Imagine a savory dish that takes you on a culinary journey through the Mediterranean coast. A dish that invokes ancient flavors and traditions, made to celebrate Passover with family and friends. That dish is Scacchi, a Passover lasagna recipe with roots in Italian and Greek cuisine.
As a chef who has been passionate about traditional recipes with a modern twist, I find Scacchi to be the perfect example of well-balanced, comforting food. The combination of nutmeg, cinnamon, allspice, garlic, mushrooms, spinach and beef makes it packed with flavor. In addition, the recipe is leaven-free and uses matzo place instead of lasagna noodles which are deliciously crispy after being baked.
This hearty dish is perfect as the main course for any Passover Seder and it can easily be adapted as a vegetarian or even vegan recipe. Whether you’re celebrating Passover in a traditional Sephardic or Italian way or want to explore new flavors from Northern Africa’s Morocco, this recipe has something for everyone.
I am excited to share with you my Scacchi recipe that has been passed down from generation to generation in my family. Let’s dive in and see how we can create this mouth-watering delight that will add joy and warmth to your Seder table!
Why You’ll Love This Recipe
Friends, are you looking for a Passover recipe that is both traditional and unique? Look no further than Scacchi, a Mediterranean Passover “lasagna” that will leave your guests begging for seconds.
What’s so great about this dish, you ask? Well, first of all, it’s loaded with flavor. Nutmeg, cinnamon, and allspice infuse the meat filling with warm and fragrant notes, while pine nuts, raisins, onions, and garlic add texture and sweetness. Plus, a generous amount of fresh parsley packs a punch of freshness to balance out the richness of the dish.
But what truly sets Scacchi apart is its clever use of matzo in place of regular lasagna noodles. The unleavened bread provides a tender yet sturdy base for the layers of meat and spinach, similar to Italian lasagna but with a unique twist. And because it’s leaven-free, Scacchi is perfect for those following Passover dietary restrictions.
And let’s not forget about the versatility of this dish. While it’s perfect as a main course for Passover dinner or any Mediterranean-themed party, Scacchi can easily be adapted to different diets and tastes. Vegetarians can swap the meat for veggie alternatives or double down on the spinach for a meatless option. Italian and Greek food lovers will enjoy the fusion of flavors in Scacchi’s traditional Sephardic recipe.
So don’t let Scacchi’s simplicity fool you – this dish is packed with flavor and creativity that will delight any palate. Give it a try this Passover season or any time you want to impress dinner guests with something new and delicious!
Here are the ingredients you will need to make Scacchi:
- Matzo, place regular lasagna noodles
- Ground beef (or lamb for a more traditional Sephardic Passover recipe)
- Garlic cloves
- Button mushrooms
- Spinach, fresh or frozen
- Pine nuts, toasted
- Chicken broth
- Fresh parsley
Note: This recipe is leaven-free and uses matzo in place of regular lasagna noodles.
The Recipe How-To
Now, it’s time to learn how to make the Scacchi (Mediterranean Passover “lasagna”). This recipe is an absolute favorite of mine, and I love sharing it with my guests at dinner parties during the festive Passover season.
Step 1: Prepare the Filling
Take a large nonstick skillet and heat over medium heat. Sauté 1 diced onion, 2 minced garlic cloves, and 8 oz. sliced button mushrooms until they soften and turn light brown.
Now, add 1 lb. ground beef or lamb and put the flame on medium-high. Cook this mixture for about 8-10 minutes until it’s well browned. You may add about ½ cup of chicken broth in between for easy cooking.
Step 2: Add Spinach, Pine nuts, and Raisins
Add a pack of washed and finely chopped spinach to the pan carefully when the meat is cooked fully. Now add ¼ teaspoon nutmeg,½ teaspoon cinnamon, and ¼ teaspoon allspice, along with some salt according to your taste.
Stir well so that everything is combined correctly, then add in a handful of pine nuts and raisins for an extra crunch of flavors.
Step 3: Cooking Eggs
In a bowl, whisk two large eggs until they’re fluffy enough. Pour this mixture over the beef and spinach mixture in the pan you used earlier, making sure everything is evenly coated.
Remove from heat and let it cool slightly before adding approximately ¾ cup freshly chopped parsley to this mixture.
Step 4: Assemble It All!
