Seafood Lasagna

Seafood Lasagna

3 tablespoons olive oil
1 large yellow onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
5 cups canned plum tomatoes, packed in tomato puree
1/2 cup dry white wine
1/2 cup chopped fresh basil
2 teaspoons fennel seeds
salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
1 cup heavy or whipping cream
2 tablespoons pernod
1 pound medium size shrimp, shelled, deveined and poached briefly
1 pound scallops, poached briefly
3 dozen mussels, steamed and shelled
2 dozen littleneck clams, steamed and shelled
1 1/4 pounds lasagna noodles, preferably fresh tomato noodles

3 cups ricotta cheese
8 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
2 eggs
1 10 ounce package spinach, cooked, drained and chopped
1 pound cooked lump crab meat, shredded
1 sweet red pepper, seeded, cored and diced
1 bunch green onions, sliced
1/2 cup chopped fresh basil
salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
1 1/2 pounds mozzarella cheese, thinly sliced

To make seafood sauce, heat the oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. Add the onion and garlic and saute for 5 minutes. Add the tomatoes with the puree and cook for 5 minutes more. Stir in the wine, basil, fennel seeds and salt and pepper to taste. Simmer uncovered over medium heat for 45 minutes stirring occasionally. Stir the cream into the sauce and then the pernod. Stir in all the shellfish and simmer 5 minutes. Remove from the heat.

Preheat oven to 350F. Cook the lasagna noodles in boiling salted water until tender but still firm. Drain and cool under cold running water.

To make the filling, beat the ricotta, cream cheese and eggs in a mixing bowl with a wooden spoon until smooth. Stir in spinach, crab meat, red pepper, scallions, basil and salt and pepper to taste.

Butter a large rectangular baking pan. Spread a thin layer of the sauce, on the bottom of the pan. Cover with a layer of noodles. Top with half the filling, then half the seafood sauce. Cover the sauce with a layer of mozzarella. Place another layer of noodles over the mozzarella and spread with the remaining filling. Top with another layer of mozzarella. Add a final layer of noodles and then the remaining seafood sauce. Cover with the remaining cheese.

Bake the lasagna until bubbling and browned, about 50 minutes. Let stand for 10 minutes before serving. Makes 10 to 12 servings.