Tuesday, February 28, 2012

LASAGNE WITH CHICKEN & MODICAN CHOCOLATE



I've mentioned this pretty pasta, made by CioMod, before. The sheets are made from the hard wheat flour of Puglia and the colours are worked by our Modican chocolate maker using cocoa, spinach, beetroot, paprika and turmeric.  I've used them for lasagne before but this time I decided to add some chocolate to the sauce.  After all, there was cocoa in the pasta sheets so surely a little chocolate would compliment it?


You may be thinking that chocolate does not really do that much for savoury sauces and a few years ago I would have agreed with you but if there's one thing I have learned from my friend Katia Amore, it is that if you are going to add chocolate, you have to use the real McCoy - pure chocolate with no other ingredient than cocoa, as made by the Bonajuto chocolate makers of Modica.

Inspired by Katia's chicken with prosecco and chocolate recipe, I also wanted to use chicken so I looked up chicken lasagne recipes by several Italian chefs and they all used leek in the sauce rather than onion.  Well, it is St David's Day on Thursday so I was happy to incorporate this symbol of Wales into my creation!

Here's what I did:

The day before you want to make the dish, marinate 500 gr minced chicken meat - in Italy you may have to get polpa and mince it yourself in a food processor - in white wine to cover.  Grate just one square of pure chocolate over it and leave overnight.

The next day, chop the white part of a leek finely and soften it in 3 tablesp olive oil in a wide pan.  Add the drained chicken mixture and cook it on all sides, breaking it up as much as you can as you stir it.  Then add 250 gr sliced mushrooms, a little chopped parsley, a sprinking of fresh thyme and some dried oregano. Stir everything well and add the contents of a 680 gr bottle of passata.  Season well and cook over low heat for about 40 mins. Meanwhile, soften the lasagne sheets in hot tap water in a large bowl.  Gently heat 400 gr ready-made béchamel sauce in a small saucepan and smear a little over the base of a lasagne dish.  Now add layers of pasta, chicken sauce and grated parmesan, grana or ragusano stagionato cheese - I like to use the latter - finishing with a layer of pasta.  Pour over the rest of the béchamel, sprinkle the top with a little more grated cheese and dot little knobs of butter all over.  Bake at 180 C for about 30 mins.

Trust me - that tiny amount of chocolate will give the sauce quite a kick!



9 comments:

Sometimes Saintly Nick said...

Wow! The chocolate sounds interesting. Yummy, even!

Rowena... said...

That does look sublime.

Welshcakes Limoncello said...

Thanks, Nick. Thanks, Rowena - I am honoured.

Alex Roe said...

Sounds fascinating - but I'd have to try it to be convinced!

Best,

Alex in Milan

Welshcakes Limoncello said...

If nyou're ever down this way, Alex....

Liz said...

Hmm, I don't know. I can't quite bring myself to add choc to lasagne!

Welshcakes Limoncello said...

Live dangerously, Liz!

sally in norfolk said...

not sure i could add chocolate to lasagne either :-(

Welshcakes Limoncello said...

Give it a try, Sally!

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