Thursday, July 29, 2010

Chocolate Lasagne: National Lasagne Day

Another day, another Food Holiday. Today is National Lasagne Day. I didn't make that up... but clearly someone did. I don't know the origin, but I do know that I love lasagne. All the food groups, pasta, cheese, and definitely some chocolate in both savory and sweet dishes.

Savory: Chocolate is a wonderful ingredient in tomato sauce, especially with lasagne. I'm not going to give you a recipe for tomato sauce, just some advice. Next time you make your sauce, after you brown the onions, cook the tomatoes and add your wine--well, I guess it depends on how you make your sauce, but you get the idea. When you're near the end of your preparations, add some tomato paste and about 2 ounces of very dark chocolate. You won't taste the chocolate per se as chocolate, but the chocolate will give your sauce a lovely and an excellent and different flavor. Don't overdo the chocolate. 2 ounces is just fine. You might want to add a 1/2 tsp of cinnamon, too. Again, it depends on how much sauce you're making. And, as far as cinnamon and chocolate in savory sauces, my Mexican Mole includes both, so why not Italian pasta sauce?

Sweet:  I love food that represents something other than it is. I adore Chocolate Pizza, Chocolate Pasta dishes, Chocolate Salami, and I've posted recipes for them before. I'm pretty sure I've never posted a recipe for Chocolate Lasagne. George Duran (Ham on the Street/Food Network) has a great recipe for Chocolate Dessert Lasagne. The final product of the following recipe really looks like lasagne, and the extra bonus is that it's a great chocolate dessert and easy to make. I've tweaked it a bit, but it's pretty true to the original.

Chocolate Dessert Lasagna

Ingredients
1 (8-ounce) package no-boil lasagna noodles (this is a misnomer. You do boil them, but only for a minute)
2 pounds ricotta or Mascarpone
1 cup powdered sugar
1/2 cup unsweetened dark cocoa
2 large eggs
1 1/2 cups mini dark chocolate chips
1 orange, zested
1/2 cup roasted pistachios
4 ounces white chocolate, coarsely grated (make sure it's really white chocolate, and not an imitation)

Directions
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Bring a large pot of water to the boil and cook the noodles for 1 minute. Drain them and put them into a bowl of ice water to stop the cooking. Drain again and lay on paper towels to dry.
Whisk together the ricotta (or mascarpone), sugar, cocoa powder, and eggs on medium speed with a hand or stand mixer, scraping down the sides of the bowl, until it is well blended. Stir in the chocolate chips and orange zest. 
Spread 1/4 of the cheese mixture into the bottom of an 8 by 8-inch baking dish. Sprinkle some of the pistachios over the top and press on a layer of noodles. Repeat, ending with the ricotta (or mascarpone) mixture and pistachios.
Bake for 35 to 40 minutes, or until the lasagna has risen.
Remove the pan from the oven and evenly sprinkle the white chocolate over it. Let cool, cut, and serve.

I think chocolate bloggers must think alike, because Annmarie Kostyk, a major chocolate blogger, gave recipes for both savory and sweet chocolate lasagne in June. I must have missed that post, but you shouldn't. Her recipe for Annie's Dark Chocolate Lasagne looks fabulous. It's a little more labor intensive than the one above, but I can tell by the ingredients that the results will be wonderful. Lots of textures as well as a mix of flavors. She also posted a great Sicilian (savory) Chocolate Lasagna recipe, so if you don't know how to make a good sauce, try hers.

And, if you're following my Chocolate Blog, you should be following hers. Annmarie Kostyk, Chocolate Goddess.

1 comment:

Kirsty said...

Well, I've never heard of National Lasagne day, but I'm willing to give it a go! Think I'll start with the sweet chocolate version - it sounds fab!!