Origin: European, Italian Fusion
Method: Stovetop and OvenJump to Recipe
Our Salmon Florentine Lasagna was inspired by a fantastic smoked salmon lasagna that our friends made for us a few years ago. Living in the Pacific Northwest we loved our salmon and are not at all shy about trying it in all sorts of dishes. Our version uses spinach lasagna noodles which are adapted from Marcella Hazan's cookbook Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking. For those of you who are unaware of Marcella Hazen's works, she is pretty much the Italian equivalent of Julia Childs.
Layered between the delectable spinach lasagna are layers of hot smoked salmon tossed in a simple béchamel sauce (technically a Mornay sauce since we add shredded cheese). This seafood lasagna recipe takes a little bit of work but is well worth the effort.
Making the Smoked Salmon Lasagna with Spinach Noodles
To make with seafood lasagna with smoked salmon and spinach noodles you will need to make some homemade spinach lasagna noodles, prepare the bechamel sauce, and then assemble the lasagna. The spinach noodle lasagna can also be made with store bought noodles if you do not feel like making the spinach pasta noodles from scratch.
Making the Spinach Lasagna Noodles
Prepare the pasta dough
To make the spinach noodles for the Florentine Style Salmon Lasagna you will need flour, eggs, salt, and spinach. You will also need a pasta maker. This recipe will likely result in more noodles than you will need for the lasagna, but we prefer to make extra to allow for some tearing, etc. during the cooking process.
The best flour for these noodles is a fine Italian "00" flour. If you cannot find this use an all purpose flour instead.
For our recipe we used frozen chopped spinach. You will need about half a package, or 5 ounces of frozen spinach.
Cook off excess water from the spinach
Chopped frozen spinach contains a lot of excess water. You want to dry it out a little bit before using in the dough. Heat the spinach in a skillet over medium low heat, pressing the spinach with a spatula to expel some of the excess water. You do not want the spinach completely dry, it should remain moist, but when you press on the spinach with the spatula and water no longer pools, it is perfect.
Mix the ingredients for the spinach pasta noodles
In a bowl or mixer add 1 cup of the flour and the salt and mix to combine.
Form a well in the center of the flour and add the eggs. Mix the flour and eggs until well combined, then stir in the spinach. Continue to mix until the dough is uniform. At this point the dough is likely still too wet. Slowly add a bit of the remaining ½ a cup of flour. You may not need to use all of it. Ideally the dough will be uniform and you should be able to press your thumb into the dough without it sticking.
Once you have reached the desired consistency remove the dough from the bowl or mixer and knead for about 5 minutes. This is best done by hand vs with a dough hook and this step is very important to obtain the correct texture of the pasta so don't skip it.
Roll out the spinach pasta noodles
Next divide the dough into 6 equal sized balls. Let the dough rest for about 30 minutes.
Set your pasta machine for the thickest setting. This is typically "1" on most pasta machines, but check your machine because there can be a lot of variation. Pass each dough ball through the machine a couple times then place on a lightly floured towel. You will need a fair amount of counter space for this.
If the dough is sticking, lightly flour the rollers of the pasta machine and the surface of the dough. After rolling all of the dough on the thickest setting adjust the rollers to the next thinnest setting and roll the pasta dough through a couple times. Repeat with all of the sheets.
Continue this process until you reach a thickness setting of at least 5 or 6, or the width of the rolled dough reaches the edges of your machine. At this point we like to trim the ends of the pasta sheets to square them off, and then cut the pasta into 8 inch sections so they fit our pan perfectly. If desired, you can uses the trimmings to make a new dough ball and roll out for additional pasta or for another use.
Cook the spinach lasagna noodles
Bring a pot of salted water to a boil. Next to the boiling water prepare a bowl with some ice water. Working with a few sheets at a time boil the noodles for about 20 seconds then remove from the boiling water and place in the bowl with the ice water to halt cooking.
Remove the cooled pasta from the ice bath and gently wring or press out the excess water. Place the noodles on a plate lined with paper towels. Repeat this process with the remaining noodles. Note: You may need to replace the ice water if it becomes too warm.
