This recipe is a meatless lasagna which is commonly found in southern Italy. Using creamy ricotta and other cheeses in place of the meat creates a lighter lasagna that is just as tasty. I always make my own pasta when I am making lasagna, but if you prefer you can replace the homemade pasta sheets with a top quality store bought brand. My husband often says the lasagna is even better when reheated the next day!
Deborah Mele 2011
Yield: Serves 6 - 8
Prep Time: 30 mins
Cook Time: 1 hr 20 mins
A meatless lasagna dish that is still very hearty and delicious.
2 (28)oz. Can Tomatoes (I use Pomi strained or chopped tomatoes)
3 Cloves Garlic Minced
1 Small Onion, Finely Chopped
2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
5 Tablespoons Chopped Fresh Basil
Pinch of Red Pepper Flakes
Salt & Pepper
3 Cups Full Fat Ricotta Cheese
1 1/2 Cups Grated Parmesan or Romano Cheese Divided Into Two Parts
1 Large Egg, Lightly Beaten
1/4 Cup Freshly Chopped Parsley
8 oz. Mozzarella Cheese Cut Into Thin Strips
4 Cups Unbleached Flour
5 Extra Large Eggs
Pinch of Salt
To make the pasta, mound your flour on a large pastry board, or the counter with the salt, and make a well in the center.
Break the eggs into this well, and start to scramble each egg with a fork as it is being added.
Start to incorporate the eggs and flour by slowly bringing more flour in from the inside edges of the well.
Continue adding the flour to the eggs until they are no longer runny.
Using your hands now, bring the outside edges in, forming a large mass on your board.
Use only the amount of flour needed to form a soft ball.
Begin to knead the ball of dough as you would bread, pushing it down with the heel of your hand.
Continue kneading until the dough is smooth and satiny, for about 5 to 7 minutes.
Wrap the prepared dough in plastic wrap, and let it sit for about 30 minutes.
Use a pasta roller or roll by hand to make long sheets of pasta 1/4 thick. (I use my Kitchen Aide table mixer with the pasta attachment and roll my pasta to the third last position or to number 6 on the dial.)
After rolling, cut into 12 inch long strips, precook in boiling water for 30 seconds, and then place in ice water.
Dry and set aside on clean kitchen towels.
To make the sauce, cook the onion in the oil the onion until it is tender.
Add the garlic and stir well, cooking an additional minute.
Finally add the tomatoes, basil and seasonings.
Bring everything to a boil and then reduce heat to a simmer, and cook for about 30 minutes until thickened.
To make the filling, mix together the ricotta, egg, parsley, one cup of the grated cheese, and season with salt and pepper.
To assemble the lasagne, add about 1/2 cup of sauce to the bottom of a large lasagne pan, then add a little water and mix.
Make an overlapping layer of the noodles across the bottom of the pan.
Spread a large spoonful of sauce on top, making sure the noodles are well covered.
Add one more layer of noodles and sauce, and then add a layer of the ricotta mixture and mozzarella slices.
Continue in this manner until you have 5 layers.
On the top, cover the noodles well with the sauce, place another layer of mozzarella, then sprinkle on the parmesan.
Cover with foil, and bake in a preheated 375 degree F. oven for about 30 minutes.
Remove the foil and cook another 10 minutes.
Let rest an additional 10 to 15 minutes before serving so the cheese sets a bit.