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16 pieces

Béchamel sauce:

2½ tablespoons butter or margarine

2½ tablespoons flour

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2½ cups low-fat milk, heated until hot

¼ teaspoon salt

Freshly ground black pepper to taste

8 teaspoon ground nutmeg

Pinch cayenne pepper


1½ pounds cremini or white-button mushrooms, wiped clean, stem ends trimmed, thinly sliced

3 teaspoons olive oil, divided

2 teaspoons butter or margarine, divided

1 small onion, peeled and finely chopped

2 medium cloves garlic, peeled and finely minced

1 small red bell pepper, stemmed, seeded and finely chopped

1 (14½-ounce) peeled and diced tomatoes in purée

1 (14½-ounce) peeled and diced tomatoes, undrained

1 tablespoon minced fresh rosemary

1 tablespoon minced fresh sage

¼ teaspoon salt

Freshly ground black pepper to taste

8 teaspoon cayenne pepper

¼ cup finely chopped fresh parsley

8 sheets instant lasagna noodles

4 cups shredded mixed mozzarella and provolone cheeses

¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese

1. To prepare the béchamel sauce: In a medium-size heavy saucepan, melt the butter. Whisk in the flour and cook two minutes. Whisk in the hot milk, salt, pepper, nutmeg and cayenne. Cook, whisking often, until thickened, about five minutes. Set aside.

2. Prepare the mushrooms. In a large skillet set over medium-high heat, combine 1 teaspoon each olive oil and butter; heat until foamy. Saute half of the mushrooms at a time until cooked through. Remove from the pan and repeat with another teaspoon olive oil and butter and the remaining mushrooms. Remove from the pan.

3. Reduce the heat to medium. In the same skillet, heat the remaining teaspoon olive oil. Add the onion, garlic and bell pepper; saute five minutes. Stir in both cans of tomatoes, rosemary, sage, salt, several grindings black pepper and cayenne. Simmer five minutes. Stir in the mushrooms and continue to simmer five minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the parsley.

4. Spray a 9-by-13-inch pan with vegetable cooking spray, or lightly oil. Break two of the lasagna sheets into smaller pieces. Combine the cheeses.

5. Spread a thin layer of the mushroom sauce in the bottom of the pan. Lay two whole lasagna sheets on top and a few of the smaller lasagna pieces to fill in the spaces. Top with half of the remaining mushroom sauce; sprinkle with a third of the cheeses. Repeat the layers. Top with the remaining layer of noodles. Spread the béchamel sauce over the noodles and sprinkle with the remaining cheese. (The lasagna can be made in advance. Cover and refrigerate overnight.)

6. Remove lasagna from refrigerator an hour before baking. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Bake, covered with aluminum foil, 15 minutes. Uncover and continue baking 30 minutes. Let sit 10 minutes before cutting.

From The Seattle Times archives, 1995

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