Using store bought lasagna noodles
If you do not wish to take the time to make fresh spinach noodles for your seafood lasagna you can use store bought. We recently made this recipe while on vacation with some fresh spinach pasta sheets from DeLaurenti in Seattle, and the smoked salmon lasagna turned out great. They also ship nationally.
For more of our favorite pasta recipes give some of these great pasta recipes a try:
- Grilled Italian Sausage Pasta with Arrabbiata Sauce
- Bowtie Chicken Pasta with a Balsamic Mascarpone Sauce
- Classic Carbonara with Guanciale
- Smoked Lasagna
Make the Bechemel Sauce
Once your spinach noodles are made it is time to make the bechamel sauce for the lasagna.
This Smoked Salmon Lasagna uses a classic béchamel sauce as a base. Béchamel sauce is a mother sauce and is a base for many dishes, including classic Italian lasagna. We will be adding some cheese to our béchamel, so technically speaking we are going to be making a Mornay sauce. We try not to make this sauce too far ahead of time as it tends to thicken as it sits. Typically, we prepare the sauce while the pasta dough balls are resting for 30 minutes.
Make a roux
The first step in making a béchamel sauce is to make a roux. Combine the milk and cream in a measuring cup and mix to combine. To make the roux, heat the milk and cream mixture over low heat to warm. In a separate sauce pan heat the butter over medium heat. Once the butter is melted and just starting to foam add in the flour and whisk constantly for a couple minutes. Make sure to scrape all edges of the pan and do not allow the flour to burn. If you see dark flecks in the roux, the flour has burned and you will need to discard and start over. If it is your first attempt at a roux you can do this at a slightly lower temperature and just whisk for a little longer.
From roux to béchamel
Next slowly whisk in the warm milk mixture about a quarter cup at a time. Continue to whisk. As the sauce thickens add additional milk and cream mixture until it is all used. You have now just made a béchamel sauce. Congrats!!
From bechamel to Mornay
The final step in making your Mornay sauce is to add the cheese. Add about ¼ cup of the Asiago/Parmesan mixture and stir until melted and smooth. Remove from the heat.
Reserve about ½ a cup of the sauce for the top and bottom of the lasagna and set aside. Note: If at anytime your sauce becomes too thick, you can thin by stirring in a little more milk, about a tablespoon at a time, until you return to your desired consistency.
Add the salmon to the sauce
If present, remove the skin from the salmon. Break up the hot smoked salmon into small chunks and mix into the Mornay sauce. Be sure you are using hot smoked salmon and not cold smoked salmon like lox. This can typically be found in the seafood section of your grocer or better yet make your own. This Maple Bourbon Hot Smoked Salmon works perfectly in this lasagna.
Assemble the Florentine Style Salmon Lasagna
Spray an 8x8 pan with cooking spray then spread a couple tablespoons of the reserved sauce on the bottom of the pan. Place lasagna noodles over the sauce. Depending on the width of the noodles this will typically take 2 noodles. You can fill in gaps with noodle scraps if desired. You can also double the recipe and make the lasagna in a 9x13 pan if cooking for a larger group.
Next spread about a heaping ⅓ cup of the salmon/sauce mixture over the noodles. Spread evenly to the edges.
Top with about ¼ cup of the parmesan-asiago mixture. Repeat this layering until you have used all of the salmon/sauce mixture. Place one more layer of shredded parmesan/asiago and top with noodles. Finally top the noodles with the remaining reserved Mornay sauce and sprinkle with a little bit of remaining parmesan cheese. Make sure the sauce covers the edge of the noodles so the noodles do not dry out during baking.
Bake the Salmon Lasagna
Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Bake the lasagna, uncovered for 15-20 minutes, rotating halfway through. The cheese should be melted and slightly golden.
Remove the lasagna with smoked salmon to a counter and let sit for a few minutes before cutting into portions and serving. This seafood lasagna pairs great for garlic bread, a crunchy baguette and your favorite salad.
If you are looking for more great Italian inspired recipes be sure to check out the recipes for Big A$$ Meatballs, with Truffle Burrata, Italian Style Parmesan Wings, Quattro Formaggi Crusted Steak, and our Sous Vide Florentine Style Porterhouse.