Preheat your oven to 375°F now! In a shallow baking dish, place regular lasagna noodles across the bottom so that they cover well. Top with the beef mixture previously prepared.
Repeat with another layer for as long as you have either ingredients or baking dish space available.
Step 5: The Final Touches
Bake this delicious Mediterranean passover “lasagna” in your preheated oven for approximately 30-35 minutes until it goes bubbly around edges and turns into golden brown color on top.
When done, remove from oven carefully using oven mitts since it will be hot! Let it sit for about 10 minutes before serving hot!
Enjoy this scrumptious Scacchi (Mediterranean Passover “lasagna”) Recipe with your family, friends and loved ones during Passover!
Substitutions and Variations
The beauty of this Scacchi recipe is in its versatility, and with a few simple substitutions, you can create a dish that fits your taste preference or dietary needs.
For a vegetarian version, simply skip the ground beef or lamb and add some roasted vegetables such as zucchini, eggplant or bell pepper, sliced thinly. You may also want to try out veggie lasagna, which uses other vegetable substitutions for meat such as spinach or mushrooms.
If you prefer a milder taste, you can reduce the spices such as nutmeg or cinnamon by half. Similarly, if you want it to be spicier, try adding more garlic cloves, onions or hot paprika.
Another potential substitution would be the use of chicken broth instead of beef broth. Not only will this tweak heighten the lemony taste of the dish, but it will also make it less intense.
For those looking for gluten-free substitutions and variations to make the dish passover-friendly, consider matzo meal instead of regular flour. It could be helpful to note that matzo meal may need more liquid than regular flour to achieve your desired texture.
One way to make this dish healthier is to substitute greek yogurt for sour cream in the lemon sauce. This substitution is not only lower in calories but is also packed with probiotics beneficial for gut health.
By experimenting with these substitution and variation options, you can find a Scacchi recipe that’s perfect for your taste and dietary needs while still maintaining its vibrant Mediterranean flavors.
Serving and Pairing
When it comes to serving Scacchi, you can treat it just like regular lasagna! Serve up a hearty slice with a dollop of Greek yogurt and a sprinkle of fresh parsley for an extra zing.
While Scacchi is filling and flavorful on its own, there’s always something to be said for a well-paired side dish. I personally recommend serving this dish with some delicious roasted vegetables or a light salad greens dressed in lemon vinaigrette. The tartness of the dressing will complement the sweetness of the Scacchi, while leafy greens will break up all that rich meatiness.
If you’re interested in a more ethnic experience, try pairing this dish with homemade pita bread or couscous for some North African flair. You can also try adding some sliced citrus fruits or dried apricots to your plate for a pop of sweetness that will balance out your meal.
Ultimately, Scacchi is incredibly versatile and will pair beautifully with most sides, so feel free to get creative and play around with different ideas until you find your perfect combination! Whether you’re hosting a Passover seder or simply looking for something new to cook at home, this refined Mediterranean Passover lasagna is sure to delight anyone who tries it.
Make-Ahead, Storing and Reheating
When it comes to hosting a party, anything that can be made ahead of time is a blessing. The good news is that Scacchi, the Mediterranean Passover “lasagna” dish, can easily be made a day in advance and reheated before serving. In fact, this recipe tends to taste even better after being stored in the fridge overnight!
To make-ahead, prepare and assemble the Scacchi as directed in the recipe instructions. Instead of baking it immediately, cover it tightly with plastic wrap and foil and store in the refrigerator for up to 24 hours.
When you’re ready to serve, remove the Scacchi from the refrigerator and let it sit at room temperature for approximately 30 minutes. Then, preheat your oven and continue with the baking instructions as directed.
If you have extra leftovers, they can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to three days. To reheat individual portions, microwave on high for a few minutes or until heated through. Alternatively, reheat larger portions covered with foil in the oven at 350°F (180°C) until heated through.
One tip to keep in mind is that Scacchi tends to get soggy if stored in the fridge for too long. To help prevent this issue, store any leftover sauce separately from the assembled dish and add it just before reheating.
Overall, making Scacchi ahead of time can save you stress on party day while still delivering delicious flavors when served.
