Lasagne Siciliane al Cioccolato – Sicilian Chocolate Lasagne

Since the Spanish dominion brought the new ingredient to Modica, Sicily, chocolate has been a favourite addition to Sicilian dishes. Since then, the Modicans have become known for their high-quality chocolate which is often used it in savoury dishes such as rabbit ragù and mince pastries. In this lasagne, the chocolate paired with the cinnamon gives a slight sweetness to the mince and adds a velvety shine.

Lasagne Siciliane al Cioccolato - Sicilian Chocolate Lasagne
Recipe type: Lasagna
Serves: 6 servings
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 1 carrot, finely chopped
  • 1 stick celery, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 800 g veal mince
  • 500 g pork mince
  • 1 cup red wine
  • 1 cup beef stock
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 700 ml tomato purée
  • 1 stick cinnamon
  • 1 sprig fresh basil
  • 40 g dark chocolate (70% cocoa solids), chopped
  • 8 fresh lasagne sheets
  • 1 cup (100 g) grated mozzarella
For béchamel sauce
  • 1.2 litres milk
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 100 g butter
  • ⅔ cup plain flour
  • ⅔ cup grated Parmesan
  • 1½ cups grated mozzarella
  1. Heat oil in a saucepan over medium heat. Add onion, carrot and celery and cook, stirring, for 10 minutes or until softened. Stir in garlic and cook for 1 minute or until fragrant. Add veal and pork mince and cook, breaking up with a wooden spoon, for 10 minutes or until browned all over. Season with salt and pepper.
  2. Add red wine and simmer for 8 minutes or until almost completely reduced. Add beef stock, bay leaves, tomato purée, cinnamon stick and basil. Bring to a simmer and cook for 1½ hours or until thickened and reduced. Stir through chopped chocolate and season. Remove from heat and set aside.
  3. To make béchamel sauce, place milk and bay leaf in a saucepan over medium heat and bring to a simmer. Melt butter in a separate saucepan over medium–low heat then add flour. Cook, stirring constantly, for 3 minutes until well combined (this will ensure the flavour of the flour is removed). Remove bay leaf and discard. Working in batches, add milk to flour mixture, about 250 ml at a time, stirring constantly until smooth and creamy. Once all milk has been added, simmer gently for 5 minutes, then stir through Parmesan and mozzarella. Season.
  4. Preheat oven to 170°C. Spoon a little of the meat ragù in a deep ovenproof dish. Add a layer of pasta, trimming to fit, then spread over some of the béchamel, then more ragù. Continue layering pasta, béchamel and ragù, finishing with a layer of béchamel. Scatter 1½ cups mozzarella over the top then bake for 50 minutes or until golden and bubbling; cover the top with foil if it browns too quickly. Serve immediately.
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