Friday, 29 June 2012

Baby Lasagna ai Frutti di Mare e Zucchine (Open Lasagna with Prawns, Squid and Zucchine Ribbons)




                                                   

Today I made this dish: a combination of delicious "fruits" of the sea and the land, to remind me of home: gorgeous, shiny green courgettes, garlic, calamari and prawns, all went into my fantastic sauce. A good recipe for  a musical rapsodia!





What would my mamma have made of this "open" lasagna idea? I think she would have loved it! If she hadn't... I would have been able to tell, just by the way she played with the food and held her cutlery! True!





I made some lasagna sheets (if you make this dish, you can use shop bought lasagna, fresh or dry) using just plain (all purpose) flour and semolina, with warm water and salt. No eggs in my pasta, as , I rember that my mother only put egg (but not as many as some TV chefs use!) in pasta to be eaten with brodo (Italian consomme`)



I used my mum's recipe: good texture and cholesterol free, to make lasagne, which I cut into smallish 10-12 cm squares.

The sauce smelled absolutely delicious, and I couldn't help feeling a bit homesick for Italy, but then, I told myself: not long till you're there, Anna... not long till you can smell the seaweed, play with the stars at night and falll asleep in the arms of a silver moon, with music all around...  not long till you walk through avenue of palm trees, laden with dates, kissed by a hot Southern wind...



We need to wake up from the dream, now and make my new dish:



Baby Lasagna
ai Frutti di Mare
e Zucchina
(Individual Open
Lasagna with Prawns, Squid
 and Courgette Ribbons)
Ingredients:



Serves 2
For the Fresh Lasagna:

125 g (4 oz) semolina
125g (4 oz) plain (all purpose) flour
Large pinch of salt
Some warm water
1 large courgette
(zucchina)

For the sauce

  Ingredients:

Olive oil
(as much as you like)
2 garlic cloves
250g (8 oz) cherry tomatoes
2tbsp passata
200g (8 oz)  peeled prawns
6 whole squid
chopped parsley
salt
black pepper

I made my pasta by hand, by simply placing my dry ingredients onto a bord, making a well in the middle and adding enough warm water to make a soft, but consistent  dough.

I rolled the dough with a rolling pin, but, if you prefer your lasagna  very thin (I don't!) you can use a "Paperina", a pasta machine, to make pasta strips, to be cut into 8 squares big enough to fit in the middle of the plates you are going to use.






Next, using a peeler, cut your washed courgette (zucchina) into ribbons (use all of it and, if you would like to use more than one, you can!) Set aside with your baby lasagna squares, till you are ready to cook your pasta.





I made my sauce in a wok, as I fancied doing that. I placed some olive oil at the base of it and while this was heating, I chopped two lovely cloves of my beautiful garlic from sunny Spain. This was added to the hot oil and followed by my  little cherry tomatoes I had previously washed and halved.





I let the tomatoes cook for a good 5-7 minutes, then added a couple of small tablespoons of passata, as I wanted to make a thickish sauce, suitable for a lasagna dish. I turned down the heat and cooked for a good 15 minutes (sauces need to cook- don't believe those TV chefs who undercook everything! )



 



Having washed and sliced my squid, I added it to the sauce, followed by my delicious prawns. I will be honest with you: the aroma was driving me crazy: WOW!






When I could see my fish was cooked, I added a generous handful of fresh Italian flat leaved parsley, full of flavour and sunshine. My sauce was ready!



I cooked my lasagna in a pan of boiling water (BTW: I have seen people here in UK do a most horrific thing: THEY COOK THEIR PASTA IN COLD WATER! A good recipe for home made glue, I would say, and very wrong: pasta is cooked in boiling hot water.)






As my pasta was fresh, it cooked within 3 or 4 minutes. At the last minute, I added my courgette ribbons to the pan.
Having drained my pasta and courgette ribbons, I made alternate layers of pasta (lasagna) and sauce, to finish off with plenty of seafood and fantastic parsley. Black pepper is a must, with seafood, so I used plenty of that: its aroma is wonderful!




The dish, unlike traditional lasagna, is not baked, but served immediately: fresh, colourful and just molto, molto delizioso!



  



38 comments:

  1. Anna, this looks magnificent....can't wait to give it a try next time I feel like transporting my family from Hobart to Italy via a plate! Have a lovely weekend. Rx

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi! Well... anything is possible! If you use your mind and your sense of smell, cooking a lovely dish can work the magic: it can help you imagine that you are somewhere different and nice, like Italy, in this case! Via plate!

