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Lasagne; Seafood Recipe

An Italian dish consisting of layers of flat pasta sandwiched between a moist filling.

Traditional fillings vary from region to region.

This might consist of vegetables (perhaps globe artichoke bottoms), fish or meat; but Bolognese sauce is popular throughout Italy, and would never be used with spaghetti in its homeland.

The whole is then baked often covered with a tomato or white sauce. Here we give an excellent seafood version. It will be even better if you make your own lasagne - but this is for special occasions only, as it's too time consuming for most British households.

The construction should be thought of as four distinct stages - the making of the seafood sauce, the making of the white sauce, the cooking of the pasta and the assembly.

The optional seafood items turn this into a special occasion dish, but for an everyday family meal might be a bit extravagant.

If you enjoy cooking take a minute to look at - top-class dishes from beginners upwards


4 generous helpings:

For the Seafood Sauce -

1 lb/450gr Shell-On North Atlantic Prawns - shelled, but keep the shells
1 lb/450gr Shell-On Langoustines - shelled and their claws and shells kept (optional)
6 large Scallops, cleaned from their shells by your fishmonger
½ lb/225gr firm fish fillets - such as Cod or Monkfish, cut in mouth-sized pieces (double the quantity of this if not using the langoustines or lobster)
½ lb/225gr Squid - cleaned by your fishmonger, the body cut into rings the tentacles into sections
1 small Lobster (about 1 lb/450gr) - split and the claws cracked by your fishmonger - but keep the shells (optional)
1 medium Onion, peeled and finely-chopped
1 medium clove of Garlic, peeled and finely-chopped
1 stalk of Celery, washed - then finely-chopped
1 big Carrot, peeled and finely-chopped
1 x 400gr tin of chopped Tomatoes
1 tablespoon (15ml) Tomato Purée
1 bouquet garni Herbes de Provence (see our Mail Order section)
2 tablespoon (30ml) Olive Oil
2 oz/60gr Butter
2 tablespoons (30ml) Flour
Salt and freshly-ground Black Pepper to taste

For the white sauce -

2 oz/60gr Butter
2 tablespoons (30ml) Flour
1½ pints/900ml Milk
a few grates, or a large pinch, Nutmeg - the former will have more flavour
Salt and freshly-grated Pepper, to taste

For the Pasta -

6 oz/180gr of Dried Lasagne Pasta - or if you have a pasta machine, make your own
2 oz/60gr freshly-grated Parmesan (on no account use the dried version, and alternative would be the same quantity of strong Cheddar)

Equipment needed: a wide and deep, ovenproof, baking dish


1.Put all you bone-free fish and shellfish pieces in one bowl and shells in another.

2.Remove the orange corals from the scallops, but keep them (if you're from the USA, you will probably throw them away - but this is a terrible waste. If the white meat is large enough, cut it in half to form two discs.

3.Remove the meat from the lobster claws, adding the shells and the translucent central membrane to the shell dish. Remove the body meat - on the top-back of this will be a black cotton-like membrane - remove this, as it will taste bitter (but won't harm you otherwise). Near the head, the stomach can be scooped out with a teaspoon and thrown away - add all the shells to your collection.

4.To make the seafood sauce mixture - put half the olive oil and butter into a deep saucepan and heat it over a low flame. Add the chopped onion, carrot and celery and 'sweat' it until the onions translucent but not brown - add the garlic and cook for a further minute before adding the shellfish shells. Raise the heat a little and toss them around in the mixture.

5.Add 1.8 pints/1 litre of water, plus the bouquet garni and bring the mixture to a simmer and cook for 30 minutes.

6.Strain the stock through a sieve, keeping the liquid but discarding the shells.

7.In a fresh pan, gently-heat the remaining butter and oil and blend the flour in - away from the heat, or it might go lumpy.

8.Carefully start adding the fish stock, at first light by little, the more boldly - stirring continuously. Return to the heat, add the chopped tomatoes and purée and bring to a simmer again, stirring occasionally to make sure no lumps form on the bottom - put all your fish pieces in this sauce. Check for seasoning.

9.To make the white sauce -melt the butter gently in a heavy saucepan, remove it from the heat, then carefully mix in the flour, using a wooden spoon.

10.Heat the milk, so it's hot but not boiling, then little by little add this to the butter and flour mixture - returning this to a low heat when you have a smooth blend. Continue stirring until you have a creamy sauce.

11.Add salt, pepper and nutmeg - mix this well in, then remove the pan from the heat.

12.Cook the lasagne sheets according to their packet instructions. Drain it and rise it through with cold water to help stop it sticking. (Some forms of lasagne don't need pre-cooking).

13.Assembly - spread a thin layer of the seafood sauce on the bottom of the baking dish. Follow this with a layer of white sauce then a covering of pasta. Continue in this way finishing with a layer of white sauce.

14.Sprinkle the grated cheese over this.

·The dish can be prepared ahead up to this point.

15. When ready to cook bake in the oven on 200C/400F/Gas 6 for 30 minutes.

Serve, perhaps with a salad.

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