There is perhaps no other pasta dish that has caught my attention as much as this one. It combines flavor, finesse, and a very creative presentation. The first time we came across this woven-then-sliced lasagna was at a lunch with the entire Frasca team—on one of our staff journeys to Friuli in 2007—at La Primula in the small village of San Quirino (northwest of Trieste). In true Friuli style, the restaurant’s lasagna included prosciutto di San Daniele! We have since made this type of lasagna with meat ragù or mushroom ragù. All of these options make for playful and delicious alternatives. The recipe here, though, is the original one we all enjoyed at La Primula.
Note: The lasagna is best assembled the day before serving and refrigerated overnight, before slicing and heating. The spinach sauce can also be made ahead and reheated. So, this impressive and visually elegant dish comes together in mere minutes the day-of!
- To make the dough: Combine the 00 flour, eggs and egg yolks, and olive oil, and roll it into two pasta sheets only.
- In the bowl of a food processor or stand mixer fitted with the dough hook attachment, combine the flour(s), egg yolks, olive oil, and water and pulse (or mix on low speed) until a rough dough starts to form, five to seven pulses, or 30 seconds with the machine running. Alternatively, combine the ingredients in a large bowl and mix with a fork. Transfer the dough to the kitchen counter or a clean surface and knead for 2 to 3 minutes, until the dough becomes smooth. Wrap the ball of dough in plastic wrap and let sit at room temperature for 45 to 60 minutes, or refrigerate overnight.
- Heavily dust a baking sheet or your counter with semolina flour. Cut the dough into ½-inch-thick slices. Keep the dough covered. Working with one slice at a time, flatten it a little with the palm of your hand. Roll the dough through the widest roller setting of your pasta machine (or attachment, if you’re using a stand mixer), dusting with flour along the way to ensure the dough doesn’t stick; don’t use too much flour or the dough will become dry. Fold the sheet of dough in half onto itself and roll it through this initial setting five to ten times, folding it again after each pass.
- Change the machine setting to the next, more-narrow setting and roll the sheet through once. Continue to change the machine setting to the next, more-narrow setting and roll the sheet through. You’ll notice your sheet will become longer and longer as you work it through each successive setting. Keep rolling until Setting 7 (or the second-to-last setting on most pasta machines) and the pasta is very thin. Set the pasta aside on the prepared baking sheet or counter, and cover with a damp, clean tea towel. Repeat the rolling procedure with the remaining slices of dough.
- The sheets should be approximately 32 inches long by 5 inches wide (you will have some leftover dough, which you can cut, cook, and enjoy with your favorite pasta sauce).
- Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Generously drizzle a baking sheet with olive oil to prevent sticking.
- Add a pasta sheet to the boiling water and cook for 1 minute after the water has returned to a simmer. Using a spider and any other large spoon or spatula, gently scoop up the pasta, transfer it to the prepared baking sheet and arrange flat, with some overlapping, using your hands. Drizzle some more olive oil over the top. Cook the second sheet of pasta in the simmering water and repeat the process. Set aside.
- To make the filling: In a food processor, pulse the prosciutto cubes until they take on the texture of ground meat.
- In a medium frying pan over medium heat, warm the olive oil. Add the prosciutto and cook, stirring occasionally until crispy, about 5 minutes. Transfer to paper towels to drain and let cool.
- In a medium bowl, combine the ricotta, Parmigiano, rosemary, and prosciutto. Season with salt and transfer to a piping bag fitted with a large plain tip.
- Oil a loaf pan.
- Lay the first sheet of pasta lengthways across the width of the prepared loaf pan—one end of the pasta should be overlapping the long edge of the pan by 5 inches, the (very long) rest of the sheet should be hanging over the other edge. Press on the pasta to line the bottom of the pan. Repeat with the second sheet on the other end of the pan, overlapping it slightly with the first sheet as needed. Pipe a line of filling along the long edge of the pan, right up against the edge. Leave a 1-inch space before piping a second parallel line of filling down the length of the pan. There should be a 1-inch space on either side of this line of filling. Carefully fold the long end of each pasta sheet over the filling, pressing down with your fingers to make the pasta hug both lines of filling and let the extra pasta drape over the other edge of the pan. Repeat the piping in the two hollow trenches you’ve just formed by pressing down on the pasta with your hands. Drape the sheets of pasta back over the filling to the other side, pressing down to smooth.
- Next, once again pipe a line of filling along the long edge of the pan, right up against the edge. Leave a 1-inch space before piping a second parallel line of filling down the length of the pan. As before, there should be a 1-inch space on either side of this line of filling. Carefully fold the long end of each pasta sheet over the filling, pressing down with your fingers to make the pasta hug both lines of filling and let the extra pasta drape over the other edge of the pan. Repeat the piping in the two hollow trenches you’ve just formed with your hands. Drape the sheets of pasta back over the filling to the other side, pressing down to smooth. Use a sharp knife or scissors to trim the excess pasta—then fold the short edge of the pasta sheet down over it. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate for at least 6 hours or up to overnight.
- Preheat the oven to 450°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- To make the sauce: Bring 5 cups of salted water to a boil. Fill a large bowl with ice cubes and cold water to form an ice bath.
- Add the spinach to the boiling water and cook until wilted but still green, about 2 minutes. Transfer to the ice bath to cool. Drain gently, skimming the ice off the top. Resist the urge to squeeze out all the excess liquid from the spinach. Using tongs, transfer the spinach to a high-speed blender and puree, adding up to 1⁄4 cup water as needed to loosen the sauce to a pouring consistency—you should have about 11⁄2 cups. Season with salt and a drizzle of extra-virgin olive oil. Keep warm.
- Unmold the lasagna onto a cutting board and cut into six 11⁄2-inch-wide slices. Lay the slices flat on the prepared bak¬ing sheet and sprinkle each with about 1 tablespoon grated Parmigiano. Bake until golden-brown and slightly puffed, with some browning along the edges of the pasta, 10 to 12 minutes.
- Spoon just over 3 tablespoons of spinach sauce onto the center of each plate and spread out in a circle using the back of the spoon. Lay a slice of the lasagna on top of each circle. Serve immediately.
Reprinted from FRIULI FOOD AND WINE: Frasca Cooking from Northern Italy’s Mountains, Vineyards, and Seaside. Copyright © 2020 by Frasca Food and Wine, Inc. Photography copyright © 2020 by William Hereford. Published by Ten Speed Press, an imprint of Random House, a division of Penguin Random House LLC.