      The Open lasagna idea is fantastic, I must say! Try it!

      CIAO!

      ANNA
      x

      Delete
  2. Anna,

    This looks beautiful and delicious. I too did not know that you had to add pasta to boiling water (oops), and I had never seen anyone slice zucchini that way. I am excited to try this since we now have fresh veggies at the market. I have never bought squid though.

    I wish I were going to Italy or maybe I should take that back because I may not want to leave.

    xx

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You see? You always learn something new! Yes, pasta should not be cooked in cold water, but added to a pan of furiously boiling hot water, followed by some salt and a quick stir, as soon as the pasta goes in. You let it cook on a high heat for a couple of minutes, then turn down. Us Italians are extremely fussy, when it comes to pasta: it has to be good quality, not cheap, made in Italy, because we make the best using durum wheat, which ensures excellent texture and flavour. The same applies to racing cars... we make the best... not out of durum wheat and we don't eat them... we don't eat cars, but we eat pasta, lots of it!

      I think it's lovely that you have fresh vegetables at the market. I love markets, especially in Italy and I;m crazy about vegetables!

      PS: You would LOVE Italy!

      CIAO!

      ANNA
      xx

      Delete
  3. Dear Anna - I can sense your excitement mounting with the smell of Italy on your nostrils. The dish looks, as usual, delicious. Did you grow the baby zucchini still with their flowers, or is that a photo taken in Italy?
    I remember we once had a delicious meal with stuffed zucchini flowers in the beautiful little walled town of Monteriggioni.
    If I make the dish, I am afraid I would have to leave out the squid, it is just not to my taste, so I would have it with a few extra nice fat prawns.
    I know that you are keen on all the fruits of the sea from what you said on H's post regarding the sea urchins. We both enjoyed reading your comments.
    Take care dear Anna♥
    Ciao

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Dear Rosemary,

      Of course you can make the dish without the squid! It would still taste ultra delicious, especially if you add a few prawns in their shells (they have more flavour!)

      The photo you refer to was taken in Italy. I use the zucchine flowers in frittata (Italian omelette) and especially stuffed, and now, in a pasta dish I do.

      I once cooked a dish for my husband, in Italy, in which I used a bag of courgette plant young tips, leaves and tendrils. I also added some tender stalks. I cooked the greens with pasta and then made a garlic based tomato sauce to go with it (and pecorino cheese, of course!)

      My husband said it was the best thing he had ever eaten. I remembered my aunt cooking the dish, when I was little. You know, if something was green, my mum and my aunt ate it!

      The sea urchin post was very interesting and I actually have seen a fossil like the white, flat one in the post (It's very white, chalky looking and flat!)

      Thank you for your comment, dear Rosemary. They are always welcome!

      Buona serata!

      ANNA
      xx

      Delete
  4. Dear Anna
    The dish looks great and delicious. Is it easy to make your own lasagne? Usually we buy from the supermarket. My mother make something similar with leaves, about 100, and molds, dries and cuts off thin pieces. Here in Greek we call noodles ( χυλοπιτες). The next time I'll send you .We've got the whole season and cook with tomato sauce and cheese (φετα). Congratulations for Euro 2012. Italy-Germany 2-0. I saw two matches, Greece and Italy. I liked yours very much !! Here, we have very hot.
    Have a great weekend
    Olympia

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Dear Olympia,

      In Italy, and in England, people buy lasagna from the supermarket. I don't make beef lasagna often, as I am not a fan of minced meat and I prefer lighter, heathier, Southern Italian dishes, to the other kind. I like light dishes full of flavour.

      Us Italians are very lucky, as our cuisine is varied and exciting.

      I made lasagna for the blog, as I like showing my readers something a bit more interesting, than just shop bought stuff, but, like I said, supermarket bought lasagna, cut into small squares, is ok for this dish (has to be cooked, of course!) You don't have to make pasta... believe me... not many do, especially as there are lots of places in Italian cities (pastifici) where they make it for you. You don't want to eat too much fresh pasta, anyway! too many calories, but it's so good!

      I know that in Greece you like to cook with tomatoes and cheese. I love Greek food... all of it! It's delicious.

      I'll be watching football tomorrow and we'll see how it goes... it's fun and I'm just sad I'm not already in Italy, as, if I were, I would have join in the celebrations. I hope we have something to celebrate, tomorrow.

