Food & wine

Ixta Belfrage's porcini & roasted red-pepper lasagne

As lasagne recipes go, this is a very simple one. The ragù comes together very quickly and yet has the intensity of a ragù that has simmered for hours. It’s important you use roasted peppers in oil, rather than in vinegar, which would make the dish too acidic. If you prefer, you can char your own peppers. Start with 800g red peppers and place them under a very hot oven grill for about 7 minutes on each side, then cool, peel, deseed and chop.

Lasagne

Ingredients (Serves 4)

  • 100g dried porcini 
  • 8 tbsp olive oil, plus extra to serve
  • 5 garlic cloves, very finely chopped (not crushed)
  • ½ tsp chilli flakes (or less/more, to taste)
  • 20g parsley (stalks and leaves), very finely chopped, plus extra to serve
  • 1½ tsp fine salt
  • 3 tbsp tomato puree/paste
  • Black pepper
  • 400g roasted or grilled red peppers in oil (not vinegar!), drained and finely chopped (the weight provided is the drained, nett weight, so the gross weight will be more but depends on the size of the jar)
  • 100g double cream
  • 10g pecorino, very finely grated, plus extra to serve
  • 300g fresh lasagne sheets
  • 8 fresh sage leaves

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 210°C/190°C fan.
  2. In a medium-sized bowl, cover the porcini with 500ml boiling water and leave to soak for 10 minutes. Drain and finely chop, reserving all of the soaking liquid.
  3. Add the oil, garlic, chilli flakes, parsley and fine salt to a cold, large sauté pan on a medium-low heat. Very gently fry for 8 minutes until soft and lightly golden, lower the heat all the way down if the garlic starts to brown.
  4. Increase the heat to medium-high, then add the chopped porcini, tomato paste and plenty of pepper (about 20 twists of the pepper grinder). Stir-fry for 5 minutes, then add the chopped peppers, double cream, the reserved porcini soaking liquid (you should have about 450ml, if not, use stock or water). Leave to bubble away for a few minutes, then remove from the heat.
  5. Cover the bottom of a round 26cm ovenproof pan or dish with lasagne sheets, followed by a layer of the ragu. Sprinkle over some pecorino and continue layering up the lasagne, finishing with a layer of ragu and a sprinkle of pecorino.
  6. Drizzle with oil and bake for 25 minutes, then remove from the oven. Toss the sage leaves together with some oil and salt and arrange on top of the lasagne. Return to the oven for another 5 minutes, or until the sage leaves are bright green and crisp. 
  7. Leave to cool for 15 minutes before serving. Drizzle some more cream and oil around the sage leaves, finish with flaked salt and black pepper and serve.

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Ixta Belfrage

Guest writer

Ixta Belfrage

Members may recognise Ixta as a contributor to The Guardian, and co-writer of Yotam Ottolenghi's Flavour and as daughter of the late Italian specialist, Nicolas Belfrage MW. Her recently published first book MEZCLA: Recipes to excite, draws inspiration from countries visited and lived in as a child: Brazil, Italy and Mexico.

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