Where did Fall go? I feel like it’s already Winter outside! After 7 years in NYC, I’m still a Floridian at heart, so I don’t exactly welcome the colder months with open arms. A warm, comforting meal like this lasagna makes it a bit better though. Lasagna is not a weeknight kind of meal. Although none of them are difficult in the least, there are numerous steps and it does takes a bit of time to get to the finished product. But it’s so worth it. And this recipe makes enough to feed an army, so you will certainly have leftovers to put in your freezer for a second meal (unless you are, in fact, feeding an army).
I have had great luck making many of Rao’s famous dishes at home, and this is another classic to add to the list. I love this recipe because it has a meaty, flavorful sauce that is in perfect balance with the salty bite of the Pecorino Romano. If you like, make extra sauce and freeze it to serve with pasta. It’s delicious.
Adapted from Rao’s Cookbook
Makes 12 servings
1/2 cup olive oil
1 T minced garlic
2 lbs. lean ground beef
1 lb. Italian sausage meat (sweet or hot, casings removed)
1/2 cup red wine
3 T tomato paste
5 cups water
salt & pepper
2 lbs. ricotta cheese
2 egg yolks
1 pound lasagna noodles
2 cups mozzarella cheese, grated
1 cup Pecorino Romano cheese, grated
1 pound mozzarella cheese, sliced
- In a large saucepan, heat oil over medium-high, add onion and garlic and saute for 3 minutes.
- Stir in beef and cook until browned (about 5 minutes).
- Remove beef mixture from pan, then add sausage and cook until browned.
- Return beef mixture and wine into the pan with sausage and cook for 5 minutes (until wine has evaporated).
- Stir in tomatoes, tomato paste, water, and salt and pepper.
- Simmer for about 2 hours, stirring occasionally.
- Add more water if necessary (1/4 cup at a time), and skim off excess fat with a spoon or by laying paper towels on top of sauce.
- Meanwhile, place ricotta into a cheesecloth-lined colander and allow it to drain in the refrigerator for 2 hours.
- Combine drained ricotta with egg yolks.
- Cook noodles in a large pot of salted, boiling water according to package directions (you want them al dente). Drain and run under cold water to stop them from cooking further.
- Place noodles in a single layer on a kitchen towel and cover with a damp towel.
- Preheat oven to 350°F.
- In a large pan (12 x 18 x 2, or multiple smaller pans, just make sure they are 2 in. deep), ladle a thin layer of sauce.
- Cover sauce with noodles, laid lengthwise, then cover with sauce, a thin layer of ricotta, a sprinkle of grated mozzarella and Pecorino Romano.
- Continue to layer in this order, but alternate direction of pasta (lengthwise then crosswise).
- Finish with a layer of meat sauce covered with sliced mozzarella and Pecorino Romano.
- Bake for 45 minutes or until cheese has melted and lasagna is bubbling.
- Remove from oven and allow to cool for 15 minutes.