Lasagne Pesce al Forno ~ Fresh pasta layers blanket two different sauces which are topped with mixed seafood and sauteed spinach in this colorful and delicious recipe. A great recipe for entertaining! I find that seafood lasagne too often tastes a little bland. This recipe which adds layers of spinach sauteed with garlic in between the seafood layers certainly is anything but bland. Although a little time consuming, as well as expensive since it uses fresh seafood, this dish is perfect for any special event. The presentation is also very pretty, using the colors of the Italian flag, but it is the combination of flavors of all the ingredients that will bring you rave reviews!
Serves 6 to 8
by Deborah Mele
2 (28oz) Can Tomatoes (I use Pomi strained or chopped tomatoes)
3 Cloves Garlic Minced
1 Small Onion, Finely Chopped
2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
5 Tablespoons Chopped Fresh Basil
Pinch of Red Pepper Flakes
1 Recipe Bechamel Sauce
4 Cups Unbleached Flour
5 Extra Large Eggs
Pinch of Salt
For The Spinach Layer:
1 Pound Fresh Spinach, Washed And Dried
1 Tablespoon Olive Oil
1 Clove Garlic, Finely Chopped
Salt & Pepper
For The Seafood Layer:
1 Pound Shrimps, Cleaned And Deveined
1 Pound Scallops, Washed And Dried
1 (6oz) Salmon Steak Or Fillet
2 Tablespoons Butter
2 Tablespoons Oil
2 Tablespoons Butter To Grease The Lasagne Pan
1/2 Cup Romano Cheese, Grated
1 Cup Freshly Grated Mozzarella or Fontina Cheese
Salt & Pepper
To make the pasta, mound your flour on a large pastry board, or the counter with the salt, and make a well in the center. Break the eggs into this well, and start to scramble each egg with a fork as it is being added. Start to incorporate the eggs and flour by slowly bringing more flour in from the inside edges of the well. Continue adding the flour to the eggs until they are no longer runny. Using your hands now, bring the outside edges in, forming a large mass on your board. Use only the amount of flour needed to form a soft ball.
Begin to knead the ball of dough as you would bread, pushing it down with the heel of your hand. Continue kneading until the dough is smooth and satiny, for about 5 to 7 minutes. Wrap the prepared dough in plastic wrap, and let it sit for about 30 minutes.
Use a pasta roller or roll by hand to make long sheets of pasta 1/4 thick. I use my Kitchen Aide table mixer with the pasta attachment and roll my pasta to the third last position or to number 6 on the dial. After rolling, cut into 12 inch long strips. Precook in boiling water for 30 seconds, then place in ice water. Dry and set aside on clean kitchen towels.
To make the sauce, cook the onion in the oil the onion until it is tender. Add the garlic and stir well, cooking an additional minute. Finally add the tomatoes, basil and seasonings. Bring everything to a boil and then reduce heat to a simmer. Cook for about 30 minutes until thickened. Set aside 4 Cups.
To make the spinach, coarsely chop the spinach and microwave until wilted. Mix the oil and garlic into the spinach, and season with salt and pepper. Set aside
Coarsely chop the shrimp and scallops, and cut the salmon into 1 inch pieces. Heat 1 tablespoon of butter, and one of oil in a heavy skillet. First add the shrimps, season with salt and pepper, and cook just until pink. Remove from the pan. In the same pan, heat the remaining oil and butter, and cook the scallops, and then the salmon in the same manner. Set aside
To assemble the lasagne, first drizzle some tomato sauce along the bottom of the lasagne pan. Place a layer of lasagne noodles in the baking pan to cover, and then spread a thin layer of bechamel. Dot this with the shrimp. Cover this layer with more noodles, and then add a layer of tomato sauce, spinach, and romano cheese. Add the next layer of noodles and more bechamel and then the scallops. Finish the layers in this manner using up all of the seafood and spinach. Once the final layer is in place, cover lightly with either the bechamel or tomato sauce, and sprinkle with some romano and mozzarella cheese.
Bake in a preheated oven at 350 degrees F. for 45 minutes until bubbly and golden brown. Let sit 10 minutes before serving
Note: This is one lasagne I find does not freeze well, so prepare it the day you plan on serving it. If you prefer, rather than cooking all of the lasagne sheets ahead of assembling, you can cook each layer as you progress.