Friday, 26 June 2009

Lasagne di Pane Carasau

Lasagne di Pane Carasau (Sardinia)

Pane Carasau is a Sardinia's answer to the Mexican tortilla, just as versatile and typical. It is a large, round paper thin crunchy sheets of bread, also called "Carta da musica", or music sheets. It is great munching on as it is, or some condiments, however it is also famous for making an alternative lasagne.. Some people use ragù, or bolognese type meat based sauce, but I personally prefer this without meat, as it goes perfectly well with the light texture of pane carasau!

5-8 sheets of Pane carasau (depending on the size), or as needed
300-400g of fresh mozzarella
coarsely ground fresh bread crumbs*
grated parmigiano reggiano or grana padano, ideally pecorino sardo

2 onions, finely chopped
2 carrots, finely chopped
1 small stalk of celery, finely chopped
2 cloves of garlic, crushed or minced
2 bay leaves
Tomatoes, for a quick recipe you can use about 800ml-1lt of mixture of crushed tomatoes from a tin + passata/tomato puree, but using ripe, fresh tomatoes in season (chopped) greatly improves the flavour. I usually take the happy medium and use about 5-6 fresh tomatoes then add 1 tin (400ml circa) of crushed tomatoes. (Note) Fresh tomatoes does also take longer to cook until they thicken.
Salt, black pepper
Handful of fresh basil leaves (or dash of dried, flaked oregano+basil)
olive oil.

*for bread crumbs, the best option is crushing some slightly stale dried bread in a food processor, however the commercial bread crumbs can used also.

Prepare the sauce by sautèing the onion, carrots, celery and garlic in just enough amount of olive oil. When they are completely softened, add the tomatoes and bay leaves, season with salt. (also add the oregano-basil at this point if dried herbs are used.)
Cook the sauce until it attains a consistent, thickened texture, about an hour. Add chopped fresh basil leaves and black pepper towards the end of cooking.

Chop or slice the mozzarella into small pieces.

Grease the bottom of a baking dish (about 20x30cm), then pour some of the sauce just to thinly cover the bottom.
Take pane carasau, sheet by sheet, dip quickly (but thoroughly) in a lukewarm water and lay evenly to cover the surface of the baking dish, breaking the bread as needed to fit into the dish. (of course some overlapping is expected!)
Cover the surface of the bread again with the sauce, not too heavily.
Arrange the pieces of the mozzarella on top, not completely covering but evenly dotted throughout the surface.
Repeat the procedure with pane carasau-sauce-mozzarella twice over. finishing with the mozzarella.
On the fourth layer, after the pane carasau and the sauce, sprinkle generously with the bread crumbs, then the parmigiano/grana padano/pecorino.
Cover the surface with the foil and bake in the oven for about 15 minutes at 180°C, then take off the foil and continue cooking in the oven, cranking up the oven to 200°C. Cook another 10-15 minutes or until the surface is golden brown.

Serve hot!


  1. It looks yummy, I'm going to try it :-)

  2. it IS very yummy!! I hope you can find the right bread!! It's lovely and the result is much lighter than the regular lasagne with egg based pasta!