Sometimes we like to go meat-free during the week, and that's when mushrooms are my saving grace. They are deep in color and rich in flavor — they give off the aura of meat, but they are not. That's why we love them, and it means we can have a meat-free lasagne too. This is the kind of thing you want to put in the slow cooker just before popping out, knowing you will have dinner ready for when you get back and another ready to go in the freezer (if you only want to make one, halve all of the ingredients).
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RECIPE: Slow Cooker Mushroom Lasagne
Serves 4 now and 4 later
Active time: 40 minutes
Total Time: 2 hours and 30 minutes
½ cup vegetable oil
8 cloves of garlic, crushed
2 medium onions, diced
2 teaspoons salt
2 heaped teaspoons cumin seeds
2 x 1 lb 6 oz packages of button mushrooms, roughly sliced, or 4 x 10 oz cans of mushrooms
4 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
2¼ cups mascarpone
¾ cup plus 2 tablespoons whole milk
14 oz Cheddar cheese, grated
Cooking oil spray
12 lasagne sheets
1. Put the oil into a medium pan on high heat and as soon as it is hot, add the garlic. When it's golden, add the onions and salt and cook until soft.
2. Add the cumin seeds, then add the mushrooms and keep cooking on high until they have really reduced in size. Stir in the black pepper and cook until most of the moisture has evaporated, then take off the heat.
3. To make the easy white sauce, mix together the mascarpone, milk, and cheese. Lightly spray some oil on the inside of your slow cooker pot, and have a medium lasagne dish at the ready.
4. Put a quarter of the mushroom mixture into the slow cooker and the other quarter into the lasagne dish, then make a layer of 3 sheets of lasagne in each, breaking the pasta up where necessary to fit.
5. Layer on a quarter of the mascarpone sauce in the slow cooker, and another quarter in the lasagne dish, followed by the rest of the mushroom mixture and the remaining lasagne sheets, half in each.
6. Finally, spread the rest of the mascarpone mixture on top. Set the lasagne dish aside to cool. Cook the lasagne in the slow cooker on low for 2 hours. I like to serve this with garlic bread and salad.
7. When the lasagne in the dish has cooled, cover with foil and freeze. When ready to use it, bake from frozen in a 375°F/200°C oven for 1½ hours. Remove the foil and continue baking until the sauce is bubbling and the cheese is browned.
If you love this recipe as much as we do, order Nadiya Hussain's "Time to Eat."