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Ixta Belfrage’s Prawn and Requeijão Lasagne with Dende Chilli Oil

by Ixta Belfrage

As seen on Sunday Brunch on Channel 4, Ixta Belfrage's Brazilian prawn lasagne features a creamy requeijão cheese sauce and is served with a drizzle of homemade dende chilli oil.


400g fresh lasagne sheets
10g parsley, finely chopped
10g chives, finely chopped
For the prawn ragù:
1 onion, roughly chopped
2 carrots, peeled and roughly chopped
7 garlic cloves, peeled and roughly chopped
280g cherry tomatoes, blitzed to a sauce consistency
120g tomato paste
¼ tsp chilli flakes
½ dried habanero, seeds removed if you prefer less heat
1kg large, raw, peeled king prawns (the larger the better)
180ml olive oil (use 40g red palm fruit oil if you can get some)
220ml white wine
1 ltr chicken or shellfish stock
For the dende chilli oil:
2 habanero, toasted, seeds removed and finely chopped (use another dry chilli if you don’t like too much heat)
1 garlic clove, crushed
1 tbsp tomato paste
100ml olive oil
50g red palm oil
For the requeijão:
50ml whole milk
100ml double cream
½ tsp cornflour
200g buffalo mozzarella, drained and torn into small pieces
30g parmesan, very finely grated

Essential kit

You will need: a food processor, a large, 36 x 24 cm high-sided baking tray and a 26 x 20 cm baking dish.


Preheat the oven to 240C fan.

For the ragù, add the onion, carrots, garlic, tomatoes, tomato paste and dried chillies to a large food processor and pulse to get the consistency of mince. Scrape into a large bowl and set aside.

Add the prawns to the food processor and pulse to a mince consistency, then add to the bowl of onion mixture along with the oil, 2½ tsp of salt and plenty of black pepper (about 50 twists). Mix very well to combine.

If you don’t have a food processor, very finely chop all the vegetables and prawns by hand.

Transfer the prawn mixture to a large, 36 x 24 cm high-sided baking tray and spread out. Roast for 25 minutes, stirring halfway, until nicely browned.

Transfer the mixture to a large, heavy bottomed pan and place on a high heat. Add the wine and leave to simmer away for 4 minutes, or until reduced, then add the stock. Bring to a simmer, then lower the heat to medium-low and simmer for 35 minutes, until you have a rich ragu.

Meanwhile, make the requeijão by adding the milk, cream and corn flour to a small saucepan and whisking very well. Place on a medium heat, add the mozzarella, parmesan and a good pinch of salt and cook for about 8 minutes, whisking continuously. The sauce should be smooth and should be thicker than double cream but thinner than bechamel. Set aside.

For the chilli oil, add all the ingredients to a small saucepan with a good pinch of salt. Whisk well to incorporate, then simmer for 5 minutes on a low heat.

Reduce the oven temperature to 180C fan.

To assemble the lasagne, spoon some of the sauce in the bottom of a 26 x 20 cm rectangular ovenproof dish, then spoon over some of the requeijão. Sprinkle with both herbs then continue building layers in the same way until you have run out of pasta sheets, finishing with a final layer of sauce and requeijão. Drizzle over 1 tbsp of oil and bake for 30 minutes until golden-brown and bubbling.

Leave to cool and then serve with the chilli oil drizzled on top.

Ixta Belfrage is the co-author of Ottolenghi FLAVOUR.


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