quad-ticker-0918 Free Shipping on orders over $49* Use code: SHIP4FREEEarn tripe points when you use your WS Visa Card*20% off Baking Essentials* Enter Code: BAKEWARECalphalon Elite Fry Pan Set
Return to Previous Page

Meatless Lasagna (Lasagne di Magro)

In northern Italy, lasagna usually is made with besciamella, a white sauce, and meat ragù. In this southern version, ricotta and mozzarella cheeses are substituted for the besciamella, and a meatless tomato sauce replaces the ragù. The result is lighter and less rich, but no less delicious. You will end up with a generous amount of sauce. Serve the remainder alongside the baked lasagna, or toss it with pasta for another meal.

Ingredients:

For the sauce:

  • 3 Tbs. unsalted butter
  • 1 Tbs. olive oil
  • 1 yellow onion, finely chopped
  • 5 lb. fresh tomatoes, peeled, seeded and
      chopped, or 2 cans (each 28 oz.) plum
      tomatoes, seeded and chopped, with juice
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • 6 to 8 fresh basil leaves, torn into small pieces

  • About 1 1/4 lb. fresh pasta sheets, each cut
      into strips about 12 by 4 inches, or 1 1/4 lb.
      dried lasagna

For the filling:

  • 1 egg
  • 3 cups ricotta cheese
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • 1 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, plus
      more for serving
  • 1/2 lb. fresh mozzarella cheese, thinly sliced

Directions:

To make the sauce, in a large, heavy saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter with the olive oil. Add the onion and sauté until tender, about 5 minutes. Add the tomatoes and salt. Bring to a simmer and cook, stirring occasionally, until thickened, about 45 minutes. Stir in the basil and pepper. Let cool to room temperature. You should have about 7 cups.

Bring a large pot three-fourths full of water to a boil over high heat. Salt generously. For the fresh pasta, add the strips one at a time, stirring gently so they do not stick together. Boil until almost tender, about 1 minute. Drain off about two-thirds of the water, leaving the pasta in the pot. Refill the pot with cold water and set aside. For the dried lasagna, add the strips one at a time, stirring gently so they do not stick together, and cook according to the package instructions until the pasta is still very al dente (tender but firm to the bite). Drain off about two-thirds of the water, leaving the pasta in the pot. Refill the pot with cold water and set aside.

To make the filling, in a bowl, lightly beat the egg until blended. Stir in the ricotta, parsley, salt and pepper.

Preheat an oven to 375°F.

In a 9-by-12-by-2-inch baking dish, spread about 1/4 cup of the sauce over the bottom. Remove 2 of the lasagna noodles from the pot, spread them on a kitchen towel and pat dry. Place the pasta in the pan in a single layer. Spread evenly with about 1 cup of the ricotta mixture and sprinkle with 1/4 cup of the Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese. Scatter about one-fourth of the mozzarella slices on top. Make a second layer using 2 noodles and spread it with sauce. Layer again with the cheeses. Repeat the layers. Make a final layer with the remaining noodles, spread with a thin layer of sauce, and top with the remaining mozzarella and Parmigiano-Reggiano cheeses. (At this point, the dish can be covered and refrigerated for several hours or up to overnight before baking.)

Bake until the sauce is bubbling, the top is browned and the center is heated through, about 45 minutes. (If the lasagna has come straight from the refrigerator, it will need to bake for about 1 1/4 hours.) Remove from the oven and let stand for 10 minutes. Meanwhile, reheat the remaining sauce over low heat. Cut the lasagna into squares and serve. Pass the remaining sauce and Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese at the table. Serves 8.

Adapted from Williams-Sonoma Savoring Series, Savoring Italy, by Michele Scicolone (Time-Life Books, 1999).