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The Lasagne di Mare

Recipe for Lasagne di mare; this lasagna dish is the result of personal testing experience and the fact that the very nature of these ingredients calls for adapting, improvising. As with the cacciucco (an italian fish stew) the kind of fish going in this recipe will vary depending on what fish is available at the market! 


1 lb. [500 gr.] lasagna noodles
2 lb. [1 kg] of cuttlefish, octopus, squid
2 lb. [1 kg] of fish varied (hen, capon, redfish) also called "soup" or a complete fish, depending on availability
2 lb. [1 kg] of mixed shellfish (mussels, clams)
1.5 lb. [700 gr.] ripe tomatoes
1 or 2 tablespoons of tomato paste
1 cup white wine
2 cloves garlic
dried flakes of hot chillies (optional)
1 onion
1 celery branch,
1 carrot
dried parsley spice
75 g butter
75 g flour
nutmeg for the bechamel sauce


The Fish broth
In a deep skillet bring to a boil 6 cups water; put in half the onion, a carrot, a stalk of celery and the fish or fishes (a sea bass in the ingredients list shown).
Bring to a boil then lower the fire. The boiling time varies according to fish size from 20 to 30 minutes.
When cooked allow the fish to cool  down in its broth. Remove the skin from the fish, put them aside because we will add it back to the sauce when almost done. Strain the fish in the broth with a colander but do not discard the broth! We will use some of it later, in the béchamel.

The shellfish:
Now time to cook the shellfish in a large pot. This of course partially to get them to open and so we can discard those that won't open and
those that contain traces of sand. To open the shellfish, it takes five to ten minutes in a large covered pot, with two cups water, a little oil, a clove of garlic and a good dose of dried parsley.

The lasagna fish sauce:
In a large skillet cook the garlic and flakes of chilli with two tablespoons of tomato paste
Set the stove to high, to first cook the octopus (beat well the octopus before starting the cooking process, discard the octopus' head, eyes and beak) and after about ten minutes add in the cuttlefish. If you use big octopuses and cuttlefish then cut them into pieces. After a few minutes pour in the white wine, let it evaporate a bit and then add the tomatoes.
Lower the fire and partially cover the pot by inserting a wooden spoon so as not to completely close the lid. After about 35-40 minutes remove from heat (see if octopuses are tender- if not keep on cooking them...important!) add the fish skin we had reserved earlier, the seafood and chop everything down with the knife.
Cook it all together for 5 to 10 minutes to reduce liquids. Finally the rest almost goes like with a meat sauce.

Bechamel sauce is prepared like usual except that instead of milk you use the broth we had reserved earlier. In a saucepan make a roux with the butter and flour and gradually add the broth to make a smooth sauce and consistent. Here is a more detailed procedure for the sauce béchamel.

Asssembling the lasagna:
Preheat the oven to 375° F (180° C).  Assemble the lasagna as if it was a regular meat lasagna. Put on the bottom of the lasagna pan two or three pieces of butter. a layer of noodles, a layer of fish sauce and bechamel sauce. Repeat this process, making three or four layers in this way. Finish with the white sauce on the top layer. Finally, sprinkle the top with Parmesan cheese to create a crispy crust. Bake in the oven for 15-20 minutes

Yields about 10-12 portions

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