Tuscan lasagne with Italian sausage and caccio e pepe

Sean Gravina makes a soul-soothing Tuscan lasagne, using sweet Tuscan sausages to make the sauce and a creamy caccio e pepe sauce with a blend of cream, Parmeggiano and pecorino. 

Tuscan lasagne with Italian sausage and caccio e pepe

Serves 6

Ingredients

  • 1 packet De Cecco Lasagne sheets
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 800g sweet Italian sausage, removed from its casing
  • 1 cup diced Spanish onion
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 tbsp tomato paste
  • 4 springs thyme
  • 450g crushed San Marzano tomatoes
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 400g fresh ricotta, drained in colander
  • 1 cup pecorino, grated
  • 2 tbsp flat leaf parsley
  • 250ml double/whipping cream cream
  • 250ml chicken stock
  • ¾ cup Parmigiano Reggiano, grated

Method

  1. To make the sauce, heat a heavy sauté pan on medium heat and cook the sausage in olive oil, salt and pepper, thyme and a clove a garlic for about 7 mins, breaking it up with a wooden spoon.
  2. Once done transfer to a plate on kitchen towel to drain excess fat.
  3. Add the onions and garlic to the fat in the  pan and cook, stirring, until softened but not browned, about 3 mins.
  4. Return the sausage to the pan, add the tomato paste and bay leaf and cook until it turns slightly darker.
  5. Stir in the tomatoes, a cup of water and simmer until cooked, adding water/stock if needed, approx. 1 hour.
  6. Pre heat the oven to 180°C.
  7. Remove the sauce from the heat and add half the ricotta to the sauce.
  8. Make the caccio e pepe sauce by combining the cream and stock in a small pot and bring to a simmer on a medium heat.
  9. Put an immersion blender in the pot and, with the blender running, sprinkle in the Parmigiano and ¾ cup pecorino, blending until a smooth sauce forms.
  10. Season with salt and pepper and a generous grinding of black pepper.
  11. Drizzle some olive oil on the baking dish and start laying the pasta sheet, adding a ladle of the sausage sauce, plenty of streaks of caccio e pepe, a few nuggets of ricotta and so on adding some pecorino in the middle layer. 
  12. Once your dish is stacked finish off the top with plenty of the caccio e pepe sauce and season.
  13. Place in the hot oven and after 20 minutes take the lasagna out of the oven and increase the temp to 220°C. Add some grated parmigano/pecorino and put back in the oven for the last 10 mins or until golden brown, finish off with chopped parsley.

This recipe first appeared on Gourmet Today TV, aired on TVM on 1 November, 2015. 

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