Lasagne with Tuna and Pesto

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“This recipe was inspired by some heavenly lasagne we enjoyed at Da Andrea in Carloforte. In my wildest dreams, I could not have imagined tuna featured this way. The Béchamel Sauce provides the perfect background for the tuna and Fresh Pesto, two strong flavors that work in harmony in each delicious bite. I make Béchamel Sauce with extra virgin olive oil, so it’s a little lighter and matches the weight of the tuna better. Pair with a flavorful rosato, such as Sardus Pater Horus, or Sardus Pater AD49, a unique sparkling Vermentino made in the traditional method.” Viktorija Todorovska

Lasagne with Tuna and Pesto

Print This Recipe Total time Yield 4-6Source Adapted from The Sardinian CookbookPublished

*I doubled the tuna from the authors recommended amount to account for personal taste. The recipe above reflects that change.
** The author did not give directions on boiling the pasta. Perhaps she did not intend it. I however tried it both ways and preferred the fresh pasta boiled before assembly.

Reprinted with permission from The Sardinian Cookbook: The Cooking and Culture of a Mediterranean Island by Viktorija Todorovska, Agate Surrey, October 2013

Tuna Lasagna

Ingredients

  • 1 3/4 cup all-purpose flour (divided)
  • 2 large eggs
  • sea salt (as needed for seasoning)
  • cold water (as needed)
  • 3 cup basil leaves (plus more for garnish, optional)
  • 1 tablespoon toasted pine nuts
  • 8 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil (divided)
  • 3 cup skim or 1% milk
  • kosher salt (as needed for seasoning)
  • white pepper (as needed for seasoning)
  • 2 (5-ounce) oil packed tuna* (drained)

Directions

**To make the Fresh Pasta: Combine the 1 ½ cups flour, eggs, and a pinch of salt in a large bowl. Stir with a fork, adding a little cold water, as necessary.

When the dough comes together, take it out of the bowl and knead it on a clean working surface for at least 10 minutes. The dough should be smooth and elastic. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 20 minutes. (The dough can be made 1 day ahead and refrigerated overnight.)

Roll out the dough to 1/16-inch thickness. Cut it into twelve 7-inch by 3 ½-inch wide strips. Set aside.

To make the Pesto: In the bowl of a food processor, combine basil leaves, pine nuts, 3 tablespoons olive oil. Process thoroughly. Adjust the seasoning to taste. Use immediately or refrigerate.

To make the Béchamel Sauce: In a large saucepan, warm the oil over medium heat. Slowly add the remaining ¼ cup flour, whisking to break up any lumps. Cook for 4 to 5 minutes, whisking constantly.

In the meantime, in a small saucepan, warm the milk. Add the milk slowly to the flour and oil mixture, 1 ladle at a time, whisking constantly to combine.

Continue cooking for 6 to 7 minutes, whisking constantly, until the Béchamel Sauce starts to thicken. Season with the salt and white pepper to taste. Set aside to cool. (The Béchamel Sauce can be made several hours ahead and refrigerated until ready to use.)

To assemble the Lasagne: Preheat the oven to 375°F.

In a 9 × 12-inch baking dish, spread a fifth of the Béchamel Sauce evenly across the bottom of the dish. Line the bottom of the dish with 3 pasta sheets. Crumble a third of the tuna on top of the pasta. Sprinkle the tuna with a third of the fresh pesto and evenly spread on top another fifth of the Béchamel Sauce. Continue the layering process. Finish the top layer with the last fifth of the Béchamel Sauce.

Bake for 1 hour, or until the top is golden brown. Remove from the oven. Garnish with sliced basil leaves (optional). Serve hot in the baking dish.