      I can't wait to be in Italy! Some like it hot and... I do, too!

      CIAO!

      Your friend

      ANNA (that relaxing tea is so relaxing, it's scary!I love it! And the green tea with flowers... I love that, too!)
      xx

      Delete
  5. You make me hungry - although it's so hot today!

    :-)

    ♥ Franka

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Dear Franka... my ancient Roman ancestors taught me that life is there to be enjoed, no matter what the atmosphere is doing!

      Too hot to eat? Then have an ice cold G&T with ice and lime, or a nice Pernod (which I love!) or can I tempt you with some nicely chilled Moet&Chandon? Prosecco isn't bad eaither and I hope it will flow, tomorrow night!

      Happy WEEKEND!

      ANNA
      x

      Delete
  6. Gorgeous recipe and may I just say how much I love your comments on my blog ? They are always very much appreciated !x

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hello! I'm glad you like my blog and my comments on your blog! They sometimes are a bit "original"... shall we say!

      Well, I love your blog, too, as I'm just beginning to appreciate the fact that I was born in a city, in Italy, with a massive Norman heritage and I'm kind of beginning to take pride in that!

      CIAO!

      ANNA
      xxx

      Delete
  7. Oh my goodness, that look SO GOOD!!!!! And thank you for your sweet comment. I really appreciate your opinion. I hadn't really thought about it that much until you mentioned it. Then I saw it. Have a wonderful week!

    Kristin xoxo

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Kristin! Yes, tant was a beautiful and interesting photo, especially because of those patterns!

      I'm glad you like the look of my recipe. I can't wait to get to Italy and make it with fresh, local ingredients!

      HAPPY WEEK! Here... it's raining!

      CIAO!

      ANNA :)

      Delete
  8. Your dish looks amazing. I wish I could reach out and taste the flavors. It would be heaven to go to the open air markets and buy fresh vegetables and bread. Thanks for visiting Anna. CIAO! Linda

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Linda! I love your zucchini cakes and will make then for sure!
      I love open air markets, especially in my part of Puglia, Italy, where we have an incredible selection if vegetables! But often you just go to supermarkets, in Italy, which is fine, too, as all the vegetables and most of the food tend to be local and organic, anyway!

      Have good day!

      CIAO!

      ANNA

      Delete
  9. Anna! You ar SOOOO very talented! This looks awesome! I love seafood a lot and this is a recipe for summer! The beautiful story going along with it is so nice - I would have loved to hear more and not wake up from the dream... but as you say soon you will be in the middle of sun, familiar smells... Did you know, Anna, that you are already very famous among my family and friends? Yesterday evening some of them went out to watch the football match in a garden restaurant and they were discussing about you and your blog? (Paul told me!). That's fantastic - so as soon as your book is out we shall all buy a copy! Thank you also for your warm comment on my yesterday's post. You would love Ina as she is a gifted cook as well. Ciao - sleep well and dream sweetly of ITALIA! BMH&B Christa

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Dear Christa,

      You make me feel SOOO GOOD! Thank you so much for your lovely comment. It feels good to be famous (joke!)

      You must try this recipe. I know you'll be able to make it as good as the original. I must say: I forgot to put it in my list of ingredients, but, I also put a small amount of chopped fresh rosemary, in the recipe, with the garlic. You can actually taste it and it's good!

      Christa, I'm just so ready for Italy! it rained all night, tonight, and I also need to see my family and feel their love. I need to feel the hot sun on my skin and see the blue of the sea and the sky. I know you know what I mean!

      And I WILL send you a card!

      BMH&B
      ANNA
      :)

      Delete
  10. I know what you mean, Anna! It's good to feel the hot sun and see the blue sky and sea and if this all is Italian it's even better! Yes, you are really famous here, Anna! (I did not want to make you feel good - it is true!) Everybody admires your (cookery) skills and the stories behind it! Actually here in Switzerland everybody wants to be in Italy. Sometimes we just go for the weekend and sometimes only for a bit of shopping good Italian food... I wanted to make lemon risotto and scampis tomorrow but when I reread your recipe I will do that and I shall post about it! How long to go before your departure? BMH&B Christa

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Dear Christa,

      I was just telling my brother that I'm not sure about dates, but I really can't wait to get to Italy. I have been feeling stressed lately and I know that one of the reasons is the facy that my body and my mind need to feel the heat and see the colours of Italy. It's not a romantic notion, but a physical need.