Thanks again for visiting Carne Diem. If you tried and enjoyed our recipe, please share with others. Also don’t forget to tag us @Carne_Diem_Culinary or #CarneDiemBlog, we love to see your pics! To be notified of future recipes please follow us on Facebook, Instagram, or Pinterest, or sign up for our e-mail notifications.
Smoked Salmon Lasagna with Spinach Noodles
- Pasta Machine
- Sauce Pans
- 8x8 Baking Dish
- Pot for Boiling Noodles
- 8 Ounces Hot Smoked Salmon
- 1 Cup Shredded Parmesan Cheese
- 1 Cup Shredded Asiago Cheese
- 1 Cup Milk
- 1 Cup Heavy Cream
- 4 Tablespoon Unsalted Butter
- 3 Tablespoon Flour
- 5 Ounces Chopped Frozen Spinach
- 1.5 Cups 00 Flour or All-Purpose Flour
- 2 Large Eggs
- ½ teaspoon Salt
- Combine the shredded asiago and shredded parmesan in a bowl.
- Break the smoked salmon into small chunks and place in a bowl. If present remove any skin from the fish.
Making the Spinach Noodles
- Heat the spinach in a skillet over medium low heat, pressing the spinach with a spatula to expel some of the excess water. You do not want the spinach completely dry, it should remain moist, but when you press on the spinach with the spatula and water no longer pools, it is perfect.
- Combine 1 cup of flour and the salt in a bowl. Form a well in the center of the flour and add the eggs. Mix the flour and eggs until well combined, then stir in the spinach. Continue to mix until the dough is uniform. At this point the dough is likely still too wet. Slowly add a bit of the remaining ½ a cup of flour. You may not need to use all of it. Ideally the dough will be uniform and you should be able to press your thumb into the dough without it sticking.
- Remove the dough from the bowl or mixer and knead for about 5 minutes. Divide into 6 equal sized balls and let rest for 30 minutes.
- Starting with the thickest setting pass each dough ball through the machine a couple times then place on a lightly floured towel. You will need a fair amount of counter space for this. Repeat this process with each dough ball, then decrease the thickness size by 1 level. Pass the noodles through the pasta maker again. Repeat this process until you reach at least level 5-6 on your pasta machine, or the noodles reach the width of your pasta machine.
- When you have reached your desired thickness, cut the noodles into 8 inch lengths.
- Bring a pot of salted water to a boil. Next to the boiling water prepare a bowl with some ice water. Working with a few sheets at a time boil the noodles for about 20 seconds then remove from the boiling water and place in the bowl with the ice water to halt cooking.
- Remove the noodles from the ice bath, and gently press out the excess water from the noodles. Place on a plate or tray lined with paper towels. Repeat the cooking process with the remaining noodles.
Making the Mornay Sauce
- Combine the milk and cream in a large measuring cup.
- Melt the butter over medium heat. When it is starting to foam stir in the flour and whisk continuously for 1-2 minutes. Make sure to scrape the edges of the pan and do not let the flour burn. Slowly add the milk/cream mixture about ¼ cup at a time, stirring continuously until well combined and thickened before adding more of the milk mixture.
- Once all of the milk/cream has been added, stir in ¼ cup of the cheese mixture and mix until the cheese is melted and the sauce is uniform, then remove from the heat,
- Reserve about ½ a cup of the sauce for the top and bottom of the lasagna and set aside. Add the salmon chunks to the remaining sauce and mix to combine.
Assemble the Lasagna
- Spray an 8x8 pan with cooking spray then spread a couple tablespoons of the reserved sauce on the bottom of the pan. Place lasagna noodles over the sauce. Depending on the width of the noodles this will typically take 2 noodles.
- Spread about a heaping ⅓ cup of the salmon-sauce mixture evenly over the noodles.
- Top with about ¼ cup of the parmesan-asiago mixture. Repeat this layering until you have used all of the salmon/sauce mixture. Place one more layer of shredded parmesan/asiago and top with noodles. Finally top the noodles with the remaining reserved Mornay sauce and sprinkle with a little bit of remaining parmesan cheese.
Baking the Lasagna
- Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Bake the lasagna uncovered for 15-20 minutes, turning halfway through. The cheese on top should be melted and slightly browned.