Seafood & Parsley Lasagne

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Preparation info

  • For

    8

    • Difficulty

      Medium

Appears in

Food of the Sun: A Fresh Look at Mediterranean Cooking

Food of the Sun

By Alastair Little and Richard Whittington

Published 1995

  • About

This is a very special lasagne, using expensive ingredients. Pre-cooked pasta sheets, bought ready to go into the oven, are one of the great labour-saving boons of recent times and, as long as you remember to make your sauce more liquid than you otherwise would, the results are generally excellent. However, if you have a pasta machine and are in the habit of making your own, then you know that rolling out sheets is quick and easy. This recipe invites you to make the dish with an egg-rich home-made lasagne but, of course, it will still be good using the commercial instant variety - you will need one 225 g/8 oz box. Cooking time in the oven is critical - too long and all those expensive shellfish will go rubbery.

Ingredients

  • 1 litre/ pt Quick Tomato Sauce
  • 55 g/2 oz flour
  • 55 g/2 oz butter
  • 850 ml/ pt milk
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 sherry glass (4 tbsp) of dry sherry
  • 1/2 nutmeg
  • 450 g/1 lb clams
  • 24 tiger prawns
  • 450 g/1 lb squid
  • bunch of flat-leaf parsley
  • 1 kg/ lb mussels
  • about 5 tbsp dry white wine
  • salt and pepper

For the Pasta

  • 500 g/1 lb 2 oz strong white bread flour, plus more for dusting
  • small pinch of salt
  • 5 eggs

Method

Preparation

If using your own, first make the pasta dough by sifting the flour with the salt into a food processor. Add the eggs and turn on at full speed, stopping as soon as the dough balls. Transfer to a floured surface and knead as for bread for 8-10 minutes, shaking on a little more flour if it gets too sticky. Wrap in cling film and leave to rest for 1 hour. (You will also need to rest after all that kneading, but can do so without being cling-wrapped.)

Roll out it out into sheets, using a pasta machine setting 2.

Make the tomato sauce as described.

Make a béchamel sauce: melt the butter in a saucepan over a gentle heat, stir in the flour and cook the roux for a few minutes or so. Whisk in the milk, add the bay leaf and the sherry and simmer for 20 minutes. Season with grated nutmeg, salt and pepper.

While the sauce is simmering, put the clams in the freezer for 15 minutes. They will then open just enough for you to slip a knife in and lever them open. Detach the clams and add to the tomato sauce.

Peel and devein the prawns and add those to the tomato sauce. Clean the squid and cut into bite-sized pieces and add to the sauce.

Chop up 4 tablespoons of parsley and stir this in too.

Debeard, scrape and wash the mussels, discarding those that don’t close when tapped. Then steam them briefly with the wine in a tightly lidded saucepan until they open. Drain, reserving the juices. Leave to cool slightly and remove from the shells. Add the shelled mussels and reserved juices to the sauce.

Preheat the oven to 200°C/400°F/gas6. Brush a rectangular 27 cm/10¾ in ovenproof dish with olive oil.

If using fresh pasta, arrange the sheets overlapping the sides as well as covering the base. In any case, start by covering the base first.

Spoon over one-third of the tomato and shellfish sauce. Put 4 tablespoons of béchamel on top. Put on a second layer of pasta and another third of the tomato sauce. Then arrange another pasta layer, followed by the remaining tomato sauce and a final layer of pasta. Pour over the remaining béchamel and grate nutmeg over the top.

Cooking

Put the dish on a baking sheet and bake for 25-30 minutes.

Serving

Leave to stand for 10 minutes before cutting, but serve piping hot.

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