Comfort of a Casserole

For some reason, Mario Batali bristles at the term casserole, especially when describing anything Italian. It is sort of funny, but irritating, the ends he will go to to make sure the word is not attached to his favorite cuisine.

Anyhow, I think lasagna is a casserole; it’s a whole meal baked together in one dish. Perfect for supper.

I tried Ina’s Portobello Mushroom Lasagna for supper and it does not disappoint. It’s not difficult to assemble and so, so easy to enjoy an hour later.

Here are my observations and revisions:

  • I did not go all in Portobello mushrooms; I did a mix of white button, baby bella, and shitake.
  • I added some Thyme to the mushrooms as they sauteed; just seemed like the thing to do and I stand by it. Also, be generous with the salt and the pepper.
  • Did not boil lasagna noodles. I am uncertain why anybody boils the noodles anymore; the “oven-ready” come out just the same and without dirtying up more pots or spending more time. Unless you have homemade noodles, I imagine that would be better. Otherwise, there just is no reason to buy the old school dried noodles and boil them. I’ve compared and compared and there is no difference in the end product.
  • Oh, and I learned from Anne Burrell that you should lay the noodle layers in opposite directions so that your servings stand and don’t slide apart. It works wonderfully and I’ll never do otherwise. So put your first layer of noodles lengthwise like always, then on the next layer break the noodles shorter and lay them horizontally, then on the last layer go back to lengthwise. I usually just have enough filling for 3 layers, but if you have more just continue the opposing direction layers.
  • This is hearty enough as a main dish but I can imagine it a hit on most any potluck or holiday buffet as a side.

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