Crab, Pine Nut and Gorgonzola Lasagna (25 March 2004)
Now this is interesting !! As lasagna is the simplest pasta to make, this is a very good starting point for beginners. Thanks to Nick Peirano and Saveur magazine (March 2004) for the inspiration.
1 small, sweet red bell pepper
4 cloves garlic, peeled
Sprinkle of olive oil
3/4 cup of milk
1/4 cup of cream
Zest of a 1/4 to 1/3 lemon, grated or julienned (wash it, eh?)
Salt to taste
3 tablespoons butter
1/8 cup all purpose flour, sifted
Preheat the oven to 350° F. Cut carefully around the stem of the red pepper to remove its core, then pull the core straight out to remove it. Briefly rinse the inside of the pepper (I assume you already washed the outside), then drop the garlic cloves inside. Place the pepper in foil, sprinkle with oil, then loosely wrap it and roast for about 45 or 50 minutes until soft.
Pop the roasted pepper into a bowl and seal tightly with plastic wrap. After about 15 minutes, remove the garlic cloves from the pepper and mash them with a fork, mince to molecular size, and reserve. Peel the pepper and julienne it. It is part of the filling below.
Heat the milk, cream, lemon zest, roasted and mashed garlic, and salt until just hot, not boiling, stirring to mix it thoroughly.
In another pot, heat the butter until melted, add the flour and create a roux by whisking vigorously for a couple of minutes (be sure the flour is cooked, but not burnt).
Add the hot liquid mixture to the roux and whisk constantly until it has become as thick as sour cream, about 5 to 10 minutes. Cover and keep just warm to prevent skim from forming, whisking a little occasionally.
9 sheets of fresh lasagna, 9-inches by 3 inches
In a pot of salted, boiling water, drop the lasagna and cook for just 90 seconds or two minutes until al dente. You can use dry pasta if you do not have the proper equipment for fresh pasta. Cook dried lasagna for 8 to 10 minutes for desired doneness.
4 ounces pine nuts (use unseasoned, uncoloured pistachios for a very exotic dish)
3 tablespoons gorgonzola, crumbled
12 to 16 small porcini or button mushrooms, cleaned and sliced thinly
10 ounces fresh crab meat (cut the larger pieces)
Reserved julienned red pepper
1/4 cup each romano and parmegiano regiano, grated
2 to 3 teaspoons dried basil
Fresh-ground pepper to taste
Preheat oven to 375° F. Coat a 9-inch square deep baking dish with butter. Make a layer of three cooked lasagna sheets, then spoon a quarter of the béchamel sauce evenly over the pasta. Sprinkle half each of the gorgonzola, crab, red pepper, and mushrooms evenly over this. Sprinkle a third each of the pine nuts, romano and parmegiano mix, basil and fresh-ground pepper on, then spoon another quarter of the sauce on.
Make another layer of lasagna, béchamel, and filling. Top all of it with the final layer of lasagna, then sprinkle the rest of the romano/parmegiano mix, pine nuts, basil and pepper on top.
Bake for about 30 minutes until golden brown and bubbly.
Serve with a green salad.