Pasticcio di funghi (mushroom timbale)

For a delicious vegetarian dish try Gennaro Contaldo's pasticcio, a rich concoction of mushrooms, tomato sauce and cheese sauce
By Gennaro Contaldo
Pasticcio di funghi (mushroom timbale)
  • Rating:
  • Serves: 4
  • Cook Time: 1 hour 50 minutes
  • Prep Time: 30 minutes
  • Effort: medium

Ingredients

main

  • 8 large mushrooms, (ideally fresh porcini)
  • plain flour, for dusting
  • 3 eggs, eaten
  • olive or vegetable oil, for shallow-frying

For the tomato and mushroom sauce:

  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed but left whole
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 1/2 leek, finely chopped
  • 2 large flat mushrooms, cut into fine strips
  • 2 tbsp water
  • 10 cherry tomatoes
  • handful of parsley, roughly chopped
  • leaves from 1 sprig rosemary, finely chopped
  • black pepper

For the cheese sauce:

  • 25 g butter
  • 1 heaped tbsp plain flour
  • 1 litres milk
  • 65 g parmesan, grated

Method

1. Start by making the tomato and mushroom sauce. Heat the olive oil in a large pan, add the garlic clove and cook gently until it begins to colour.

2. Remove and discard the garlic, then add the onion and leek to the pan and fry, stirring, until soft.

3. Add the mushroom strips and fry for a minute, then add in the water, cherry tomatoes, parsley and rosemary.

4. Season with salt and pepper and continue to cook for a couple of minutes. Remove from the heat and set aside.

5. Next make the cheese sauce. Melt the butter in a heavy-based saucepan. Stir in the flour and cook gently for 2-3 minutes, stirring well to avoid lumps.

6. Add the milk and Parmesan, whisking all the time with a balloon whisk, and simmer gently until the sauce thickens. Remove from the heat and season with salt and freshly ground pepper.

7. Cut off and discard the black gill from the mushrooms, then slice each mushroom horizontally into 2 to 3 thick slices.

8. Lightly wet the mushroom slices with a little water, dust them in flour and finally coat them with beaten egg.

9. In a large, deep frying pan, heat the oil to a 1cm depth. Add the mushroom slices and fry until golden. Remove from the pan and drain on kitchen paper.

10. Preheat the oven to 200°C/gas 6.

11. Pour a layer of cheese sauce over the bottom of an ovenproof dish, then top with a layer of mushrooms slices, slightly overlapping, followed by a thin layer of cheese sauce, then the tomato and mushroom sauce. Continue to do this until all the ingredients have been used, finishing with a layer of cheese sauce.

12. Cover the pasticcio with kitchen foil and bake for 30 minutes. Remove the foil and continue to bake for 5 more minutes or until golden brown. Remove from the oven and serve immediately.

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