Sunday, 2 November 2014

Lasagna with red chicory - Lasagne con radicchio

I had some guests last Sunday and, as I did not want to cook the all day, I prepared this autumn/winter recipe in advance. Then I freezed the baking dish before cooking, took out of the freezer the day before, let them in the fridge overnight and put in the oven 1 hr. before eating them. 

If you prepare them the day before, just refrigerate covered with cling film or aluminium foil, which you will remove before putting the baking dish in the oven.

This recipe is a little lighter than the original lasagna with Bolognese sauce, and quite unusual because of the bitterness of the red chicory.  But the vegetables will melt in your mouth and then you will taste the smokey speck. Different tastes, different textures... A great winter treat!

I love to use the season's vegetables, because they usually are more tasty and less expensive.
It takes time to prepare, and as usual I start from the very beginning - making home made pasta. In case you want to use a pasta machine, or your food processor, you will get great results as well. As I believe I take more time in washing and cleaning all the device, I make it the old way, by hand. Remember it is a great exercise for your shoulders and neck as well!
If you use dried lasagna, skip this part and prepare all the other ingredients before boiling the pasta.
Quantities depends on how many courses you have during your meal, if lasagna is the only dish, well consider 5-6, if, as it happens when I entertain, there is plenty of different foods, then consider a 8-9 people.
For a spectacular result, you can also make single portions using little ceramic moulds: the layers of  dark red chicory will make a nice contrast with the yellow pasta. I  made this when preparing my vegetable lasagna last Spring (in this case portions were quite small, as they were part of a 5 course meal).

Ingredients for 6-8

For the home made pasta
2 eggs
About 200 gr / 7 oz 00 Flour (or all purpose)

For the layers

Bechamel sauce:

1,5 liters/ 3 pints milk
150 grs/ 5.30 oz butter
150 grs/ 5.30 oz flour

3 small red chicories /2 big ones
4 shallots
3 tb spoons vegetable oil
2 1/2 cm thick slices Italian speck ham

Butter to grease the baking dish (mine is 30x21x6 cm.)

How to:

1) Peel and cut the shallows very finely.

2) Wash and cut your red chicory.

3) Warm up the oil in a very large and high pan and, over a medium heat,  gently saute the shallots.

  4) When soft, add all the chicory, and stir now and them. They will reduce to less than half by cooking!

Add salt to taste.

5) In the meanwhile, cut the slices of Italian speck ham into stripes and warm them up in a non stick pan until they release the grease and change their colour.

6) Switch off the gas under both pans. 

7) Prepare the bechamel sauce.

8) To make pasta please click here and follow the instructions until you have rolled it out with the pin.

9) Bring a large pan of slightly salted water to the boil.

10) In the meanwhile grease your baking dish with butter.

11) Cut your pasta into squares to fit your baking pan and boil them little by little 2-3 pieces every time. It takes about two minutes.

If you have store-bought pasta for lasagna, follow the instructions on the box, but I recommend to cook it anyway until soft.

Drain them on a clean tea towel.
12) Start making the layers: the first one should be the pasta, then the bechamel sauce, then the speck ham, the vegetables (drain them well squeezing them with your hands), pasta again until you early reach the top. The last layer is bechamel sauce, you should still have a good quantity to close it.

13) Bake in a pre-heated oven at 180°C for 45 minutes or until you see it slightly boil for few minutes. Take out of oven and let it set for 10 minutes before serving, so the bechamel sauce will thincken a bit.

No comments:

Post a Comment