For the pasta: 500g ‘00’ pasta flour 8 eggs, use 3 whole eggs, lightly whisked with 5 egg yolks 2 tbsp olive oil 1 pinch of saffron,infused in 1 tbsp boiling water
For the sauce: 1 shallot, peeled, finely sliced 1 tbsp olive oil 1 strip of lemon peel 25ml Noilly Prat vermouth (or Nigel says any vermouth, dry sherry or dry white wine) 120ml whipping cream 50g Gruyère cheese, grated
For the lasagne: 200g fresh white crab meat 4 plum tomatoes, skinned sea salt & black pepper olive oil rapeseed oil 150g baby spinach
To make the pasta
Place all the ingredients into a food processor and pulse to bring together. Turn out onto a lightly floured work surface and knead well. Divide into 4, wrap in cling film and refrigerate to rest for 2 hours.
Cut each piece of dough into 2. Take 1 of the pieces and, on a lightly floured surface, flatten with your hands. Roll the dough through a pasta machine repeatedly, gradually making your way to 2 notches from the thinnest setting. Lay the resulting long strip of pasta on your work surface. Using a 7.5cm round cutter, cut out discs. Repeat with the other piece of pasta dough. You need 2 discs per serving for the lasagne, although I always cut a couple of extra. Allow the pasta discs to dry out while you make the Gruyère cream sauce.
To make the sauce
Fry the shallot in the olive oil until softened, add the lemon peel and vermouth and bring to the boil. Simmer to reduce the liquid by half. Add the cream and Gruyère, bring back to the boil and simmer again. Pass through a sieve into another saucepan and set aside.
To make the lasagne
Pick over the crab meat to remove any pieces of shell, slice the tomatoes, set aside. Drop the pasta discs into a pan of gently boiling salted water. Cook for about 3 minutes, then lift out with a slotted spoon. Quickly season with salt and freshly ground black pepper and add a splash of olive oil. Meanwhile, heat a frying pan, add a splash of rapeseed oil and sauté the spinach until just wilted and season with salt and freshly ground black pepper.
Preheat the oven to 200°C/180°C/400°F/gas mark 6. Lightly oil a large baking tray and lay on 4 pasta discs. Divide the spinach between the discs and top with the white crab meat and 2 slices of tomato. Finish with another pasta disc and spoon over the Gruyère sauce. Place in the oven and bake for 10 to 15 minutes, until bubbling and lightly browned. Serve immediately.
Nigel says if you don’t want to make your own pasta, you can use sheets of fresh lasagne pasta, a 250g-300g pack will be sufficient.
If using bought-in fresh pasta, then lightly oil a baking tray / casserole dish and line the base with the pasta sheets (which Nigel had put into boiling, salted water for a couple of minutes to soften). After spooning over the spinach, crab and tomatoes, he finished with another layer of pasta sheets (Nigel used 3 sheets per layer), before spooning over the Le Gruyère sauce.