There’s nothing like a three day weekend… except a four day weekend! That’s right: snow day! So right now I’m sitting here in my pajamas under a pile of pit bulls that are not making typing an easy task. Did you know that my very first post on the Messy Kitchen was on a snow day? It was three years ago next week and I made fig muffins. Maybe I’ll make them again today, for old time sake… and because fig muffins are delicious.
One thing I noticed this morning as I looked back at old posts, is that while we’ve come a long way on many fronts (respectable photos, coherent recipes, formatting that doesn’t make you cringe) my posts are not quite as personal as they used to be. Often you’ll see just a respectable photo and a coherent recipe and not a whole lot else. As Emily pointed out as I took candid photos of Friday night’s dinner party, food is all about who you eat it with.
Friday night we had a lovely time with Emily and Alex. We started our night off with awesome eggplant and goat cheese crostini drizzled with honey, a take on one of the tapas they enjoyed on their recent trip to Spain. They brought all of the ingredients to assemble and bake at our house, which was especially fun. I love collaborative cooking.
For our first course, I made caprese salad stacks and drizzled them with my favorite fig tahini balsamic dressing. They were simple to make, and the fresh tomatoes, mozzarella and basil were a nice contrast to the main course.
For the main course, I went with a cheesy brussels sprout and mushroom lasagna with bechamel sauce. It was tasty enough that Alex was able to overlook the brussels sprouts and Courtney was able to overlook the mushrooms, although a few of the latter may have ended up on my plate. It’s definitely a great vegetarian winter option that’s hearty, healthy and delicious.
Here are a few snapshots from the (long!) weekend before we cut to the lasagna chase!
Cheesy Brussels Sprout and Mushroom Lasagna
From How Sweet It Is
9 whole wheat lasagna noodles, cooked according to package
2 Tablespoons olive oil
1 pound brussels sprouts, stems removed and sliced
3/4 teaspoon salt, divided
3/4 teaspoon pepper, divided
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
20 oz sliced cremini mushrooms
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tablespoons flour
2 3/4 cups milk (I used 2%)
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
8 ounces shredded provolone cheese
3/4 cup ricotta cheese
1/4 cup grated pecorino romano cheese (or parmesan will work in a pinch)
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Spray a 9×13 baking dish with nonstick spray.
- Heat a large skillet over medium heat and add 1 tablespoon of the olive oil. Add the brussels and 1/4 teaspoon each of the salt and pepper, stirring to coat. Cook until the sprouts soften and become bright in color, stirring occasionally, for about 5 to 6 minutes. Stir in the balsamic vinegar and cook for another minute. Remove the sprouts from the skillet and set them aside in a bowl.
- Using the same skillet, add the remaining olive oil. Add the mushrooms and garlic, stirring well to coat. Cook until the mushrooms are soft and juicy, stirring occasionally, about 6 to 8 minutes. Turn off the heat and add 1/4 teaspoon each of salt and pepper. Drain any water that the mushrooms have released while cooking.
- In a saucepan, heat the butter over medium heat. Once it’s sizzling, whisk in the flour to create a roux. Cook the roux for 2 or 3 minutes, until it becomes golden and fragrant. Whisking with one hand, slowly stream in the milk, stirring constantly as the mixture comes together. Cook the milk, stirring constantly, until it starts to thicken, about 5 minutes. Season the mixture with the remaining salt, pepper and nutmeg.
- To assemble the lasagna, add about 1/4 cup of the sauce to the bottom of the dish. Add a layer or lasagna noodles, then top with 1/3 of the brussels and 1/3 of the mushrooms. Sprinkle on 1/3 of the cheese and using your fingers, dollop on 1/2 of the ricotta. Drizzle 1/3 of the sauce on top. Repeat two more times, reserving enough Brussels sprouts and mushrooms to sprinkle a few on top. Finish off the lasagna with the remaining sauce and cheese and the pecorino.
- Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, or until the top is golden and bubbly.