I discovered the concept of making lasagna aperta through Enrico Masia, an Italian chef. Great idea! Lighter than the classic lasagne bolognese that would entail three days of laborious effort to produce.
I made pasta using a bit of greens for color, rolled the pasta with a pin and let it air dry for three days on a sparse blanket of cornmeal. (I could have used it that day but had other plans).
The sauce is made with shrimp, shrimp stock, onions and tomatoes, garlic (of course), fresh ginger, cream, and some saffron for flavor. Chef Masia used asparagus and white noodles. I preferred brussel sprouts since I hardly eat those little things and I quite like them. Oh, and I added some orange rind to the sauce and some Aleppo pepper to give it a touch of heat.
Fun to make, perfect make-ahead meal for a party, I am going to be making lasagne aperta from now on!
P.S: aperta means open in Italian. (I am guessing since in French it is ouverte, and in Spanish abierta)
First step: Make the pasta
- 8 ounces or 250 g. of all-purpose flour (if you have Flour 00, great!)
- 2 eggs (large)
- 1 ounce of steamed greens (I used arugula)
- Can use a food processor or your fingers; place the steamed greens in the bowl of the processor (make sure they are well drained and quite dry first); chop in the processor with the eggs for one minute or so.
- Add the flour and process until the dough holds together. Remove, knead briefly on the counter and let it rest for 30 minutes covered with a damp towel.
- If using a pasta machine, cut small pieces of dough and run through the machine; if using a rolling pin, roll out as thin as possible. Cut the pasta and lay on the counter. When finished with all the pasta, take each wide ribbon of pasta and roll out some more until the pasta is as thin a paper.
- Place the rolled out pieces of pasta on a cookie sheet on which you have sprinkled some cornmeal or semolina or flour. Let them air dry if not using right away, for several days. Store in a box if not using for a week or longer.
Second step: Making the sauce.
- 1 pound of pasta or boxed lasagne noodles
- 1 pound of large pink shrimps
- 1 cup of whipping (light) cream
- 2 cups of shrimp stock (or 1 cup of stock and 1 cup of white wine)
- 10 cloves of garlic (1 tablespoon of mashed garlic)
- 1/2 teaspoon of saffron shreds
- 3 tablespoons of grated ginger
- salt, pepper, Aleppo red pepper (for heat, optional), grated rind of an orange or a lime or lemon
- 1 bag of frozen brussel sprouts (12 ounces) (can replace with asparagus or zucchini)
- olive oil, as needed
- 2 large tomatoes, diced
- 1 large onion, chopped
- Chopped parsley or basil for garnish
- Make the shrimp stock: Peel the shrimp, cut off the heads. Cut the shrimp in half lengthwise and get rid of the intestinal tube.
- Place the shrimp heads and skins in a saucepan, cover with tap water and bring to a boil. Simmer for 30 minutes, strain the stock and let it reduce to about 2 cups.
- Heat some olive oil in a large skillet, add the onions and fry till golden. Add the shrimps and fry till they turn pink. Remove the shrimps and set aside and fry the brussel sprouts till softened and golden, add the garlic, ginger and spices (less the saffron). Add a splash of white wine (if using), pour the cream and let it reduce a bit by simmering for 15 minutes. Place the saffron in the cream and let it infuse the sauce. Taste and adjust seasoning. Place the shrimps back in the sauce and keep in the skillet till serving time. (Chef Masia added some fresh basil to the sauce).
- Heat 2 quarts of salted water in a large pot. Add the pasta in two batches and boil for two minutes (or less) until al dente (the cooking time will depend on whether the pasta is still moist and fresh or dried).
- Drain the pasta and place in a serving dish. Add the sauce with the shrimp, garnish with some fresh parsley or basil and serve.
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