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Lasagne bastarde

Lasagne bastarde

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Lasagne bastarde (also known as 'matte') are diamond-shaped strips of fresh pasta typical of the Lunigiana area, in northern Tuscany. They are made with a combination of plain flour and chestnut flour, the latter being a recurrent ingredient in the culinary repertoire of the region. The percentage of chestnut flour in the dough varies. Normally, it can account for up to 60% of the total. However, because chestnut flour is naturally gluten-free and the dough requires no eggs, the more you use the harder it’ll be for the pasta to stretch and hold together. Personally, I found that a fair 40% will ensure that the pasta rolls out easily while still being able to appreciate the characteristic sweet flavour of the chestnut flour in the final dish.

Traditionally seasoned with olive oil, black pepper and grated hard cheese to counteract the sweetness of the chestnut flour (which is the variant I’ve shared below), they can also be tossed with a sauce of tomatoes, leeks and sausage or lard. What’s important to note is that they need to be consumed immediately after they’ve been tossed in the oil or sauce, as they tend to glue together in a very unappetising way in a matter of minutes.

Ingredients

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  • Lasagne bastarde

  • 300g of plain flour, sifted
  • 200g of chestnut flour, sifted
  • 1 pinch of fine sea salt
  • 100ml of water, or as needed
  • extra virgin olive oil, as needed
  • 100g of pecorino, or Parmesan
  • freshly ground black pepper, as needed
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Method

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1
In a large bowl, combine the plain and chestnut flour with a pinch of salt. Add the water in small increments until a dense dough forms (it shouldn’t be sticky). Knead the dough for a couple of minutes to even it out, then wrap it in cling film and leave it to rest for 30 minutes
2
Dust your work surface with plenty of flour. Roll out the dough to 3mm thick using a rolling pin or a pasta machine. You’ll notice that it tends to fall apart easily; I found that the well-floured rolling pin does a better job here. Cut the sheet of pasta into diamonds
3
Bring a large pot of salted water to a rolling boil. Add the lasagne and cook for 3 to 4 minutes. Drain them with a slotted spoon (carefully, as they break easily!) and transfer them to a warm bowl where you have poured a generous glug of olive oil. Toss gently and then top with grated cheese and plenty of ground black pepper. Serve and eat immediately
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