Fall is a time that makes you want to get cozy with a glass of Chardonnay and a good friend and talk about cooking. The season calls for baking and braising and stewing, and we can all use a little help from our friends in perfecting techniques. So the timing is perfect for Ina Garten’s latest collection of rigorously-tested recipes, Cook Like a Pro. This is the 11th cookbook from The Barefoot Contessa, and she has said she’s aiming to help home cooks “understand what they’re doing wrong so they can do it better.”
The book highlights special Ina-approved cooking techniques and shares the same goal as her most recent Food Network series of the same name. Ina has already shared one of her favorite recipes from Cook Like a Pro: a one-dish dinner of tender mustard chicken with a crunchy panko crust, roasted fingerling potatoes, and a crisp, cold frisée salad with plenty of mustardy vinaigrette. Sample it while you’re waiting for the Oct. 23 release of Cook Like a Pro.
One of our favorite Fall recipes from earlier Barefoot Contessa cookbooks is comfort food like lasagna, and Ina’s special version is baked with mushrooms and a creamy bechamel.
Ina Garten’s Mushroom Lasagna
Total: 1 hr. 55 minutes, Active: 40 minutes, Yield: 6 servings, Level: Intermediate
- Kosher salt
- Good olive oil
- 3/4-pound dried lasagna noodles
- 4 cups whole milk
- 12 tablespoons (11/2 sticks) unsalted butter, divided
- 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1 1/2 pounds portobello mushrooms
- 1 cup freshly ground Parmesan
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
Bring a large pot of water to a boil with 1 tablespoon salt and a splash of oil. Add the lasagna noodles and cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Drain and set aside.
For the white sauce, bring the milk to a simmer in a saucepan. Set aside. Melt 8 tablespoons (1 stick) of the butter in a large saucepan. Add the flour and cook for 1 minute over low heat, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon. Pour the hot milk into the butter-flour mixture all at once. Add 1 tablespoon salt, the pepper, and nutmeg, and cook over medium-low heat, stirring first with the wooden spoon and then with a whisk, for 3 to 5 minutes, until thick. Set aside off the heat.
Separate the mushroom stems from the caps and discard the stems. Slice the caps 1/4-inch thick. Heat 2 tablespoons of oil and 2 tablespoons of the butter in a large (12-inch) sauté pan. When the butter melts, add half the mushrooms, sprinkle with salt, and cook over medium heat for about 5 minutes, until the mushrooms are tender and they release some of their juices. If they become too dry, add a little more oil. Toss occasionally to make sure the mushrooms cook evenly. Repeat with the remaining mushrooms and set all the mushrooms aside.
To assemble the lasagna, spread some of the sauce in the bottom of an 8 by 12 by 2-inch baking dish. Arrange a layer of noodles on top, then more sauce, then 1/3 of the mushrooms, and 1/4 cup grated Parmesan. Repeat 2 more times, layering noodles, sauce, mushrooms, and Parmesan. Top with a final layer of noodles and sauce, and sprinkle with the remaining Parmesan.
Bake the lasagna for 45 minutes, or until the top is browned the sauce is bubbly and hot. Allow to sit at room temperature for 15 minutes and serve hot.
This recipe from the 2006 Barefoot Contessa at Home cookbook is featured on the Food Network.
See More: Crispy Mustard Chicken & Frisée