Christmas/ Pasta

Mushroom and Chestnut Lasagne

Mushroom and chestnut lasagne

This mushroom and chestnut lasagne is filled with caramelised mushrooms and sweet chestnuts mixed with ricotta and a creamy, buttery béchamel.

One thing about being vegetarian is that you learn to be creative. There are so many flavours and ingredients to play with that the possibilities are endless.

This dish came about as a Christmas creation aimed to be served as a main dish. But realistically this lasagne does not need to be limited to just a Christmas dinner, it’s great all year around. It’s full of flavour and texture whilst also being quite unique.

A sharing dish is also always welcome whenever there’s a family dinner. So this would definitely be a recipe I’d recommend you stash away in your bookmarks. It’s one to have in your repertoire, I can guarantee you’ll have some very impressed guests.

Mushroom and Chestnut Lasagne

It is indeed a mushroom and chestnut lasagne, but it has so much more going on than just those two ingredients. It’s got the vibe of a traditional lasagne, in that sense that it is still a layered pasta dish that’s baked.

However it’s also a little bit different. Rather than a traditional tomato sauce based lasagne we’re going for a white lasagne here. The entire sauce will be a béchamel sauce. This lends to a super creamy and rich lasagne. It’s definitely one to pull out for your loved ones.

The filling inside the lasagne is predominantly based on mushrooms and roasted chestnuts. But we’ve got a few different types of mushrooms at play which creates a really well rounded mushroom flavour.

The mushrooms also get caramelised and a little nutty which just makes this even better. It’s quite important to use a variety of mushrooms here to not only pack in the earthy mushroom flavour, but to also add varying textures. I’ll cover the types of mushrooms I used in the next section.

The roasted chestnuts provide sweetness, a subtle buttery-ness, and texture. Along with this we also have plenty of spinach, shallots, garlic, and sage. This is all mixed together with ricotta which just provides this immensely creamy cheesiness.

The filling is incredibly delicious! The abundance of sage, mushrooms, garlic, and chestnuts are just a match meant to be.

The lasagne is then finished with fresh mozzarella and edam for the perfect cheesy finish.

mushroom and chestnut lasagne

Mushrooms matter

The type of mushrooms you use for this Mushroom and Chestnut Lasagne do indeed make a difference. Each type of mushroom will have a different flavour and texture, and this can make quite the difference here.

We all have our preferences or favourite mushrooms, but I’ll explain which ones I like to use.

Now I personally love all mushrooms and I always eat a variety of them. For this lasagne I’ve opted to use chestnut mushrooms, shiitake mushrooms, and oyster mushrooms.

Oyster mushrooms are totally vegetarian contrary to what the name suggests so rest assured, this is indeed a vegetarian lasagne.

Chestnut mushrooms/Baby bella mushrooms

Chestnut mushrooms, also known as baby bella mushrooms in the US, will forever have a reputation (in my opinion) as a great all-rounder. It’s a very versatile mushroom with a rich, complex, earthy flavour.

It can honestly be used everywhere and anywhere. They don’t tend to hold as much water as other types of mushrooms which is great for cooking.

They also caramelise beautifully when sautéed which enhances their flavour and makes it incredibly nutty. Chestnut/baby bella mushrooms will form the majority of our mushrooms here as they’re just brilliant to work with.

Shiitake mushrooms

Let’s move on to the next type. Shiitake mushrooms are another of my all time favourites. They look fairly similar to chestnut mushrooms as they both have brown tops.

However they have a much more pronounced and distinct flavour, as well as having a much firmer texture. Both shiitake and chestnut mushrooms complement each other very well.

The firmer, more chewy texture of the shiitake is also very welcome here.

Oyster mushrooms

And finally we have the oyster mushrooms. These often range from an off-white to brown colour and tend to be fan shaped.

They are the most delicate out of the three and also the most mild in flavour. Their texture would be best described as velvety or buttery. Once again this is a very welcome texture and all 3 mushrooms work brilliantly together.

I’ve used these 3 mushrooms together for longer than I can remember. In my opinion these form the dream team of mushrooms, and they’re readily accessible in the UK, as well as the US (from personal experience).