      All the lovely things you say about my wonderful country make me happy. I am passionate about Italy and a bit of a nationalist (but in a good way.) Italy is so beautiful and Italian people are mostly very nice (with exceptions!)

      Thank you for your extreme kindness.

      BMH&B
      ANNA
      x

      Delete
  11. Bela receita...Espectacular....
    Cumprimentos

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Grazie mille, Fernando! Le tue foto sono molto belle!

      ANNA

      Delete
  12. Cara Anna,
    Que una belisimo receita.. durante questa semana eu vou cozinhar esta "dish"
    Its a divine dish. I have made something similar here, however I love your recipe and will be cooking it this week for sure. Its boiling hot here. wine is in the freezer, both red and one of my favorites to drink with fish..is vinho verde.. chilled.
    Its been non stop eating and drinking here. I dont need to tell you how it is. You will be experienceing it soon. Cant wait for you to tell us your surprise.!
    I like your lasagne recipe.. its simple.
    Hope that you are all well there in Uk.. I see the weather is not so good!
    sending you some sunshine and hugs from Alentejo.
    Malto baci.
    val xxxx

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Cara Val... Ciao!
      So good to know you managed to tear yourself away from the Vinho Verde, to come and say ciao! Yes, the weather id bl##dy awful here and I am feeling depressed, BIG TIME!
      We are leaving on the 19th, as we need to get there ASAP, otherwise I'll die. I need sun and light and that's it!
      Glad you like my recipe... it's really, really good! Do try it, but make sure you follow ALL my instructions!
      As I write, I have some beef cannelloni baking in the oven, for my next post (really traditional and old fashioned.) I also make a veggie version-my recipe- which I actually prefer, but that will be posted another time. I'm not going to pretend I'm a vegetarian... I like everything!
      Well... carry on having fun, Val! I'll be enjoying my Italian Summer very, very soon!

      Molti baci a te... e un abbraccio...

      ANNA
      xxx

      Delete
  13. Perfect to enjoy during this gorgeous Italian summer we are experiencing. I hope you are as well by now Anna. x

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Lindy! We will be there in just over a week and I can't wait! An Italian Summer is always perfect, isn't it?

      It's been a very long Winter here, and it's still not over... much too long!

      Buona notte

      ANNA
      xx

      Delete
  14. This looks wonderful Anna! So fresh and achievable! I have never attempted making my own pasta (even though i often make my own pizza dough)as somehow it carries an air of mystery and complication,only being ahievable by tv chefs and Italians! You have taken away the fear and dont even use a machine - just plain ingredients and a rolling pin - even i can try this!
    Although i must admit to having a proper Italian made pasta machine sitting in my larder, never used - alongside my ice-cream machine (never used) even though i have made lots of lovely icecream quite happily without it!
    I have so much to catch up on here as i have been limiting my computer time and have therefore got behind with visiting!
    Thankyou for taking the time to prepare this recipe to share and I look forward to catching up here!
    Have a great weekend, it sounds like you will soon be heading for Italy!
    Gill xx

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Dear Gill... you have got it completely: I do try to make it look easy and achievable! I am a working woman, and certainly not just a housewife ( though I AM a homemaker and love it!)and I wasn't brought up to make my own pasta! But I try and I make it (just for the blog, though and, believe me... women, in Italy have better things to do with their time, than make pasta- and they don't, really!)But, you see... nothing is impossible and, if I can attempt to make pasta, so can you! I may be Italian, but a pasta maker, I'm not. I just like the idea of encouraging people to try, like I do. I, too, am a dilettante and a lazy one! I have a pasta making machine thing, but I prefer a rolling pin (I like my pasta really chunky and rustic! Though I know it's not perfect!)

      Thank you for taking the time to comment. Next post coming up very soon, though in a week I shall be drinking coffee and chatting to my sister... in Italy!

      ANNA
      xx

      Delete
  15. Wow that looks so fresh and good, Yum.

    ReplyDelete
  16. Anna, Anna, AAANNNNAAA - I am so pleased that everything is fine with you! Thanks for your comment. Take your time - now you calmed me. I was worried that something is wrong with you. Enjoy vibrant Italy - here it is getting autumn now - take as much sun as you can! We are waiting for you and your recipes and stories! BMH&B Christa

    ReplyDelete
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