4:35pm

    I am surprised that you searched for the dried mushrooms. When I am in Paris (sigh) I go to G Detou and they have excellent ones on the shelves in the window. Reply

  • Evelyn
    November 18, 2020 4:36pm

    Ottolenghi recipes never disappoint, so I was only too happy to give this one a try. I used baby bella and fresh shiitake mushrooms (thank you, Costco) with delicious results. My “thing” in these truly awful COVID times is to make do with what I can find easily or with what I have on hand and, honestly, I think I’m becoming a much better cook because I have to think outside the box sometimes. Love the newsletter, by the way, only the images didn’t come through! Reply

  • Evelyn
    November 18, 2020 4:51pm

    Looked again – voila! -newsletter with images. My bad…..or my lousy server… Reply

  • Scott
    November 18, 2020 5:34pm

    I made this last night–was extremely delicious. I made it using the original recipe’s amount and type of dried mushrooms because I happened to find them and I used fresh lasagna noodles because I had time to make them. I also cut down the amount of chili peppers to 1 because I’m not as tolerant of heat as others. But nevertheless it was a great rich lasagna and I’d make it again! Thanks for sharing David! Reply

  • November 18, 2020 9:09pm

    I’m so excited to try this recipe! Love the cooking technique used with the mushrooms. Reply

  • Marylou Bullen
    November 22, 2020 4:23am

    The sauce seems very dry to be cooked with no boil noodles. I had 5 cups so used 1 cup for each layer. The amount of cheese seemed small for each layer. I will cook it tomorrow for Sunday dinner. Considering adding some water to facilitate the cooking of the noodles. i did soak the noodles in hot water before assembling. Reply

  • Karen
    November 28, 2020 3:30pm

    This recipe is ok; certainly not worth the time and cost. Maybe add more chilis or some cognac? I made it for Thanksgiving, since our regular feast wasn’t possible. So disappointed that hours of work resulted in a mediocre dish. Reply

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