Gennaro Contaldo’s Parmagiana di Funghi

Prep time: 30 minutes
Cooking time: 35 minutes
Serves: 4
Gennaro’s take on a mushroom bake, similar to a lasagne


For the tomato and mushroom sauce

  • 2 large white cap mushrooms, cut into thin strips
  • 4 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed, but left whole
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • ½ leek, finely chopped
  • 2 tbsp water
  • 10 cherry tomatoes, ripe, quartered
  • Handful of parsley leaves, roughly chopped
  • 1 sprig of rosemary needles, finely chopped
  • Salt and pepper

For the cheese sauce

  • 25g butter
  • 1 tbsp plain flour
  • 1 litre milk
  • 150g parmesan, grated
  • Salt and pepper

For the mushrooms

  • 8 large flat Portobello or white cap mushrooms, cleaned with a damp cloth
  • Plain flour, for dusting
  • 3 eggs, beaten
  • Olive or vegetable oil, for shallow frying


  1. Preheat the oven to 200c.
  2. First make the tomato and mushroom sauce. Heat the olive oil in a large pan, add the garlic and cook gently until it begins to colour. Remove and discard the garlic, then add the onions and leeks to the pan and saute until soft. Then add the mushroom strips, saute for a minute, then add the water, tomatoes, parsley and rosemary. Season with salt and pepper and continue to cook for a 5 minutes until it resembles a sauce. Remove from the heat and set aside.
  3. Then make the cheese sauce. Melt the butter in a saucepan, stir in the flour with a small whisk to avoid lumps. Stir in the milk and parmesan, whisking all the time and simmer gently until the sauce thickens. Remove from the heat and season with salt and pepper. Set aside.
  4. Cut off and discard the black gills from the mushrooms, then slice each mushroom horizontally into 2 or 3 thick slices. Lightly wet the mushroom slices in a little water, dust them in flour, then coat with beaten egg. In a large pan, heat some oil to a depth of about 1 cm, add the mushroom slices and fry until golden. Drain on kitchen paper.
  5. Pour a layer of tomato and mushroom sauce on the bottom of an ovenproof dish, then top with a layer of mushroom slices slightly overlapping, followed by a thin layer of cheese sauce, then the tomato and mushroom sauce. Continue to do this until you have used up all the ingredients finishing off with a layer of cheese sauce.
  6. Cover with aluminium foil and bake in the oven for 30 minutes. After 30 minutes, remove the aluminium foil and bake uncovered for 5 minutes until golden-brown. Remove from the oven and serve immediately.


  • This dish is prepared in a very similar way to lasagne, without the pasta, and the classic parmigiana dish, which is traditionally made with aubergines. It takes a little organisation, but makes a substantial and delicious vegetarian main course. Instead of the usual tomato sauce, I have made a drier sauce using mushrooms and cherry tomatoes as the cheese sauce is already runny.
  • © Gennaro Contaldo