I put lasagne up there with the best of comfort foods. It is such a perfect dish to share and is always guaranteed to put a smile on the faces of family and friends. Here is a sensational Sicilian Chocolate Lasagne – it might sound strange but chocolate is frequently used in savoury dishes, such as rabbit ragùs and mince pasties. Do make sure you buy the best quality 70% cocoa solids chocolate that you can – it really does make a difference.
I have made this dish several times and it comfortably serves 6.
Lasagne Siciliane Al Cioccolato
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 onion, finely chopped
1 carrot, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, chopped
800g minced veal
500g minced pork
250 ml(1 cup) red wine
250 ml(1 cup) beef stock
2 bay leaves
700 ml passata (puréed tomatoes)
1 cinnamon quill
1 basil sprig
40g (¼ cup) dark chocolate (70% cocoa solids), chopped
8 fresh lasagne sheets
100g (1 cup) grated mozzarella
1 bay leaf
100g (⅔ cup) plain flour
50g (⅔ cup) grated parmesan
150 g(1½ cup) grated mozzarella
Heat oil in a saucepan over medium heat. Add onion, carrot and celery and cook, stirring, for 10 minutes or until softened. Stir in garlic and cook for 1 minute or until fragrant. Add veal and pork and cook, breaking up with a wooden spoon, for 10 minutes or until browned all over. Season with salt and pepper.
Add red wine and simmer for 8 minutes or until almost completely reduced. Add beef stock, bay leaves, passata, cinnamon and basil. Bring to a simmer and cook for 1½ hours or until thickened and reduced. Stir through chopped chocolate and season. Remove from heat and set aside.
To make béchamel sauce, place milk and bay leaf in a saucepan over medium heat and bring to a simmer. Melt butter in a separate saucepan over medium–low heat then add flour. Cook, stirring constantly, for 3 minutes until well combined (this will ensure the flavour of the flour is removed). Remove bay leaf and discard. Working in batches, add milk to flour mixture, about 250 ml at a time, stirring constantly until smooth and creamy. Once all milk has been added, simmer gently for 5 minutes, then stir through parmesan and mozzarella. Season.
Preheat oven to 170°C. Spoon a little of the meat ragù in a deep ovenproof dish. Add a layer of pasta, trimming to fit, then spread over some of the béchamel, then more ragù. Continue layering pasta, béchamel and ragù, finishing with a layer of béchamel. Scatter 100g mozzarella over the top then bake for 50 minutes or until golden and bubbling; cover the top with foil if it browns too quickly. Serve immediately.