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:
ai Frutti di Mare
Lasagna with Prawns, Squid
and Courgette Ribbons)
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
For the sauce
(as much as you like)
2 garlic cloves
250g (8 oz) cherry tomatoes
200g (8 oz) peeled prawns
6 whole squid
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!