Dungeness Crab, Wild Mushroom and Pine Nut Lasagne

| May 23, 2010 | 10 Comments

Wild mushrooms permeate the forests of the Pacific Northwest like spring bluebonnets cover fields in Texas. Most supermarkets offer ample selections of the ones that are easily cultivated, such as shiitake, oyster and portobello, to name a few. Also available are those that must be foraged: morels, matsutake, maitake, porcini and the black trumpet.

One of the great attributes of dried mushrooms is that they have a long shelf life, and when reconstituted they render a potent and flavorable broth to use in many ways.

Dried Lobster, Matsutake, Maitake, Black Trumpet and Porcini Mushrooms

When any of the rarer ones are not readily available, you can always use dried. Dried mushrooms reconstitute nicely and still have plenty of earthy essence to impart.

Reconstituted Lobster, Matsutake, Maitake, Black Trumpet and Porcini Mushrooms, and broth

We recently received a box of dried mushroom samples from Marx Foods with instructions to have fun, create recipes and write about them.

“The mushrooms came to us courtesy of Justin Marx, CEO of Marx Foods, a purveyor of fine foods that supplies restaurants and has branched out to supplying us mere mortal home cooks through an online mail-order site. His online store came up in a Google search when I was looking for a local source for tender fiddlehead ferns. I was amazed at the selection of hard-to-find and wild-foraged produce, mushrooms and other items from the Pacific Northwest.

“I later wrote and asked if he’d like to send us some samples that we could test, develop recipes for and write about. An affirmative reply came. We would be getting samples of a variety of wild mushrooms from his source in Eugene. A few days later, a small box came and Charles and I eagerly peeled back the packing tape and gingerly pulled out dried samples of black trumpet, maitake, porcini, lobster, and matsutake mushrooms. We’ve never mail-ordered dried mushrooms before and haven’t ordered anything from Marx Foods before either, so we were eager to examine the quality of what was shipped to us. The mushrooms were individually packed in Ziploc bags w ith labels and there was no doubt about the quality of the product. The mushrooms were either almost entirely in whole pieces, as the black trumpets were, or in nice slices. Broken bits were at a minimum. We opened each bag to smell the aroma of the individual mushrooms and could tell that they were fresh, not stale.”

~ Victor Panichkul in Baked Flounder with Black Trumpet Mushroom Beurre Blanc Sauce

Dungeness Crab, Wild Mushroom and Pine Nut Lasagne
Adapted from Dungeness Crab and Pine Nut Lasagne at Saveur

Dungeness Crab, Wild Mushroom and Pine Nut Lasagne

I have long wanted to make Nick Peirano’s crab and pine nut lasagne. His original recipe calls for button mushrooms. Imagine the complexity of substituting 5 wild varieties. The original recipe gives ingredients and instructions for making the lasagne noodles which you can get from the link in the title above.

For the béchamel sauce:

  1. 8 cloves garlic, peeled
  2. 1 teaspoon (5 ml.) extra-virgin olive oil
  3. 8 tablespoons (120 ml.) butter
  4. ¼ cup (60 ml.) sifted flour
  5. 4 cups (.95 lt.) milk, hot
  6. Grated zest of 2 lemons
  7. 1 teaspoon (5 ml.) porcini mushroom powder (optional - my addition)
  8. Salt
  • Preheat the oven to 375°F (191°C).
  • Toss the garlic in the olive oil and wrap in aluminum foil, bake in the preheated oven for about 45 minutes until soft.
  • Mash the garlic.
  • Heat the milk in a small saucepan over low heat. Be careful, as when milk boils over it goes everywhere and creates a first-class mess.
  • Melt the butter in a large saucepan over medium heat.
  • Add the flour, stirring or whisking constantly for about 1½-2 minutes.
  • Whisk in the hot milk and cook while stirring constantly, until it is the consistency of heavy cream. This should take about 30 minutes.
  • Whisk in the lemon zest, garlic paste, salt to taste and the optional porcini powder, if using.
  • Remove from heat. (If it will be some time before you assemble the lasagne, place a circle of plastic wrap over the surface to keep a skin from forming.)

