Too Much of a Good Thing?

When Honors College student Peter made a video of me making homemade orecchiette, I ended up with quite a few batches of pasta dough.

As so many people are saying these days, "That is such a First World problem."

And they are right.

But, it did mean that Mark and I just had to make a lot of pasta dishes in short order to use up the dough.

We shaped some into orecchiette and froze them, and used some for pappardelle, and finally - the very last ball of dough - was rolled out and used for today's recipe: seafood lasagne.

Mark said he wasn't in the mood for a traditional lasagne with Bolognese sauce, but said he was fondly remembering an airy-light lasagne made by nuns in a convent in Rome. (It was most likely a traditional Bolognese-style that combines red sauce with a béchamel sauce.)

I wasn't about to go to all that work, but wanted to make him happy so I made a lasagne using a béchamel sauce.

I checked the freezer. A partial bag of frozen scallops, some cooked salad shrimp, and a 7-ounce wild-caught Alaskan salmon fillet I got at the farmer's market from my friend Ian at WhiteCane Sockeye Salmon. (His father, the fisherman, is legally blind, thus the reference to a White Cane.)

After choosing my seafood for the dish, we meandered through the herb section of our garden and Mark suggested that tarragon would be perfect for this lasagne.

And, because I had picked them up at the market on Sunday, I had a nice "forest" of oyster mushrooms. This was becoming quite the dish!

It came out great, and we enjoyed it for several days. And, smarty pants that I am, I actually wrote down what I did and photographed it just in case it was good.

And it was very good. I hope you enjoy it!


Seafood Lasagne

Homemade pasta, enough for 3 layers*
   * or dried lasagne noodles
5 tablespoons butter, divided
3 tablespoons flour
3 cups whole milk
1 shallot, minced
8 ounces sea scallops, sliced horizontally
8 ounces cooked salad shrimp
salt and pepper
3/4 cup white wine
5 ounces thinly sliced oyster mushroom caps
3 oven-dried plum tomatoes, or 6 sun-dried tomatoes
cayenne pepper to taste
1 tablespoon chopped fresh tarragon
1 6-ounce wild salmon filet, thinly sliced
16 thin slices goat gouda (or other semi-hard goat cheese)

Melt 3 tablespoons butter and add flour cook over medium heat for 2-3 minutes until light tan in color. Add milk in a steady stream (whisking all the while) to the flour and butter. Once incorporated, add salt and pepper to taste (approximately 1 teaspoon salt). Cook over medium-low heat until thick; set aside.

Melt 1 tablespoon butter and cook shallot over medium heat until clear. Add scallops and sprinkle with salt and pepper. When scallops turn opaque, add wine and bring just to a boil. Turn off heat and with a slotted spoon remove scallops to a bowl, reserving wine. Add cooked shrimp to the bowl with scallops.

In a large skillet, heat remaining tablespoon butter and sauté mushrooms till they begin to soften. Add reserved wine and bring to a simmer. Simmer for 5 minutes, then add to béchamel sauce. Also add chopped oven-dried tomatoes, cayenne, salt, pepper, and tarragon. Add any juices from the reserved scallop mixture and set sauce aside.

Preheat oven to 375°F. Set a large pot of salted water on the stove and bring to a boil.

Cook your fresh pasta for about 1 minute (until al dente). If using dried pasta, follow manufacturer's directions for cooking times. Drain and rinse pasta quickly under cool water to stop the cooking. Place them on racks to dry. Do not overlap them, or they will stick together.

Liberally butter a 9-inch by 11-inch baking pan. Line the bottom of the pan with a third of the cooked pasta. 

Spread a 1/2 cup sauce over the pasta, add the shrimp and scallops and cover them with another 1/2 cup sauce. Top with the second third of the cooked pasta. Spread the salmon slices on top then spoon 1 cup sauce over the fish.  Place remaining pasta on top.  Spoon any remaining béchamel sauce over the pasta, and top with cheese slices (or, you can grate the cheese on top) and bake 45 minutes, or until bubbly.

Let sit 5 minutes before serving.

Serves 6-8.

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