Since the Spanish dominion brought the new ingredient to Modica, Sicily, chocolate has been a favourite addition to Sicilian dishes. Since then, the Modicans have become known for their high-quality chocolate which is often used it in savoury dishes such as rabbit ragù and mince pastries. In this lasagne, the chocolate paired with the cinnamon gives a slight sweetness to the mince and adds a velvety shine.
Lasagne Siciliane al Cioccolato - Sicilian Chocolate Lasagne
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 onion, finely chopped
- 1 carrot, finely chopped
- 1 stick celery, finely chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, chopped
- 800 g veal mince
- 500 g pork mince (ground pork)
- 1 cup red wine
- 1 cup beef stock
- 2 bay leaves
- 700 ml tomato purée
- 1 stick cinnamon
- 1 sprig fresh basil
- 40 g dark chocolate <em>, 70% cocoa solids</em>, chopped
- 8 fresh lasagne sheets
- 1 cup <em>, 100 g</em> grated mozzarella
For béchamel sauce
- 1.2 litres milk
- 1 bay leaf
- 100 g butter
- ⅔ cup plain flour (all-purpose flour)
- ⅔ cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
- 1½ cups shredded mozzarella cheese
- 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 mince 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, tomato purée, cinnamon stick 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 <em>(this will ensure the flavour of the flour is removed)</em>. 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 1½ cups 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.
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