Italian-American Lasagna

"Lasagna, " from Make It LIke a Man!

This is a Lidia Bastianich recipe. I’ve made more than a handful of her recipes, and this one is, like all of them, delicious and impressive. It’s so loaded with meat, sauce, and cheese that it borders on obscene. I have to be right up front with you about this lasagna, however: it’s a hell of a lot of work. But, the work can be – as far as I’m concerned, should be – spread out among several days. I promise you, the payoff is well worth the work. You’d be proud to serve even the leftovers to guests.

What you need to serve 12 incredibly generously:

2 Tbs olive oil
Salt
2 lbs lasagna noodles
2 large eggs
2 lbs fresh or packaged whole-milk ricotta cheese, strained

8 cups Italian-American Meat Sauce
2½ cups freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
1 lb mozzarella cheese, preferably fresh, sliced thin

Summarized Directions:

This recipe is from “Lidia’s Italian-American Kitchen,” Knopf, New York, 2003. Pg. 156-67. Get the book, because if you think this lasagna sounds delicious, you’re going to flip out over the spaghetti and meatballs recipe. “Italian-American Meat Sauce” comes from that same book.

Add oil and salt to pasta water. Cook noodles to al dente. Meanwhile, blend eggs and ricotta. Then, build your lasagna like this:

  1. (Top Layer) Parmesan
  2. Thin layer of sauce
  3. Fold in overhanging noodles
  4. Parmesan
  5. Sauce
  6. Lengthwise noodles that don’t overhang
  7. Parmesan
  8. Sauce
  9. Mozzarella
  10. Lengthwise noodles,overhanging pan
  11. Eggy ricotta
  12. Crosswise noodles,overhanging pan
  13. Parmesan
  14. Sauce
  15. Lengthwise noodles, overhanging pan
  16. (Bottom Layer) A bit of sauce

Bake at 350ºF, 45 minutes covered, 20 more minutes uncovered. Let stand.
"Italian-American Lasagna," from Make It Like a Man!

Notes:
  • This is “special occasion” food; you really have to go the distance and make your own sauce. Yes, it’s true that eight cups of sauce is just shy of three 24-oz jars of Newman’s Own “Sockarooni,” to which you would have to add 1 lb of ground beef and 1 lb of ground pork, scrambled, in order to approximate Lidia’s sauce. But the only reason I’m telling you that is so that you’ll know exactly what you should not do. Even though with that shortcut, you could assemble the lasagna one day, and bake it the next – a relative breeze – I would never suggest it … never. And I would also suggest not telling anyone if you do! 😉
  • Lidia’s Italian-American Meat Sauce produces more than you need, but that turns out to be a good thing. Serve the leftover sauce alongside the lasagna, so that people can pour it onto their servings like gravy.
  • Lidia asks you to bake this lasagna in a 15 x 10-inch baking dish. Although they do exist, you probably have a 13 x 9-inch cake pan; it will work perfectly.
  • Don’t buy presliced mozzarella.  It’s sliced too thick.
  • Taste every layer before you add the next element, to make sure it’s perfectly seasoned. There’s no way to correct the seasoning after the fact.

I give this recipe a huge five stars. I can’t imagine better. It reheats perfectly in the microwave (4-5 minutes per massive piece) and freezes beautifully. 5 Stars (5 / 5)

"Italian-American Lasagna," from Make It Like a Man!

Italian-American Lasagna

Credit for images on this page: Make It Like a Man!. This content was not solicited nor written in exchange for anything – although we couldn’t be  more pleased that Lidia retweeted it!

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22 thoughts on “Italian-American Lasagna

  1. I need to set aside a couple of days to make this. There’s nothing better than a full-blown lasagna. GREG

  2. The amount of parmesan is what interests me with this one, but I guess it needs it as mozzarella doesn’t have a great deal of flavour. And I’d like to see the recipe for that meat sauce. I’m not one for using the pre-made jar stuff and I’ve gotta say, I don’t think I could let this sit in the fridge overnight before I could cook and eat it. I want it now!
    John @ heneedsfood recently posted…Indian spiced pork loin with foraged greens

    • The meat sauce is nice. Maybe I’ll review it sometime. I agree with you about the cheese: the mozzarella has more of an umami, and the parm gives you more of a flavor. Even so, it IS a lot of cheese. This is a very substantial lasagna.

  3. Holy lasagna, Batman! You seriously made this one look amazing, Jeff. I always shy away from making lasagna because it does indeed take a long time. But you’re right in that it produces leftovers. And leftover lasagna might even be better than the real thing. Kinda like leftover pizza. Ah, but I digress. This looks like my kind of lasagna, and I hope you saved me a slice!
    David @ Spiced recently posted…Grilled Guacamole

    • It is a labor of love, especially if you begin by making a scratch sauce. That’s why I think the only reasonable thing to do is to make it in various stages, over the course of a couple days. However, like you suggest, it’s fantastic leftover! And it freezes beautifully! So while you’re at it, make two at once and freeze a bunch!

  4. Lasagna IS work, isn’t it? But so worth it. A really good lasagna was one of my first “company” dishes. Haven’t made it in ages, though (all that work!). Yours looks terrific — thanks!
    John/Kitchen Riffs recently posted…The Blue Moon Cocktail

    • I agree! It’s great for company, and just about everyone loves it. It was also one of the first “company dishes” I ever made. GMTA!

  5. You had me at 2½ cups freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese! Now that’s a lot of Parm. Love all the layers, it’s a lasagne monster friend. A definite labor of love! I would make my own sauce or like to make hers. Any chance of posting her sauce recipe Jeff? Have a great weekend.

    • Yeah, this lasagna is loaded! I’ll definitely be reviewing some more of her recipes, so I’ll keep the meat sauce high on the list.

  6. Getting ready to make the lasagna for the second time. The first time I made it, I served to a stuffy, fastidious, and obnoxiously picky eater who declared it to be the best lasagna he’d ever eaten, including his mother’s.

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