Crab and Leek Lasagna

Christmas Dinner

Do you know the bit where I said that there was some turkey drama? Well the morning of Christmas Eve I realised that I wouldn't be able to make the pasta dish that I wanted because I need to take photos and by the time that a dish has been photographed, the sauce often disappears back into the pasta making it one giant clump of pasta. Call it the usual problem of a food blogger. But then I remembered that there is a pasta dish that actually benefits from being made ahead of time and that is a lasagna. If you allow it to cool and then cut it up, then it comes out in beautiful pieces.

On Christmas Eve morning I dodged traffic and people to buy some lasagna sheets and made this simple but luxurious crab lasagna. It's full of creamy, rich and mild flavours. You know that bit at Christmas where you just hope that you don't end up with too many leftovers? This entire lasagna disappeared and was an absolute hit with everyone that tried it. And yes you know what this means-I definitely urge you to make it!

Crab and Leek Lasagna

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An Original Recipe by Lorraine Elliott

Preparation time: 25 minutes

Cooking time: 30 minutes

Serves: 12 people

  • 2 large leeks, white part
  • 3 garlic cloves, peeled and chopped
  • Oil for frying
  • 150g/5ozs. butter
  • 2/3 cup plain flour
  • 3.5 cups/875ml/30flozs milk, heated up
  • 3 brown anchovies, finely minced
  • Freshly grated nutmeg
  • 12 sheets lasagne (or enough to make four layers)
  • 225g/8ozs. crab meat
  • 150g/5ozs. mozzarella cheese
  • 1/4 cup grated parmesan or pecorino cheese
  • Salt and pepper for seasoning

Christmas Dinner

Step 1 - Preheat oven to 180C/350F. Trim the leeks and cut down lengthways. Wash out any dirt from the leeks if there is any and cut into half moon shapes. Heat a frypan onto medium heat and add oil and saute the leeks and onion until soft and fragrant. Season with salt and pepper.

Christmas Dinner

Step 2 - Make the bechamel sauce. Heat the butter on medium heat in a saucepan until melted and add the flour. Whisk to create a smooth mixture. Pour a little of the milk in at a time, it is much easier to avoid lumps if the milk is hot - I find that you don't get any lumps as long as you don't tip the whole lot in there at once. Add the anchovies and nutmeg and whisk to create a smooth sauce. Set aside.

Step 3 - Ladle some bechamel on the base of a lasagna tray. I dip the lasagna sheets in water just in case otherwise they can soak up a bit too much of the sauce. Layer the sheets, some leeks and then a single layer of the crab and repeat until you end up with a layer of bechamel. Top with mozzarella and parmesan or pecorino cheese. Bake in oven for 30 minutes until golden. Allow to cool for an hour or so and cut into portions.

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