This open lasagna of mushrooms, pine nuts, and thyme with a garlic cream sauce is the fastest and easiest lasagna we’ve ever made.
We’re usually quite taken with tradition. That said, we’re also quite smitten with this unconventional approach to lasagna. It defies tradition by ingeniously slicing fresh store-bought lasagna noodles and stacking them to create individual portions that are embarrassingly easy to assemble yet seemingly quite elegant. Seeing as how this little number captures the richness to which we’re accustomed with relatively little effort, we dare say that usurping tradition, in this instance anyways, is for a just and noble cause. After all, when’s the last time you had homemade lasagna on a Tuesday?–Renee Schettler Rossi
Open Mushroom Lasagna
- 7 ounces (2 medium) fresh lasagna sheets
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 tablespoon olive oil plus more for drizzling
- 10 ounces assorted mushrooms, such as cremini, portobello, or shiitake thickly sliced (about 3 1/2 cups)
- 2 bacon slices cut into similar size pieces as the mushrooms
- 2 cloves garlic thinly sliced
- 1 tablespoon thyme leaves
- 1 really quite heaping tablespoon pine nuts lightly toasted
- 1/4 cup heavy cream
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
- 1/3 cup roughly shredded pecorino cheese plus more to taste
- Bring a large saucepan of salted water to a boil. Cut each lasagna sheet into eight 3 1/4-inch squares (you will need 16 squares total).
- Boil half the pasta squares until al dente, about 4 minutes. Using a slotted spoon or tongs, transfer to a bowl of cold water, leave for 15 to 20 seconds, then drain. Place the pasta squares flat on a dry towel, unfolding them if they clump together, and cover with another towel. Repeat with the remaining pasta squares.
☞TESTER TIP: Don’t worry if some of the lasagne noodle squares cook to uneven sizes; it doesn’t matter.
- Meanwhile, heat the butter and olive oil in a large skillet or saucepan. Add the mushrooms and bacon and cook over medium-high heat, stirring often, until golden brown, 6 to 8 minutes.
- Add the garlic and thyme and cook for 1 minute. Spoon off all but about 2 tablespoons of the fat from the pan. Add the pine nuts and cream and stir until combined. Remove from the heat and season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Preheat the broiler to medium-high. Place a pasta square in each of 4 shallow heatproof pasta bowls. Place a heaping spoonful of mushrooms and sauce on top of each pasta square. Repeat the layering twice so you end up with a stack containing 3 layers each of pasta and sauce. Top each stack with another pasta square, drizzle with olive oil, and sprinkle with the cheese.
- Place the bowls of lasagna under the broiler until the cheese melts, 1 to 2 minutes. Serve hot or warm.
Open Mushroom Lasagna VariationWe quite like the ease and elegance of this recipe as-is. But don’t be a slave to the specifics. The basic concept is easily translatable to just about any pasta-ish ingredients you fancy, including more conventional lasagna fixings such as simple sausage and tomato sauce. Similarly, even though we love the manner in which the lasagna noodles drape themselves on the plate, a long and slender pasta shape such as tagliatelle or fettuccine will also do the trick—and won’t require fussing with a knife at the table.
Recipe Testers’ Reviews
Simple, fresh lasagna with classic flavors of mushroom and thyme make this a great, earthy pasta dish.
Next time I’ll try different types of mushrooms (I used cremini and shiitake).
As my husband and I ate, we kept saying that this is a “restaurant quality” dish. The flavors are rich but not fussy. We made our own pasta, which was light, and it created a very nice platform for the sauce.
At first, I was unsure about cooking the mushrooms and bacon together, but they caramelized so beautifully. I guess that’s what good extra-virgin olive oil, butter, and bacon fat will do!
This Open Lasagna with Mushrooms, Pine Nuts, and Thyme (not to mention other goodies), was surprisingly light. This would make a great appetizer portion or, perhaps by adding a side salad, a light lunch. All the flavours come together very nicely to create an intriguing alternative to regular lasagna.
This deconstructed lasagna is an easy and light supper. I used a mix of shiitake and cremini mushrooms. I also used dried thyme and grated Parmigiano cheese since that’s what I had on hand. The only downside was that it was a bit messy to eat, so I’d probably be inclined to use a different pasta in the future, maybe fettuccine.
This was a fast and easy recipe for an open lasagna; however, in the future I would switch this to a pappardelle and just toss the sauce with the noodles. Why? This was a little hard to eat. My guests ended up slicing the noodles, eating it like a tossed pasta anyway, so why not meet expectations.
That said, we all thought the result was delicious—despite my forgetting to follow the last instruction to drizzle more olive oil over the top. (We agreed that the extra oil might have been too much.) I used a mix of cremini and shiitake mushrooms.
Originally published February 7, 2011