Short of calling for pizza delivery, there is no easier way to feed a crowd than with a really great baked pasta. The glorious thing about a bubbling tray of baked pasta is that it's a meal unto itself. Unlike say, a roast, there's no need to fret about potatoes and vegetables; all you're really going to need is a salad and some crusty bread.
So now that we've uncovered the pasta secret to stress-free entertaining, the question is which baked pasta to make. We're loving this White Lasagna with Mushrooms and Prosciutto from Sara Kate Gillingham-Ryan's Good Food to Share. Loaded with creamy fontina béchamel, caramelized leeks, and salty bits of prosciutto, this lasagna has more than enough richness to make any get-together feel like a special occasion. But when it comes to baking it, the process is hardly involved—just a bit of stirring, chopping, and layering, and 45 minutes later you're looking at a glorious tray of lasagna that needs nothing more than a simple salad and a few loaves of bread to make for a great centerpiece to any wintry dinner party.
As always with our Cook the Book feature, we have five (5) copies of Good Food to Share to give away this week.
- Yield:serves 6 to 8
- Active time: 45 minutes
- Total time:1 hour 30 minutes
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter, plus more for greasing
- 1/2 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
- 4 cups whole milk
- 1 cup chicken stock or low-sodium broth
- 1/2 cup Marsala
- 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
- 1 3/4 cups shredded fontina cheese
- Sea salt and freshly ground white pepper
- 4 tablespoons olive oil, plus more if needed
- 1 small leek, white and tender green parts only, thinly sliced
- 3/4 pound white mushrooms, brushed clean and sliced
- 1/2 pound thinly sliced prosciutto, chopped
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
- 12 sheets no-boil lasagna, each about 7 by 3 1/2 inches
- 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Butter an 8-by-11-inch baking dish.
In a large saucepan, melt the butter over medium-low heat. Stir in the flour and cook, whisking constantly, for about 3 minutes. Whisk in the nutmeg. Raise the heat to medium-high and gradually whisk in the milk and stock. Bring the mixture to a boil and continue whisking until thickened and smooth, 10–15 minutes. Remove from the heat and let cool, stirring occasionally, until warm. Stir in the Marsala, eggs, and 1 cup (4 oz/125 g) of the fontina until the cheese melts and the sauce is smooth. Season with salt and white pepper. Set aside.
In a large frying pan, heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the leek and sauté just until wilted, about 3 minutes. Transfer to a bowl. Add the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil to the pan. When the oil is hot, add the mushrooms and sauté, stirring, until golden, about 5 minutes. Add the prosciutto and basil and cook, stirring, for 1 minute longer.
Spread about 1 1/2 cups of the cheese sauce evenly over the bottom of the prepared baking dish. Spoon about one-third of the mushroom mixture evenly over the sauce, then arrange 4 of the lasagna sheets over the top. Repeat these layers twice. Spread the remaining sauce over the top layer, then sprinkle the remaining 3/4 cup fontina and the Parmesan evenly over the top. Bake until the top is golden and the juices are bubbling, about 45 minutes.
Let the lasagna cool for 15 to 30 minutes, cut into squares, and serve right away.