the best lasagna recipes

The Italian Carnival Lasagna (Lasagna di Carnevale)

This meat lasagna di carnevale has a strong cultural background. This lavish lasagna was meant
to be eaten only at the carnevale, an event that occurs traditionnally in the Roman Catholic calendar
just before lent. So to many italians this was their last chance to indulge and have a good dinner, before
40 days of fasting. This recipe is from Naples, and not surprisingly I have also seen it named 'lasagna napoletana' in a few instances.


350g (3/4 pound) ground veal, or lean ground beef
3 regular eggs
2 Tablespoons of Parmesan, freshly grated
salt and freshly ground pepper
500ml (2 cups) extra virgin olive oil
300g (2/3 pound) fresh italian sausage, chooped in small meatballs
125ml (1/2 cup)white wine
310g (2/3 pound) ricotta cheese
1 liter (3 cups) marinara sauce, or your favorite tomato sauce from the store
500g (1 pound) mozzarella cheese, or any soft cheese (friulano, etc...)
125g (5 oz) grated Parmesan cheese
2 tablespoons butter

500g (16 oz) lasagna pasta, boiled for 8 minutes and set aside

Part I: preparing the meatballs and the sausages:

In a large bowl, mix the veal, the eggs and the 2 Tbsp parmesan. Mix well.
Shape the meatballs about the size of large peanuts.
Heat the stove to medium setting, in a large skillet heat up the oil until it gets very hot.
(as always with heated oil be mindful not to overheat so it doesn't catch on fire; just be careful)
Fry the meatballs a few at a time, about 7-10 minutes, or until they brown.
Drain the meatballs well and reserve.  When all meatballs are fried, discard the oil.
Cut the sausages in meatball size chunks;
cook them in the skillet in the wine during 5 minutes, or until tender. Discard the sausage fat.

Part II: preparing the lasagna

Preheat the oven at 400°F or 200°C
Grease up with olive oil a large and deep lasagna pan.
Lay down in the pan the first layer of lasagna pasta, so that the bottom and the sides are covered with pasta;
top the first pasta layer with a bit of ricotta, some tomato sauce, some mozzarella, sausage and a few meatballs.
Repeat this until you have 5 layers of pasta.
Cover the lasagna with pasta; yes, the last layer is pasta! As the sides and bottom are covered and now the top, all you see in your pan is pasta...
Cover with the butter and sprinkle Parmesan cheese on top.
Bake in the oven for 30 minutes or until the pasta browns a bit

Once baked, allow the lasagna to cool down for 30 minutes prior to serving.

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