When Gino was in Trentino-Alto Adige, he visited a farm ran by an artisan cheesemaker and was shown how to make the traditional caciotta altimo cheese, which is flavoured with thyme.
This dish, using locally sourced speck – a kind of smoked prosciutto – has been inspired by that visit. Getting hold of caciotta al timo can be tricky, but Cheddar, fontina and grated mozzarella will work well too. Smoked pancetta is a good substitute for the speck.
– 4 tablespoons olive oil
– 80g speck, finely sliced
– 1 garlic clove, peeled and sliced
– 1 x 400g tin of chopped tomatoes
– Large handful (about 40g) of fresh basil, shredded, plus extra leaves to garnish
– 5 fresh lasagne sheets
– 300g freshly grated caciotta al timo cheese
Heat 3 tablespoons of the oil in a frying pan over a high heat. Add the speck and fry for 5-6 minutes or until crisp. Stir in the garlic and fry for 2-3 minutes or until golden then add the tomatoes and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat, stir in the basil and add the remaining tablespoon of oil. Simmer for 5-7 minutes.
Meanwhile, slice the lasagne sheets lengthways into strips about 1cm wide. Cook in a large pan of boiling, salted water until al dente.
Take the sauce off the heat and stir in half the cheese. Remove the pasta from the water using tongs or a spaghetti spoon and put directly into the sauce without draining. Toss together to coat the pasta.
Divide the pasta between 2 warm pates or bowls, sprinkle over the remaining cheese and garnish with basil leaves.
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