Tips for Perfect Results
As a home chef who loves throwing parties, I’ve learned a lot of helpful tips and tricks over the years to make any dish perfect. Here are my top tips for making the best Scacchi possible:
1. Don’t skimp on seasoning: The spices in this recipe – nutmeg, cinnamon, allspice – are what make it so delicious. Don’t be afraid to add a bit more than the recipe calls for if you want an extra kick of flavor.
2. Toast your pine nuts: Before adding them to the dish, toast your pine nuts in a dry pan over medium heat until they’re golden brown. This will bring out their nutty flavor and give them a nice crunch.
3. Use fresh spinach: Frozen spinach can be watery and mushy, which won’t do your Scacchi any favors. Use fresh spinach instead and wilt it down in a pan with some olive oil and garlic before adding it to the dish.
4. Let it rest: Once you’ve assembled your Scacchi, let it sit for at least 15 minutes before baking. This will give the matzo noodles time to absorb some of the liquid from the filling and result in a firmer, easier-to-slice lasagna.
5. Try different proteins: While the traditional recipe calls for ground beef or lamb, you can easily substitute chicken or even make a vegetarian version with sautéed mushrooms and onions.
6. Make-Ahead: Scacchi is a great dish to make ahead of time for your Passover seder or any dinner party. You can assemble it a day ahead of time and keep it covered in the fridge until you’re ready to bake it.
7. Serve with Greek yogurt: A dollop of tangy Greek yogurt on top of each serving is the perfect way to balance out the richness of this dish.
With these tips, you’ll be sure to impress all of your guests with your perfectly seasoned and delicious Scacchi!
Now that you’ve learned how to make this scrumptious Scacchi recipe, it’s time to roll up your sleeves, gather all the ingredients and get cooking! This Mediterranean Passover lasagna is a perfect main course for any Passover Seder, and it’s sure to impress your guests.
Beyond being a delicious recipe, Scacchi is also a symbol of unity and diversity in cultures. It combines the Sephardic and Italian cuisines while sticking to Passover’s dietary restrictions. This dish creates an amazing fusion that is sure to delight all taste buds.
So go ahead and experiment with the ingredients, add your twist to the recipe, make your Scacchi unique. You might surprise yourself with what you can come up with. This recipe can also be easily adapted for vegetarians with the substitution of lamb or beef for vegetables like zucchini, eggplant or mushrooms.
In conclusion, Scacchi is a delightful Passover recipe loaded with different flavors and aromas that will definitely bring new life on your Seder table. With an open mind and some enthusiasm, you will be able to create an unforgettable meal for you and your loved ones this Passover season. Happy cooking and enjoy the company!
Scacchi (Mediterranean Passover “lasagna”) Recipe
- 8 -10 matzos
- 1 cup chicken broth or 1 cup stock, warm
- 3 eggs, beaten with a little broth
- 1 1/2 lbs ground beef or 1 1/2 lbs lamb
- 1 onion, chopped
- 1 -2 garlic clove
- 1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped
- 1/2 teaspoon allspice
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 cup raisins, soaked in warm water
- 1 1/2 lbs spinach
- 1/2 lb button mushroom, sliced
- 2 medium onions, diced
- 1/4 cup pine nuts
- 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
- Prepare the meat filling. In a medium pan, cook the meat with the onions and a little olive oil until browned, drain off fat. Add the raisins, parsley, allspice and cinnamon, cook for another couple of minutes. Set the meat mixture aside.
- Now for the vegetable filling! In a little olive oil, cook the onions until translucent, then add the pine nuts and sliced mushrooms, cook for a couple minutes longer. Stir in the spinach (with a bit of water if the spinach isn't frozen) and nutmeg. Cook until the spinach is wilted, set aside.
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees, and soak the matzah in the warm broth until slightly softened and flexible.
- Grease a 9x13" glass pan, and place two soaked matzo in the bottom of the dish, with the edges overlapping slightly.
- Spread a layer of the meat mixture atop the matzo, followed by more matzo. Add a layer of the vegetables. Continue until the filling runs out, then top the pan with a final soaked matzo layer.
- Drizzle the beaten egg/chicken broth along the top of the dish.
- Bake until golden brown on top, about 30-45 minutes. If the top layer of matzo curls up or gets too crispy, you may want to pour a little additional broth over it.
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Anna is a culinary expert who specializes in grilling delicious BBQ dishes. She also enjoys sharing her recipes and experiences with her foodie community on her blog. She’s the total package for any backyard barbecue!