This is a no holds barred, manly man’s lasagna. Not for the faint of heart or those of you who might be counting calories. But if you are hankering for some traditional, delicious lasagna, stick around.
1 package ground pork and ground chuck, about 1 1/2 lbs
1 package of sweet and hot italian sausage, removed from casings
1 onion, chopped
5 large garlic cloves, chopped
1 tablespoon each dried basil and oregano
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
2 28 ounce cans tomato sauce* (San Marzano if available)
2 lbs fresh ricotta
2 eggs, slightly beaten
1/2 cup each freshly chopped parsley and basil
1 package of lasagna noodles
2 packages of fresh mozzarella, sliced thin
1 cup freshly grated Parmigianno-Reggiano
Preheat oven to 350 degrees
Place uncooked noodles in a large bowl filled with very hot water. Leave for about 30 minutes. This step will take the place of cooking the noodles. If desired, you may use oven-ready lasagna noodles.
While noodles are soaking, start the sauce by placing the onions in a large preheated pot over medium heat with about 1 tablespoon olive oil for a couple of minutes. Add the garlic and saute until soft. Add the sausage meat, ground chuck and pork, breaking up the meat as you’re stirring. When meat is browned and crumbly, drain.
Return the meat to the pot and add basil, oregano, red pepper, salt and pepper. Add your tomato sauce and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for around 45 minutes. When sauce is almost done, add about 1/4 cup each of the parsley and basil. In the meantime, remove the noodles and place on clean kitchen towels to dry or blot with paper towels.
In a bowl, combine the ricotta, about 1/4 -1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, eggs, remaining parsley and basil.
Spoon about two ladles of the sauce into the bottom of a 13x9x2 baking pan. Place the lasagna noodles on top, overlapping if necessary, then ricotta mixture, then mozzarella, and repeat layers, ending with sauce. Reserve some mozzarella cheese for later. Place aluminum foil over pan and bake for approximately 45 minutes. Remove foil and top off with remaining mozzarella cheese until hot and bubbly. Let rest for around 10 minutes before serving.
*Unlike most lasagna recipes, I do not use tomato paste. This is strictly a personal preference as I don’t like thick sauce. Feel free to use it if you do.
As an appetizer, I recommend three cheese crostini. Serve with garlic bread, salad a nice Chianti and Andre Botticelli. Oh, and here’s the dessert we had. Isn’t it pretty?
This recipe yields enough for serving 12-16 people, maybe more. In fact, you might have enough lasagna to fill another small pan so be prepared. Go ahead and freeze the extra.