Make Ahead

White Lasagna with Leeks and Mushrooms

January  8, 2013
0 Ratings
  • Makes One large pan
Author Notes

I love, love, love leeks! In fact, I like to keep packets of chopped leeks sauteed in butter in my freezer for times when a dish needs a leek-lift. For this vegetarian lasagna, I took inspiration from three stellar cooks: Australia's Stephanie Alexander, whose comprehensive volume "The Cook's Companion" has a wonderful recipe for leek and cream stew; Ina Garten, whose mushroom lasagna put that idea in my head; and Sarah Leah Chase whose "Cold Weather Cooking" has a lasagna that calls for a lovely bechamel made with chicken broth that I adapted to be meat-free. To put the focus on the mushrooms and leeks, I wanted this to be a white lasagna -- no tomato sauce to muddy those delicate flavors. It's always a hit, even with meat-eaters, and I always get requests for my recipe. —cookbookchick

What You'll Need
  • 1 bunch leeks, white and pale green parts only
  • 1 clove garlic, finely chopped
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter (for the leek stew)
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 lemon, juice only
  • salt
  • white pepper, freshly ground
  • 1 pound mushrooms, mixed varieties such as portobella, shiitake, and whatever else you can find at the market
  • 8 tablespoons unsalted butter (divided, for the mushrooms and the béchamel), plus more, as needed
  • 6 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 4 cups light cream or half-and-half
  • 1 cup Parmesan cheese, freshly grated
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg, freshly grated
  • 3 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 pound mozzarella cheese, grated or sliced
  • 2 boxes no-boil lasagna noodles (or use regular lasagna noodles, pre-cooked in a pot of boiling salted water)
  1. For the leek and cream stew: Wash the leeks carefully in cool water to remove any grit, then chop them finely. Saute the leeks and chopped garlic in butter over low heat for about 10 minutes until the leeks are softened and tender. Add the cup of cream and simmer until cream has bubbled up and started to thicken, about 5 minutes. Add lemon juice, salt and pepper to taste and set aside.
  2. For the mushrooms: Rinse mushrooms. If using portobellas, separate the stems from the caps and discard the stems. Slice the mushrooms 1/4-inch thick. Heat 4 tablespoons of butter in a large saute pan. When the butter starts to sizzle, 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 butter. Toss occasionally to make sure the mushrooms cook evenly. Repeat with the remaining mushrooms and set all the mushrooms aside. (Cooking half the mushrooms at a time keeps them from stewing instead of sautéing.)
  3. For the bechamel: Melt the remaining 4 tablespoons of butter in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the flour and whisk until smooth. Cook, stirring constantly, for one minute. Gradually whisk in the light cream; cook, stirring constantly, until smooth and thickened. Stir in the Parmesan cheese and season with the nutmeg, salt and pepper. In a small bowl, gradually stir 1/2 cup of the sauce into the beaten eggs so as to warm the eggs slowly and prevent them from scrambling, then stir the egg mixture into the remaining sauce. Cook a couple of minutes longer, stirring constantly, then remove from heat.
  4. Building the lasagna: Put a little bechamel in the bottom of a large baking or lasagna pan, then layer with noodles, leek stew, mushrooms, mozarella, bechamel sauce, and start again with more noodles. Continue until you've used up ingredients, top with noodles, bechamel and a little grated Parmesan. (Or layer in whatever order strikes your fancy, I don't think it matters much!)
  5. Bake at 350 for about 1 hour, until hot, bubbly and lightly browned. You can also refrigerate the lasagna a few hours ahead until you are ready to bake it.
  6. ***Note: You could skip making the leek stew, and simply saute the leeks and garlic in the butter you are going to use to make the bechamel. You can also use black pepper instead of white in the bechamel, if you don't mind the specks showing.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Barbara Gorder
    Barbara Gorder
  • Jens Peter Kold
    Jens Peter Kold
  • Bevi
  • Jackie

Recipe by: cookbookchick

I am retired from CBS News, having worked in both NYC and Washington DC, my native town. I'm married, mother of three, grandmother of two. I've been a passionate cook since I was a child, and have collected recipes since then. I am shamelessly addicted to cookbooks -- hence my moniker -- but I figure it's not only less harmful than other addictions, but also produces a better outcome for those around me. My family call me "the food lady," so I guess they agree!

7 Reviews

Barbara G. November 23, 2014
Best veg lasagne ever. Kids asked for seconds! Added spinach and thyme to mushrooms.
Jackie September 6, 2014
Made this for a family pot lick..I added zucchini and spinach..none left..the pan was scraped clean! And I was asked to make again! Thanks for the wonderful receipe!
Jens P. July 12, 2014
Just to let you know. Leeks can be frozen raw.
Just rinse/clean them. Slice/dice them in desired size. Into bag freeze. Leek cheap year round.
Onion is the wife, leeks is the mistress
Shawn S. January 8, 2014
Just tried it. Wonderful. I added spinach. Thanks!
Joan B. January 16, 2013
Cookbookchick; love the handle! LOL Thanks for the note. Much better now. I might make this for my upcoming birthday!
This already feels like a great foodie community! Internet was down for 2+ days......I will let you know when I make it! Joan
Joan B. January 14, 2013
this sounds sinfully delicious!!!![and fattening...]. i truly love vegy lasagna and never found the " perfect" recipe. I think this is IT!!!! Thanks for sharing! Just found this site today while dealing with a flu bug...Gingercook
Bevi January 14, 2013
This sounds not only delicious, but an elegant treatment of lasagna.