Crab lasagne

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Preparation time: approx 2 hours
Cooking time: 40+ minutes

Serves: 8-10


Olive oil
1 clove garlic, crushed
2 tins Italian peeled tomatoes, finely crushed
Basil or small sprig of rosemary
1 cup pecorino pepato
4 eggs
1 tbs capers, chopped
½ cup Italian parsley, chopped
1½ cups frozen spinach, thawed and drained
500g ricotta
1 onion, finely chopped
4 baby zucchini, sliced
½ cup pumpkin, finely chopped
1 ltr béchamel sauce (see recipe below)
1-2 packs of pre-cooked lasagne sheets
Crab meat (about 2 cups)
3 cups mozzarella cheese, shredded
Parmesan cheese
Freshly grated nutmeg

Béchamel Sauce:
1 ltr milk
1 small onion, but in half
1 piece of celery, about 6cm long
Bay leaf
½ tsp salt
¼ cup butter
¼ cup plain flour
Black pepper, freshly ground
Sprinkle nutmeg, freshly grated


Pour a small amount of olive oil into a pan, ass the crushed garlic clove and fry until golden. Add the peeled tomatoes plus an equal amount of water (use the cans the tomatoes can in so you can rinse out any tomato left in the can). Add the basil (or rosemary) and a little salt. Reduce heat to a medium simmer. Cook uncovered, stirring occasionally, for 20-30 minutes or until reduced by almost half.

Meanwhile, mix fresh ricotta, grated pecorino, eggs, capers and parsley in a large mixing bowl. Stir well so it combines thoroughly. Sprinkle the spinach over the ricotta mixture and mix through.

Pour a little oil into a heavy based pan and add the onion, zucchini, pumpkin, pinch of salt and cook until soft.

Mix the tomato and béchamel sauces to make a creamy combined sauce.

Grease a large deep baking dish with butter and oil. Place in it about a cup or more of the sauce and spread to coat the bottom of the dish.

Place the lasagne sheets to make the first layer. On top of the sheets, spread a generous layer of sauce, the zucchini mix and the crab.

Add another layer of lasagne sheets, generous amount of sauce, the ricotta mix and mozzarella.

Repeat with the lasagne sheets and another generous layer of sauce, a large sprinkling of mozzarella and parmesan. Finish off with a light dusting of nutmeg all over.

Cook in a medium to hot oven for about 40 minutes.

Check after 30 minutes if cooked through. Test by using a knife or the tail of a fork to pierce the lasagne all the way through to the centre. Leave it in there for a few seconds then pull it out and feel with your hands to see if it is cool, warm or hot. If it is hot, give your lasagne a few more minutes, then remove from the oven.

Cover with aluminium foil and allow the lasagne to rest for 10-15 minutes.

Béchamel Sauce:
In a pot place milk, onion, celery, bay leaf and salt. Heat through but do not boil, then remove from heat and strain (discard onion, celery and bay leaf).

In another small heavy based pot melt butter until sizzling and slowly add flour, stirring continuously until it forms a smooth paste. Keep a keen eye on the mixture as you may have to remove it from the heat and stir to keep it smooth and save it from burning.

When it has formed a smooth paste and is beginning to come away from the pan, return to heat and add milk using a whisk to stir. With heat on medium, bring the mixture to the boil, constantly whisking.

Reduce heat to very low and low to cook for a further few minutes until it has the consistency of thickened cream. Remove from heat.

Strain through a coarse sieve (to ensure there are no lumps). Add the pepper and nutmeg and mix through.

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