Lasagna (or the plural lasagne) is one of the more soul-satisfying, warming meals to come from the old country. This recipe was handed down from my family who emigrated from Basilicata, Italy. It’s easy to do and the longest preparation is simmering the sauce for hours to develop its rich flavor that will encompass the lasagna noodles. Use your favorite Sunday long-simmering sauce or find one here.
The sauce can be made ahead of time – even frozen for three months. Then, all you need to do is boil your noodles and layer your dish. This lasagna recipe does not skimp on ricotta cheese (and do use ricotta – do not use cottage cheese). It produces a very rich, creamy lasagna that just holds itself together with the use of the eggs but is not rigid. Whole milk ricotta is preferred here but if you have dietary restrictions, skim milk ricotta will do. Commercially prepared ricotta cheese works better than fresh ricotta for the lasagna.
*You will need a large lasagna pan deep enough to fit 3 layers. (At least 9 x 13 inches and 3 inches deep)
Lasagna ingredients – serves 10
- 10 cups long-simmering tomato sauce
- 1 pound lasagna noodles – boiled according to package directions
- 1 pounds ricotta cheese
- 2 eggs
- 2 tablespoons dried Italian seasonings
- 4 cups freshly-shredded mozzarella cheese
- 1/2 cup freshly-shredded Parmesan cheese plus extra for passing
- Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F.
- Coat the bottom of your pan with about 3/4 cup of sauce.
- Layer your lasagna noodles on top of the sauce until the entire pan is covered. (If necessary – cut the noodles to fit).
- Beat your eggs into the ricotta cheese. Add the Italian seasonings and mix well.
- Mix 1/3 of the mixture with 3/4 cup of the sauce. Cover the bottom layer of lasagna noodles with 1/3 of the ricotta-sauce mixture.
- Repeat two more times until the ricotta is gone.
- Add your last layer of lasagna noodles to the top.
- Moisten the top layer with about 1/2 cup of sauce.
- Combine the Parmesan cheese with the mozzarella.
- Cover the top layer with the mozzarella-Parmesan cheeses.
- Cover with foil and bake for 40 minutes. Remove foil and bake for ten more minutes.
- Remove from oven and let sit on the stove for about ten minutes. Serve, passing sauce and extra Parmesan cheese separately.
Good, Italian Parmesan cheese can be found at Surdyk’s and Kowalski’s. A good Parmesan is a must – using pre-shredded cups of Parmesan that are dry does not add flavor to the dish. All the other ingredients are widely available at any local grocery.