For the pasta:

  1. 1 package of lasagne noodles cooked as per package directions

For the fillings:

  1. 1 teaspoon (5 ml.) butter
  2. 9-12 ounces (255-340 gr.) Dungeness crab meat
  3. ¼ cup (60 ml.) freshly g rated Parmigiano-Reggiano
  4. ¼ cup (60 ml.) freshly grated pecorino-romano
  5. .9 ounces (25.5 gr.) dried wild mushrooms, reconstituted in hot water* (Save the soaking broth for another use)
  6. ½ cup (120 ml.) ricotta
  7. ¾ cup (180 ml.) pine nuts

* The original recipe called for ½ lb. button mushrooms, stemmed and thinly sliced. Marx Foods’ web site has an extensive FAQ list that is a veritable treasure trove of questions and answers. I found this formula for calculating weight conversion for substituting dried mushrooms for fresh and vise versa.

  • Preheat the oven to 375°F (191°C).
  • Grease the bottom of a 9X13 inch (23X33 cm.) baking dish with butter.
  • Line the bottom of the dish with a layer of pasta.
  • Spread the crab meat evenly over the pasta and cover with ¹⁄₃of the béchamel sauce and sprinkle with ½ of the grated cheeses.
  • Cover with another layer of pasta.
  • Spread the mushrooms evenly over the pasta then dot with the ricotta.
  • Spread ½ of the remaining béchamel sauce on top.
  • Cover with another layer of pasta.
  • Spread the remaining béchamel sauce on top, sprinkle with the remaining grated cheeses.
  • Scatter the pine nuts over all and bake until bubbly and golden brown on top, about 25-30 minutes.

Serves 8-12 as part of a larger meal or 4-6 as an entrée.

Bon appétit

— Charles

Tags: , , , , , ,

Category: Lasagne, Pasta

About the Author (Author Profile)

Music, food and photography are at the center of Charles’ life. He performed with the Dallas Symphony, Dallas Opera and was assistant principal bassoonist with the Fort Worth Symphony for more than 20 years. When Charles and Victor moved to Baltimore, Charles created Lone Star Personal Chef and Catering Service and taught cooking classes at Williams-Sonoma. Now in Salem, Charles is a Realtor with Coldwell Banker Mountain West Real Estate, taught cooking classes for children at the A.C. Gilbert Discovery Village, and owns and operates Charles Price Photography. Charles and Vic enjoy entertaining and frequently host dinners as fundraisers for local non-profits and charities

Comments (10)

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  1. Mel Wagner says:

    Charles-this looks delicious!! I would not have thought to try crab in a lasagne. What a great idea and recipe! It’s time for Curt to go crabbing again. I love morel mushrooms. They bring back fond memories of going mushroom hunting with my grandfather. We would roll them in flour and fry them in butter. So good!!! Thanks for sharing this fantastic, must try, recipe.

  2. Tina Martin says:

    Are there any leftovers in the fridge that you are hiding from us?? What a beautiful dish!

  3. VPanichkul says:

    Tina: No more leftovers left! All eaten :-) !
    Mel: Do you ever go gathering mushrooms anymore? I bet Charles would love to tag along.

  4. Mel Wagner says:

    Hi Vic,

    Not anymore. I lived in WA then and was just a little kid. I would definitely go if I knew where to in OR. Maybe we should find a place.

  5. Charles says:

    OK Mel, let’s put our noses to the ground and go shrooming at the first opportunity.

  6. Mel Wagner says:

    LOL, yes! That would be fun and tasty!

  7. This recipe sounds amazing. What a wonderful use of dried wild mushrooms. Lasagna is a such a great comfort food.

  8. Joan Nova says:

    This is a wonderfully rich recipe with a beautiful variety of mushrooms.

  9. I Sicilian says:

    Congratulations on winning best picture from Marxfoods!
    Curious as to how you will use the new mushrooms. Let me know what you create.
    Nice blog, by the way!

  10. Sarah says:

    Simply woah. Looks simply divine, and i must make it

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