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!
- 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.