Lasagne Pesce al Forno

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wwltv.com

Posted on June 21, 2011 at 5:55 PM

 

The Tomato Sauce:
1 small onion, finely chopped
3 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
6 cloves garlic, minced
2 (28) oz. cans tomatoes, strained or chopped
6 Tbsp. fresh basil, chopped
2 tsp. Frank Davis Sicilian Seasoning
Pinch red pepper flakes

The Béchamel Sauce:
4 Tbsp. unsalted butter
1/4 cup all purpose flour
2 cups whole milk
1/8 tsp. sea salt
1/8 tsp. white pepper
Dash fresh ground nutmeg

The Spinach Layer:
1-1/2 lbs. fresh spinach, washed and dried
3 Tbsp. unsalted butter, in pats
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 tsp. Frank Davis Vegetable Seasoning
1 tsp. black pepper (or to taste)

The Seafood Layer:
1 lb. shrimp, 26-30 count, peeled and deveined
2 Tbsp. salted butter + 2 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp. Frank Davis Seafood Seasoning
1 lb. Louisiana crawfish tails, precooked with fat
1 lb. Louisiana lump crabmeat
1 Tbsp. Italian parsley, finely minced
 

Sicilian Lagniappe:
1 lb. broad lasagna noodles, cooked al dente
2 Tbsp. butter for greasing lasagna pans
1/2 cup Romano cheese, grated
1-1/2 cups freshly shredded mozzarella or Fontana cheese
2 Tbsp. Frank Davis Sicilian Seasoning


 

 

To do the pasta, place a high-sided fryer or skillet on the stove, pour in enough water to bring the level up halfway, sprinkle in a pinch or two of salt, pour in about 2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil, and take the water up to a full boil.  Then drop in about 4 noodles at a time, so that they don’t crowd or overlap each other, and boil them until they turn slightly opaque and become limp (but not fully cooked!).  When they’re ready, remove them from the skillet with a pair of tongs and place them in single layers on the countertop on clean dry dish towels.  Set aside and let cool for a while.

To make the sauce, cook the onion in the olive oil until it wilts and becomes tender.  Then drop in the garlic and stir well, cooking the mixture for an additional minute or two.  When you’re satisfied at the way everything has come together, add the tomatoes, the basil and the seasonings to the skillet, bring everything to a boil, but then immediately reduce the heat to a simmer.  At that point, lightly cover the skillet and cook the sauce for about 30 minutes until semi-thickened.  (These proportions should make about 4 cups).  Set the aside momentarily, too.

To do the béchamel, melt the butter in a heavy saucepan over low heat.  Once it is completely melted and bubbling, add the flour and mix well with a wooden spoon.  Cook for a minute or two or until the flour just begins to take on some color.  Slowly start adding the milk, whisking continuously, to prevent lumps from forming.  Continue to simmer until the sauce begins to thicken, stirring often.  Then season the mix with a pinch of salt, white pepper, and nutmeg.  Set this aside also until you are ready to use, by pouring it into a glass bowl and covering it with a buttered sheet of plastic wrap. 

To do the spinach, coarsely chop it, put it into a microwave safe bowl, and nuke it until it totally wilts.  When that happens, remove the bowl from the often, immediately mix in the butter, the garlic, the vegetable seasoning, and the black pepper, and sit the spinach aside. 
 

To prep the seafood, coarsely chop the shrimp, combine the butter and the olive oil, and bring them to a sizzle in a heavy skillet.  Then drop in the shrimp, sprinkle them with the seafood seasoning, and sauté just until pink.  Remove them from the pan at this point and place them in a bowl next to the crabmeat and the crawfish tails.  Again, set aside.

At this stage you’re ready to assemble the lasagna.
First, drizzle some tomato sauce across the bottom of a standard size lasagna pan and position a layer of noodles on top the sauce.  Then spread a thin layer of the béchamel over the tomato sauce and dot it with a generous layer of shrimp.  Next, cover this layer with more noodles and another layer of tomato sauce, plus the crawfish, the spinach, and the Romano cheese.  Then add yet another layer of noodles, plus more béchamel, plus the crabmeat (but don’t break it all apart!), plus all the remaining seafood and spinach left over.  Then finish building the lasagna by putting down one last layer of noodles.  Once they are in place, cover the top evenly with a little more béchamel, the extra tomato sauce and the Romano cheese.  Finally, cap off the pan with a serious helping of mozzarella cheese and a crowning sprinkle of Sicilian Seasoning.

All that’s left is to bake the pasta pan—uncovered—on the center rack of a preheated oven at 350 degrees for about 45 minutes or until the dish becomes bubbly and turns a golden brown.  I suggest you let it set for at least 10 minutes before slicing and serving it. 
 

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Chef’s Note

  1. I find that this is one lasagna that does not freeze well (the seafood becomes all stringy and chewy when defrosted).  So prepare it the day you plan on serving it (or at least one day before service); that way you can hold it in your refrigerator until ready to bake).  Here’s a hint: If you prefer, rather than cooking all the noodles ahead of the assembly, you can cook each layer in the deep-sided skillet as you progress.
  2. If you’d like to add other favorite ingredients, like mushrooms, sliced green onions, parsley, flaked fish, and such, go right ahead.  Because if you follow the basic recipe procedure you absolutely cannot mess it up!

 

 

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