But what if I can’t find some of these mushrooms?

However if these types of mushrooms are not accessible to you, feel free to use just chestnut/baby bella mushrooms or pick your own favourites! Nothing wrong with that too.

Mushroom and chestnut lasagne

Roasted Chestnuts

These are an autumnal and winter treat in the UK and many other countries. It’s always a delight to see chestnuts appear in the supermarket. Chestnuts are the edible nuts of a certain species of trees and they can be foraged fairly easily too.

Although they have a similar appearance to conkers, which are not edible. So perhaps avoid foraging your own unless you’re confident you know what you’re looking for.

These nuts have become a popular treat over the holidays. They’re sweet and have a pleasant butternut squash-like texture. In order to eat these chestnuts they require roasting and peeling to reveal the inner edible nut.

They’re delicious and so more-ish, especially when they’re enjoyed fresh and warm.

It does require a little bit of work to prepare if you’re roasting them yourself, though it’s nothing difficult. I’m just not the biggest fan of peeling chestnuts, largely because you could spend 10 minutes peeling them but they’ll all be eaten in 1.

However I’ll do it if I must. They’re worth the little bit of effort. If you want to roast your own I recommend following this guide by The Spruce Eats ‘Oven-Roasted Chestnuts Recipe‘.

But if you’re based in the UK, you can purchase whole cooked chestnuts sold by Merchant Gourmet in most supermarkets which don’t require any work at all. I’ve used those for this recipe, so if you want a bit of a shortcut, just pick those up.

What can this lasagne be served with?

It can be served alone as an entire meal as it is actually rather filling! But if you’re serving it up as part of your Christmas dinner you may want a few extra things to go with it.

As part of a traditional Christmas dinner you could serve the lasagne along with some roasted vegetables. These could be roasted carrots, parsnips, and brussels sprouts.

A side salad always goes well with a lasagne, and this could be with a range of leafy greens and a simple dressing. Some roast potatoes would also go brilliantly too, they’re always an excellent choice.

If you’re looking for a great roast potato recipe I’d recommend trying out my Miso Roast Potatoes.

Mushroom and chestnut lasagne

What you’ll need to make this Mushroom and Chestnut Lasagne

This is not the full recipe – the full recipe is at the end of the blogpost

You’ll require:

  • Chestnut mushrooms
  • Shiitake mushrooms
  • Oyster mushrooms
  • Roasted chestnuts
  • Spinach
  • Butter
  • Shallots – these are more mild and sweeter than onions, I tend to use these a lot. You can absolutely substitute this for a white onion if you wish
  • Garlic
  • Fresh sage – this will add the most incredible flavour
  • Ricotta
  • Plain flour
  • Milk
  • Bay leaves
  • Ground nutmeg
  • Black pepper
  • Dried lasagne sheets
  • Fresh mozzarella – this will be sold as a ball
  • Edam – or any other melting cheese you like e.g. cheddar/gouda/emmental

The MOST IMPORTANT lasagne tips

  • Be generous with the sauce, you’ll require all of it. Dried lasagne sheets require more sauce and a longer cooking time which is why we’re making such a large amount of sauce
  • Use a deep tray (will be linked below) for more layers. We’re aiming for 5 layers of lasagne sheets and 4 layers of filling
  • Allow the lasagne to rest for 20 minutes before cutting into. This allows it to finish cooking and to firm up enough for a clean slice. It will still be very hot inside even after 30 minutes
  • The first slice may come out looking a little misshapen – just the nature of these things. The first slice is always the hardest to remove

Recommended lasagne equipment

This post contains an Amazon Affiliate link. By using this affiliate link, I receive a small commission which is at no expense to yourself. This helps to support this blog for its day to day running. Many thanks.

The lasagne tray was very kindly recommended by my good friend Sanjana Feasts. It fits the lasagne sheets perfectly so you don’t need to worry about breaking the sheets and fitting pieces around.

