This lasagna sure was time-consuming, but worth every minute! It's a mish-mash of a few different Lidia recipes from Lidia's Family Table. I did not make my own pasta for this, simply because it would have added even more time to the process. But, I did pick up some wonderful fresh pasta sheets from Carlino's Italian Market. They worked wonderfully with this dish.
I also went for an extra layer this time, and added Besciamella sauce. It definitely added a wonderful creaminess to the meal and it wasn't very hard or time-consuming to make.
What you'll need:
- Pasta sheets, cooked
- 1 cup Italian sausage, cooked
- Simple Tomato Sauce (recipe to follow)
- Besciamella sauce (recipe to follow)
- 3-4 TB of butter (for the baking dish)
- 3/4 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
- 6-8 oz of shredded mozzerella cheese
- 8 oz fresh ricotta
- 1 egg
Prepare the sauces first, set aside to cool.
Remove the sausage from the link casing, and cook until brown and crumbly. Mix the ricotta with the egg, and set aside.
Prepare the pasta sheets, and cool in ice water. Spread them onto a cookie sheet that is lined with a kitchen towel so the water absorbs.
Grease an 8x8 or 9x9 square baking sheet with the butter, on all sides. Set up your "station" and get ready to assemble.
*Note, you can also use a 9x13 pan and increase the ingredients just a bit. The pasta is cut to fit this size, anyway. But I always find that a 9x13 pan makes way too much for a small household.
Layer the bottom of the pan with a little bit of sauce. Drizzle with the Besciamella.
Layer with pasta sheets, and spread on the ricotta/egg mixture.
Next, a layer of sausage.
Layer with more tomato sauce, bechemel, and the 2 cheeses...
Repeat the layers until the pan is full, folding over the pasta is needed:
Ready to bake...
And done. Let sit uncovered for 20 minutes to settle before cutting into squares and serving.
Simple Tomato Sauce
Good with: Pastas, Gnocchi, Baked Pastas
by Lidia Bastianich
- (2) 35oz cans of San Marzano Tomatoes
- 1 large onion, chopped in small pieces
- 1 medium carrot, chopped in small pieces
- 1 rib celery, chopped in small pieces
- 6 TB olive oil
- 1 tsp kosher salt, plus more to taste
- 2 cups water
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 tsp dried peperoncino (red pepper flakes)
- 1/2 tsp honey
Put the chopped onion, carrot, celery pieces into a food processor to finely mince.
Pour oil into a sauce pot, stir the vegetables over med-high heat. Add salt. Cook 3 mins or so to let them soften, but not brown.
Pour the tomatoes and juices into the pan and stir with the veggies. Rinse the bowl and the tomato cans with the water, and pour this into the pan. Stir in bay leaves, honey, and peperoncino. Turn up heat and cover. Bring sauce to boil, stirring, and check frequently.
Adjust the heat to maintain an active simmer. Cover and cook for 45 mins, stirring occasionally.
Remove the cover, raise heat to gradually reduce. Cook for another hour, stirring often to ensure no sticking. Turn heat down as sauce thickens. Add more salt if needed.
When sauce has reduced by about a quarter, and is concentrated but still pourable, remove from the heat. Let cool. Remove bay leaves.
Besciamella --- Bechamel, or Cream Sauce
by Lidia Bastianich
- 2 cups milk
- Pinch of kosher salt
- Pinch of white pepper
- Pinch of grated nutmeg
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 1/2 TB butter
- 2 TB all-purpose flour
- 2 TB freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
Melt butter in a heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium heat. When butter foams, put in flour and whisk to form a roux. Keep whisking 3-4 minutes until the roux darkens a bit.
Pour in hot milk in a stream, stirring to mix the roux into it. Stir constantly until sauce boils. Adjust heat to keep a steady bubble as the sauce thickens (about 3 minutes).
Pour the sauce through a fine sieve, and add the grated cheese.
Can be used within 3-4 days. Do not freeze.