Portobello Mushroom and Almond Pesto Lasagna

This past weekend, I made the Portobello Mushroom and Almond Pesto Lasagna from the June/July 2007 issue of Every Day with Rachael Ray. The funny thing is that I didn’t even notice the recipe until a couple of weeks ago. While perusing the November issue of the magazine, I saw that a reader wrote in to rave about the lasagna, but also asked how to lighten it up because she found it too rich. Intrigued, I looked up the original recipe and this time around, it looked yummy enough (and easy enough) to try. This one is a keeper!

portobellolasagna.jpg

Below is the recipe, with my modifications in brackets.

3/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
5 large portobello mushroom caps, thinly sliced
[Two zucchinis, sliced]
Salt and pepper
Two 14.5-ounce cans diced tomatoes with Italian herbs [I couldn’t find diced tomatoes labeled “with Italian herbs,” so I bought the ones with basil, garlic, and oregano.]
3 cups (about 10 ounces) sliced almonds, toasted [Per the November issue, I lightened up the dish by using only one cup of almonds and replacing the other two cups with two cups of fresh basil leaves instead.]
1 cup grated parmesan cheese
2 cloves garlic, chopped [6 cloves because I love garlic!]
Grated peel and juice of 1 lemon
6 no-boil lasagna sheets
2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese [I used a little less – maybe about 1.5 cups]

1. Preheat the oven to 350°. In a large skillet, heat 1/4 cup olive oil over high heat. Add the mushrooms [and zucchini, if using], season with salt and pepper and cook until softened, about 3 minutes. Transfer to a medium bowl. Add the tomatoes to the skillet, scraping up any browned bits from the bottom of the pan, and cook until softened, 6 to 7 minutes.

2. Using a food processor, process the toasted almonds, [basil leaves, if using], parmesan, garlic, lemon peel, lemon juice and remaining 1/2 cup olive oil into a coarse paste. [I had to add a little bit more olive oil to get the coarse paste. Otherwise I would have had chunky paste.] Transfer the pesto to a bowl and season to taste with salt and pepper.

3. In an 8-inch square baking dish [which I coated with cooking spray first], spread half the tomatoes across the bottom. Place 2 lasagna sheets on top. Spread a third of the pesto over the sheets; sprinkle with half the mozzarella and then half the mushrooms. Add another layer of lasagna sheets, pesto, mozzarella and mushrooms. Top with another layer of lasagna sheets, spread with the remaining pesto and then the remaining tomatoes. Cover tightly with foil and bake for 35 minutes. Uncover and bake for 10 minutes more. Let stand for at least 10 minutes before slicing.

Thoughts for next time:
:: While the lasagna was very tasty, I still thought that it was a bit on the rich side. I realize that pesto in general tends to be rather rich, but next time I plan to experiment with decreasing the amount of almonds to 1/2 cup and using 2 1/2 cups of basil leaves.
:: I would also use less of the pesto sauce in the lasagna. I found myself scraping off excess pesto while eating.
:: While the recipe doesn’t call for draining the tomatoes prior to cooking them, I think it would be helpful to drain them first. I was alarmed at the amount of liquid in the lasagna pan when I first removed it from the oven — I thought I would end up with lasagna soup! It turned out fine, but still…

Where do you get your favorite lasagna recipe?

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9 Comments on “Portobello Mushroom and Almond Pesto Lasagna”

  1. Beth says:

    That sounds so good right now! My favorite lasagna recipe has pesto and zucchini in it, too, but I can’t remember where I got it. If I find the recipe in my cupboard, I’ll send it to you. I don’t remember it being too rich.

  2. Leslie says:

    A very interesting recipe! I have to laugh though . . I’m an Anthony Bourdain fan and when I see someone mentioning Ms. Ray, I have to giggle. 😉

    My lasagna recipe is passed down from my Grammy to my mom, who verbally walked me through it each time until now it’s in my head.

    Happy (belated) Thanksgiving to you and your hub! *hugs*

  3. Julia says:

    Yum!! I am a HUGE lasagna fan and that looks so good and fresh! I like my lasagna light, rich, and every which way. I may have to try this recipe. Someday I want to try some really vegetable-y lasagnas, or an unusual lasagna recipe I’ve seen with butternut squash.

  4. Oiyi says:

    That does sound good!

  5. Tonia says:

    I have only had pesto made with pine nuts. Never thought that you could use almonds. It looks so good.

    I use my Mom’s lasagna recipe. My MIL loves it and she is a great cook, so it must be pretty good. 😉

  6. Allegra says:

    My fave recipe is from a book by Andrew Weill and Rosie Daley (?), I can’t remember the title of the book. The lasagna has grilled eggplant as well as other veggies and you alternate a red sauce with a white sauce and then top it with kalmatas. I’ve only made it a few times, but YUM!!! Hmmm, maybe I’ll make it this weekend!

  7. kitkatknit says:

    Recipe for lasagne? It’s hardwired into my 1/2 Italian brain and starts with crushing Roma’s real early on a weekend morning. My Mom’s parents were from Avellino Province in Italy.

  8. keri says:

    Yum – that sounds delicious! =)

    My fav lasagna recipe is from the back of the lasagna noodle package, nothing fancy but very good!

  9. Wow, that looks amazing! I am definitely going to have to try this one.

    I’ve only tried making the light lasagna recipe from–you guessed it–Cook’s Illustrated. But I’ve made it several times and it turns out great. They provide both a veggie and meat version (and one time I combined them both into a jumbo lasagna). I’ll dig up the recipe and send it to you–it uses the no-boil lasagna, too, so it’s not too big a chore to make.