Lasagna

Lasagna, photo by Daniele Tomelleri

by Vanessa Gianfrancesco

(Serves 4-6 porzioni)

Ingredients for tomato sauce / Ingredienti per la salsa di pomodoro

  • ¼ cup of olive oil / di tazza di olio d’oliva 
  • 1 white onion, finely chopped / cipolla bianca tagliata finemente
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced / spicchi d’aglio tritati
  • 1 fresh sprig of rosemary / rametto di rosmarino fresco
  • 1 can of crushed tomatoes (my favourite are San Marzano) / lattina di pomodori pelati a pezzi (i San Marzano sono i miei preferiti)
  • 1 jar of passata or tomato puree / vasetto di passata di pomodoro
  • 2 cups water / tazze d’acqua
  • ½ cup of parsley, chopped / tazza di prezzemolo tritato
  • 6-8 hand-torn fresh basil leaves / foglie di basilico fresco spezzettate a mano
  • 2 cups heavy cooking cream / tazze di panna da cucina spessa

Ingredients for the ricotta sauce / Ingredienti per la salsa di ricotta

  • 450g package ricotta / confezione di ricotta
  • 1 cup grated Parmigiano Reggiano / tazza di Parmigiano Reggiano grattugiato
  • 2 eggs / uova
  • ¼ cup parsley, finely chopped /di tazza di prezzemolo finemente tritato
  • Salt and pepper to taste / Sale e pepe a piacimento 

You will also need / Servono inoltre

1 package ready-to-use lasagna / confezione di lasagne pronte all’uso

2 cups shredded mozzarella / tazze di mozzarella a listarelle

Preparation for the tomato sauce

In a sauté pan, warm the olive oil and add the onion and rosemary. Cook until the onions are translucent, then add the garlic and cook until golden. Add the crushed tomatoes, the passata and water. Let it simmer on low for 15-20 minutes. Add the salt and pepper to taste along with the hand-torn basil leaves. Remove the sprig of rosemary. Cool the sauce. Puree the sauce using a hand mixer or blender. Add the cream and set aside.

Preparation for the ricotta sauce

In a bowl, combine the ricotta, Parmigiano Reggiano, eggs, parsley, salt and pepper. Cover and set aside in the fridge until you are ready to use it.

Preparation for the lasagna

In a casserole dish (9 x 13 inches), spread a layer of tomato sauce. Then, add a layer of pasta followed by more tomato sauce, then a layer of ricotta sauce. Top with mozzarella cheese. Repeat the process 3-5 times depending on how deep your casserole dish is. Cover with aluminum foil and place in the oven. Bake for 35-40 minutes, or until the pasta is fully cooked. Remove from the oven and let sit for 10 minutes before cutting.

Ingredients for mini meatballs

250g ground beef

250g ground veal

¼ cup grated Parmigiano Reggiano

¼ cup Pecorino Romano

1 tsp fennel seeds

1 tsp chilli flakes

1 tsp garlic powder

1 tbsp lemon zest

2 tbsp parsley, finely chopped

½ tsp freshly ground nutmeg

2 tbsp breadcrumbs

1 egg

Method for the mini meatballs

Preheat the oven to 375°F. In a bowl, mix together the ground beef, ground veal, Parmigiano Reggiano, Pecorino Romano, fennel seeds, chilli flakes, garlic powder, lemon zest, parsley, nutmeg, breadcrumbs, eggs, salt and pepper. Using a small ice cream scoop, scoop the meat mixture to form mini meatballs and place them on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Bake in the oven for 10-12 minutes. 

Method for Lasagna with mini meatballs

In a casserole dish (9 x 13 inches), spread a layer of tomato sauce. Then, add a layer of pasta followed by more tomato sauce, then a layer of ricotta sauce. Then top with a few mini meatballs and mozzarella cheese. Repeat the process 3-5 times depending on how deep your casserole dish is. Cover with aluminum foil and place in the oven. Bake for 35-40 minutes, or until the pasta is fully cooked. Remove from the oven and let sit for 10 minutes before cutting.