My mother grew up outside of Rome, Italy and all her family still lives there. Since I don’t get to see them as often as I would like, I enjoy cooking family recipes that make me think of them. Lasagna was one of the first recipes I asked my mother to teach me. The tomato sauce base can be used in a variety of dishes so it’s good to know! From my family to yours, I hope you enjoy making one of my favorite comfort foods.

 

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FOR THE SAUCE:

  • 1 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 medium red onions, finely diced
  • 2 large cloves minced garlic
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • pinch of red pepper flakes
  • 1 ½ cups good red wine, preferably Italian
  • 2 28-ounce cans Italian plum tomatoes
  • 3 tablespoons tomato paste
  • ¼ cup freshly grated Pecorino Romano
  • 10 sprigs fresh parsley, leaves only, washed and dried
  • 1 teaspoon fresh thyme
  • 1 teaspoon fresh oregano
  • 1/4 cup of fresh basil
  • 2 large whole cloves garlic

FOR THE LASAGNA:

  • 1 15-ounce container ricotta cheese
  • 2 extra-large eggs
  • 2 cups freshly grated pecorino Romano
  • ½ cup chopped parsley
  • 1 pound mozzarella, grated
  • 16 sheets lasagna noodles
  1. For the sauce, coat the bottom of a large pot with olive oil on low heat. Add the onion and garlic to cook, stirring, for 10 minutes, until the onions are wilted. Season liberally with salt and pepper, add red pepper flakes for a bit of heat. Raise heat slightly, add the wine and cook until it is mostly reduced, about 20 minutes. Crush the tomatoes into the pan, and add their juice. Add the chopped basil, tomato paste and 2 cups lukewarm water. Simmer for 1 hour.
  2. Heat the oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl, combine the ricotta, eggs, Pecorino Romano, parsley, oregano, thyme, and all but 1 cup of the mozzarella. Season well with salt and pepper. Mix thoroughly.
lasagna-noodle-layer
Layer noodles in alternating directions, horizontal then vertical and so on.

3. Line you pan with lasagna noodles. Spoon a thick layer of tomato sauce into the bottom of a 9-by-12-inch lasagna pan. Cover with an alternating direction layer of noodles (see photo above).

4. Spoon the cheese sauce on top, then add a third layer of noodles then tomato sauce. Repeat for more layers, until reaching the top of the pan. Top with a layer of noodles, and cover with the remaining sauce.

5.  Sprinkle reserved mozzarella evenly over the top. Bake 30 minutes. Let stand 10 minutes before serving, garnish with parsley or basil leaf and mangia!

-Lea

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