Good Old Fashioned Lasagna
Sometimes I’m surprised that people need a recipe to make lasagna. Just shows how sheltered I am. How Italian food is part of my genes. How silly I can be.
Lasagna? You just make it! You need a recipe?
To be honest, I have made all kinds of lasagna from recipes. True Bolognese style. All white lasagna. Polenta lasagna. Spinach and vegetable lasagna. Butternut Squash lasagna. But in my cooking class the other day we made a good old-fashioned lasagna (with a few modern perks). It was so delicious! I wondered why did I ever stray from the classic?
Okay. What’s classic?
Classic is what I grew up with. A classic lasagna has: the pasta, ricotta, mozzarella, and tomato sauce. That’s the classic. But here’s my “modern” perks.
Turn the tomato sauce into a sausage sauce (like a meat sauce but use broken up sausage instead of ground beef. why not? it’s great). Let’s add some sliced hard-boiled egg to give it that Napolitana spin (or so my Sicilian-leaning background labels it). And instead of just plopping the ricotta as is, let’s add a little milk to it. Season it with salt and pepper. Make it smooth, looser, so it spreads more easily. The mozzarella? Not slices, not strips. Let’s grate it so it melts lightly and evenly. AND instead of buying lasagna pasta that you boil, use the no-boil which in the end tastes like fresh-made pasta (yes, it does!).
There. My classic lasagna. With some additions and tweaks. And it’s got the “oh man, this is REALLY GREAT” vibe.
Here are the details. Make it! Let me know how you like it. Grazie!
Lasagna w Sausage Sauce & Hard-Boiled Eggs
For the Sauce:
1 1/2 or 2 lbs. Italian sausage, meat removed from casings
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium onion, small dice
½ cup dry white wine
3- 28 oz canned crushed tomatoes
salt & pepper to taste
1 lb. no-boil Lasagna pasta
1 lb. mozzarella, grated on shredder side of a box grater
1 lb. ricotta., mixed with a ¼ cup of milk, seasoned with salt & pepper
6 hard-boiled large eggs, cut into thin slices
½ lb grated cheese, parmigiano, pecorino or mixture
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
Make the Sauce: Heat a couple of tablespoons of oil in a large sauce pan. Break up the sausage meat into small pieces. Cook until browned. You may have to do it in batches. Add the onion and cook until it softens. Add the wine and let evaporate. Add the tomatoes and season with salt & pepper. Let simmer for 20-30 minutes.
Make the Lasagna: Spoon a thin layer of sauce at the bottom of a pan that’s about 9″ X 13” and at least 3-inches deep. Place 3-4 pasta strips in one layer on top of sauce. Coat each pasta strip well with a layer of sauce. Sprinkle some mozzarella. Spoon dollops of ricotta. Place a few rings of egg. Sprinkle some grated cheese and some black pepper. And a light drizzle of sauce. Repeat 3-4 more times until all the pasta sheets and ingredients have been used. Sprinkle some mozzarella and grated cheese on top. Drizzle some sauce.
Bake for about 45 minutes until the top is golden and the lasagna is bubbling. Let stand at room temperature for at least 15 minutes before cutting into squares and serving. It’s even better the next day.
Lasagna all prepared and ready to bake