Wednesday, April 19, 2000 - Food Section - Page E3
MATZO 'LASAGNA' FOR THE SEDER
Rachel Travers, Globe Correspondent
The 8 days of Passover, with the dietary exclusion of anything made with leavening, can leave a home cook searching for menu variations. This recipe for scacchi di funghi, or Passover wild mushroom and matzo "lasagna," originates with Joel Pinkwas, executive chef of Vinny Testa's, who made it for the restaurant's Italian Seder last year. It makes a fabulous vegetarian entree and is a nice contrast to the meat and chicken dishes traditionally served during this holiday season.
It also makes an elegant side dish.
The "lasagna" is basically sauteed wild mushrooms, sauteed onions, and sheets of water-soaked matzo alternated in layers. The original recipe used 10 pounds of mushrooms; this version uses less. You can vary the mushrooms, but definitely use some wild ones for flavor.
PASSOVER WILD MUSHROOM AND MATZO "LASAGNA"
1 pound shiitake mushrooms
1 pound black trumpet mushrooms
2 pounds portobello mushrooms
2 pounds oyster mushrooms
3/4 cup olive oil
1/2 cup chopped shallots
Kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper
2 large Spanish onions, sliced
3 Tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary leaves
8 pieces matzo
8 large eggs
2 Tablespoons fresh thyme leaves
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and set the rack to the center of the oven. Lightly oil a 9-by-13-by-3-inch or 10-by-12-by-3-inch baking pan.
Remove the stems from all the mushrooms, wipe clean if necessary, and cut into slices. Keep the different varieties separate.
Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large heavy skillet over medium heat and saute 2 tablespoons of the chopped shallots until softened. Add a single layer of mushrooms (one variety at a time), season with salt and pepper, and cook until well browned. Set aside to drain on paper towels.
Repeat this procedure for each of the 4 varieties of mushrooms.
Wipe out the skillet, then heat the remaining 4 tablespoons of oil and add the sliced onions. Season with salt, pepper, and rosemary and saute until well browned. Set aside to drain.
Soak the sheets of matzo briefly in cool water until soft.
Lightly beat the eggs with the thyme leaves. Season with salt and pepper.
Spread the onions in a single layer on the baking pan. Cover them with a single layer of soaked matzo, filling in any spaces with broken pieces of matzo.
Add a layer of mushrooms, then another of matzo. Continue layering mushroom varieties with matzo, ending with a layer of mushrooms.
Pour the egg mixture over the top layer, making sure it covers the top completely and reaches the corners of the pan.
Bake for 50 to 55 minutes or until an inserted knife comes out clean.
Let rest for 10 to 15 minutes before cutting. Serve hot.
Serves 8 to 10.