Mushroom and chestnut lasagne

How to make this Mushroom and Chestnut Lasagne

Let’s start with the mushroom and chestnut filling:

1) Sauté your mushrooms in oil on a high heat until they darken in colour and begin to caramelise. Do this in batches to avoid overcrowding the pan as this will cause the mushrooms to steam. Don’t worry if they release some water, just keep cooking them until the water evaporates, they’ll then begin to caramelise. Don’t add salt from the start as that will cause the mushrooms to immediately release water
2) When they look like this they’ll be starting to caramelise and the aroma will change to a deeply nutty one. Transfer to a mixing bowl

3) Then caramelise the next batch of mushrooms until they resemble 4). Dependent on the size of your pan this may take around 3 batches

5) Transfer all the mushrooms to a large mixing bowl
6) Add the spinach and chestnuts and mix. Allow the residual heat from the mushrooms to start wilting the spinach

7) Back to the pan, melt some butter over a medium-low heat
8) Sauté your shallots, garlic, and sage

9+10) Once sautéed, transfer the mixture to the mixing bowl along with the ricotta and season with salt and black pepper

Mushroom and chestnut lasagne filling
11

11) Check the seasoning of your mushroom and chestnut filling and add salt if required

Next let’s make the béchamel sauce:

1) Melt butter in a saucepan over a medium heat
2) Add the flour and whisk until it starts to thicken into a golden paste – called a roux

3) This is what the roux will look like
4) On a low heat gradually add the milk to the roux in 4 increments. Whisking thoroughly between each addition

5+6) Once all the milk has been poured in, add in the bay leaves, nutmeg and black pepper. Place on a medium heat and continuously whisk whilst the sauce begins to thicken. Occasionally switch between the whisk and a spatula to ensure no milk is catching on the base of the pan and no lumps forming. We’re looking for a totally smooth sauce

béchamel sauce in a pan
7

7) Once the sauce has thickened and is smooth and velvety, leave aside to cool. If it becomes too thick, add more milk

We’re now ready to assemble the Mushroom and Chestnut Lasagne:

We’re aiming for 5 layers of lasagne sheets and 4 layers of filling here

1) Pour a decent layer of béchamel sauce on the bottom of your tray
2) Place your lasagne sheets over the béchamel. Using dried lasagne sheets is absolutely fine, it just requires more sauce and a longer cooking time, which is exactly what we’re doing

3) Then add 1/4 of the filling over the sheets
4) Pour more béchamel over the filling – be generous!

5) Place another layer of lasagne sheets, very gently press down to compress them. Notice how the sheets are now a different orientation to the first layer. This provides structure to the lasagne for clean slices. Credit goes to my mum for this tip!
Repeat the layering of lasagne sheet->filling->béchamel until you place the 5th and last layer of lasagne sheets.
6) For the final layer of lasagne sheets, pour over the remaining béchamel. The sheets should now be completely covered in sauce. Top with fresh mozzarella and grated cheese (I’ve used edam)

If your tray looks quite full at this point feel free to place the tray inside/on a larger tray in order to catch any drips. My tray was very full but I didn’t get anything dripping over. Better to be safe than sorry though

mushroom and chestnut lasagne
7)

7) Bake the lasagne until a knife easily pierces through and the cheese is golden and crisp. Allow the lasagne to rest for 20 minutes before cutting into

Frequently asked questions

Can this Mushroom and Chestnut Lasagne be prepared in advance?

It can. You can prepare the tray, cover with clingfilm or foil and refrigerate until you’re ready to bake it. You’ll need to add an additional 6-10 minutes to the bake time

If you enjoyed this recipe

Please do let me know! Leave a review and a rating below, I’d love to know how you got on.

You can also tag me on Instagram at @dish_by_rish. Or follow me on FacebookPinterestYoutube, and TikTok to keep up with all my cooking and baking creations.

