Summertime in Maine is usually full of two things tourists and lobsters. This year with the pandemic raging we are still flush with lobster but missing the all important tourists to eat all that lobster. As with many other industries, the lobster industry is hurting. Prices are low, really low, so we decided we needed to support the industry, and eat a ton of lobster. You can only eat so much and at a certain point we realized that we needed to preserve this beautiful lobster. Claire hit on the amazing idea of making and freezing a bunch of lobster lasagna. We always make a lot of lasagnas in the summer that we freeze for winter eating. It is such an amazing vehicle for preserving lots of garden produce and in the winter after a hard day of shoveling snow its the perfect warm and delicious meal.
One of the problems I've always had with freezer meals is how to package them. For a long time I used aluminum tins but they are flimsy, hard to clean, and really designed to be used only once. I tried to get multiple uses out of them but it was an up hill battle. The other option is to freeze the meals in your baking dishes but then your casserole dish sits in the freezer for months on end. Not really a solution. We came up with a third option. We lined our baking dishes with a few overhanging layers of heavy duty aluminum foil. This way we could freeze the lasagna in our baking tins, pop them out when they are frozen solid and put them back in the tin when it was time to defrost and bake in a few months. We will let you know how it works. Fingers crossed, we've hit on the right idea.
Maine Lobster and Garden Greens Freezer Lasagna
Makes a lot of lasagna (we made 3 plus dinner for 3 with the extra pasta)
Handmade Pasta (based off of King Arthur Flour's recipe)
4 1/2 -5 Cups Flour
7 Large farm fresh eggs
A glug of olive oil
Ricotta and Garden Greens
5-6 Cups Ricotta
5-6 Cups chopped garden greens (we used kales and rainbow chard) just the leaves but save the stems for the sauce
Small bundle of green spring onions save the bulbs for the sauce
Salt and pepper to taste
Lobster Bechamel Sauce (kinda of)
6 Lobsters cooked and picked out but save 2 cups of the lobster "stock" (put your lobster shells in the freezer for making real stock later in the year
4 T Butter
1/2 T Crushed mustard seeds
1/2 T Celery seeds
Large handful of MCSV Applewood Smoked Dulse roughly chopped
2 Large Onions chopped
5-6 Cloves Garlic minced
1/2 C (ish) Flour
1 1/2- 2 C Milk
1 1/2-2 C lobster "stock"
1 1/2 C White Wine
Stems and bulbs of the spring onions and mixed greens from the ricotta mix
Salt and pepper to taste
As much Mozzarella and Parmigiana as you want. I like a super cheesy lasagna, Claire likes a less cheesy
Get the lobster water boiling and the lobster in and cooked. Reserve 2 cups of the cooking "stock". I know lobsters are done with the antennae pull away easily. Allow the lobsters to cool before you start picking out the meat.
Get the pasta going next. Mix the the flour and seaweed together on a clean table. Make a well in the flour and crack in the eggs and the olive oil. With a fork scramble the eggs and then begin to slowly mix in the flour. When the flour is totally incorporated knead the dough until it is smooth and silky. The dough needs to rest. Cover it with either a damp towel or an inverted bowl to keep the dough from drying out.
Next is the sauce. I use my largest pan (a wok actually) to make the sauce. Add the butter and all of your aromatics, spices and smoked seaweed. Allow the garlic and onion to saute a bit and soften then add in the flour to make a roux. I try to limit the dishes I use, mainly because I live in a tiny house and excess dishes can easily take over the kitchen. This is why I make the roux with the onions and all already in. I know this is basically sacrilege to some cooks but I hate excess dishes. Make your roux however you feel comfortable. When the roux looks good add in your milk. Again this is totally up to you. I like my white sauce to be less white and I usually use only a small amount of milk, the rest of the liquid I get from wine and the "stock". If you like a whiter sauce use more milk. If you like more lobster taste in the sauce add more "stock". If you like wine add more wine. Get the sauce to the consistency you like, just remember that this is the liquid that will cook your pasta so you want it a bit on the runny side. When your sauce looks good add in your stems, green onion bulbs, and the lobster. Allow this to simmer for a bit and then take it off the heat.
While the sauce is simmering add a tiny bit of oil into a large pot. Then add in the chopped greens. Allow these to cook until they are a bright green and stir in the green onions. Pull it from the heat and dump in the ricotta. Season this to taste.
Time to roll out the pasta!!!! I used to have a pasta machine but it was all metal except for one tiny plastic part which of course broke. So now I roll my pasta using my trusty unbreakable rolling pin. You can of course do this any way that works for you. Dust your rolling space with a little flour, divide you dough into half or quarter depending on your space and start rolling. I usually start rolling and go until I just don't want to anymore and call it good. Cut your noodles with a sharp knife a few inches wide.
Now it is time to start assembling!!!! In either baking dishes or your foil lined baking dishes spread out a bit of the lobster sauce. Then add in a layer of the noodles. Spread out some ricotta mixture, top with sauce and sprinkle with some mozzarella. Keep going like this until the dish can't hold any more. Allow the lasagna to cool, tightly cover it with foil and allow it to freeze solid. When it it totally frozen, pop it out of the baking dish and wrap it in heavy duty foil (totally reusable) and freezer paper. Clearly label your lasagna put it back in the freezer for a winter day when this is going to taste AMAZING!!!!