Until then, happy cooking!

mushroom and chestnut lasagne

Mushroom and Chestnut Lasagne

dishbyrish
A white lasagne with layers of roasted chestnuts, mushrooms, and sage between the most velvety and rich béchamel sauce.
Prep Time 45 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour 30 minutes
Total Time 2 hours 15 minutes
Course dinner, lunch
Cuisine Italian, Mediterranean
Servings 8 people

Equipment

  • 31 x 20 x 7 roasting tray (linked in blogpost)
  • Whisk

Ingredients
  

  • ~ 15 dried lasagne sheets a 500g box will cover this and more

For the mushroom and chestnut filling:

  • 4-5 tbsp olive oil
  • 750 g chestnut mushrooms (baby bella in the US) roughly chopped
  • 125 g shiitake mushrooms sliced
  • 150 g oyster mushrooms sliced
  • 180 g roasted chestnuts peeled
  • 100 g spinach roughly chopped
  • 250 g ricotta
  • 3 tbsp butter
  • 3 shallots finely sliced
  • 7 cloves garlic minced
  • 20 g fresh sage roughly chopped
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp black pepper

For the béchamel sauce:

  • 90 g butter
  • 90 g plain flour
  • 900 ml milk
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 1-2 tsp salt

Cheeses:

  • 240 g fresh mozzarella
  • 60 g good melting cheese edam/cheddar/gouda/emmental

Instructions
 

For the mushroom and chestnut filling:

  • Sauté the mushrooms in oil on a high heat until they darken in colour and begin to caramelise. Do this in batches to avoid overcrowding the pan as this will cause the mushrooms to steam. Don’t worry if they release some water, just keep cooking them until the water evaporates, they’ll then begin to caramelise. Don’t add any salt yet
  • Once caramelised, they will begin to release a nutty aroma. Then transfer to a mixing bowl
  • Add the spinach and chestnuts to the mixing bowl and toss to combine. The residual heat from the mushrooms will begin to wilt the spinach
  • In a pan melt the butter over a medium-low heat and then add in the shallots, garlic, and sage. Sauté for several minutes and then add to the mixing bowl
  • Add the ricotta to the mixture along with the salt and black pepper. Mix to combine and leave aside

For the béchamel sauce:

  • Heat the butter in a saucepan over a medium heat until completely melted
  • Then add in the flour and whisk to combine until it forms a thick golden paste (roux)
  • Turn the heat to low and gradually add the milk to the roux in 4 increments whilst whisking thoroughly between each addition
  • Turn the heat back up to medium and add the bay leaves, nutmeg, and black pepper. Mix continuously and keep switching between a whisk and a spatula. This will ensure the sauce doesn’t catch at the bottom and will keep the sauce lump free
  • Once the sauce has thickened and has a velvety smooth consistency, leave aside to cool. Check for seasoning and add 1-2 tsp salt (to taste)

To assemble the lasagne:

  • Pre-heat your oven to 170’C fan/190’C conventional
  • First pour a layer of béchamel sauce across the base of your deep tray. You want a decent layer at the base as this will allow the bottom layer of the lasagne to cook
  • Then layer 3 lasagne sheets on top (see blogpost for a visual guide)
  • Next place ¼ of the mushroom and chestnut filling over the lasagne sheets and spread into an even layer
  • Pour more béchamel sauce over the filling, once again be generous here
  • Now place another layer of lasagne sheets but try to alternate the angle as this will help to create structure for a clean slice
  • Keep layering the lasagne following this structure: Lasagne sheets -> filling -> béchamel sauce -> lasagne sheets until you reach the final layer
  • I’ve got 5 layers of lasagne sheets with 4 layers of filling. The final layer of lasagne sheets will be the top layer. Pour the remaining béchamel sauce all over this to submerge it.
  • Top with some torn fresh mozzarella and grated cheese of choice
  • Bake for 50-55 minutes. If the lasagne appears to be browning too much, loosely cover with some aluminium foil and continue baking
  • Once baked leave to stand for 20 minutes before serving. This will allow the lasagne to firm up enough to cut a clean slice without it falling apart. It will still be very hot inside

Notes

See the blogpost for a visual guide of the recipe
The tray I’ve used is linked in the blogpost as well as other equipment I recommend
Keyword chestnuts, christmas, christmas dinner, lasagne, mushroom and chestnut lasagne, mushrooms, vegetarian Christmas

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