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Lasagna alla Napoletana | How to Make Southern-Style Italian Lasagna

Updated: Jan 21

Lasagna alla Bolognese is the “original” (the truth is a bit more complicated) and most famous lasagna in Italy, but that doesn’t mean it’s the only one! In southern Italy, particularly Naples, it’s “Lasagna alla Napoletana” that reigns supreme.

Lasagna alla Napoletana | How to Make Southern-Style Italian Lasagna

With some of the best elements of southern Italian cuisine—from meatballs to ragù—this baked pasta dish is rich and hearty but with a surprisingly delicate taste. It is also, due to widespread emigration from southern Italy, the originator of what most people around the world recognize as lasagna.

Bolognese vs. Napoletana

So, what’s the difference between Lasagna alla Bolognese and Lasagna alla Napoletana? For starters, the pasta.

In Bologna, lasagna is made with fresh egg pasta that is flavored with spinach. Meanwhile, in Naples, cooks make use of their own local specialty: dried semolina pasta. In other words, Neapolitan lasagna uses the dried, pre-made sheets of lasagne that you can find at the store. Neither pasta is “better,” but the latter definitely has convenience on its side and saves a lot of time during prep.

Each lasagna variation also uses a different sauce. Ragù alla Bolognese is made with minced meat which remains in the sauce, while Ragù alla Napoletana is cooked with big chunks of meat for flavor, which are then removed and served separately. Here the convenience factor goes to Bologna, because Neapolitan ragù usually takes a few hours longer to cook. The best thing to do is make the ragù the day before.

Then there are the filling ingredients. Lasagna alla Bolognese keeps things quite simple (albeit delicious) with besciamella sauce, mozzarella, and Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese. Lasagna alla Napoletana packs in a host of southern ingredients: meatballs, sausages, hardboiled eggs, ricotta, mozzarella, and Parmigiano at the least.

Both lasagne are amazing, you can’t go wrong with either!

A Quick Note on Ingredients

There’s a saying amongst Italian cooks: “what you put into the dish, you will find on your plate.” The philosophy is that if you want more of one ingredient, add more. If you want less, add less. When it comes to the filling ingredients (sausage, mozzarella, ricotta, etc.), feel free to take the recommended quantities as a starting place and adjust as you see fit while assembling your lasagna. There is no correct amount!

Saving Lasagna for Later: How and When to Freeze

Once the lasagna is assembled, it can be frozen for longterm storage. Just thaw it and bake as normal. You can also freeze any cooked leftovers and simply reheat in a warm oven later.

Watch the Pasta Grammar Video:


Makes: One lasagna, serves 6 to 8

Cook Time: 3 to 4 hours

For this recipe, you will need:

  • 8 ounces (225 g) ground pork

  • About 1 cup (100g) fresh bread crumbs (not dry, grated fresh bread works well)

  • ½ cup (50 g) grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, plus extra to taste for filling/topping

  • 1 ½ cups (150 g) grated pecorino cheese, or to taste

  • 1 large egg

  • 1 tablespoon (3.5 g) minced parsley

  • Salt

  • Fresh black pepper

  • Extra-virgin olive oil or vegetable oil for frying

  • 2 tablespoons (30 g) extra-virgin olive oil, plus extra for drizzling the pasta

  • 2 large Italian sausages

  • 24 ounces (680 g) ricotta

  • 4 to 5 fresh basil leaves, torn

  • 5 cups (1.2 L) ragù alla Napoletana

  • 2 pounds (900 g) dry lasagne pasta sheets

  • 24 ounces (680 g) chopped mozzarella cheese

  • 4 hardboiled eggs, sliced

In a large bowl, combine the ground pork, bread crumbs, Parmigiano cheese, ½ cup (50 g) pecorino cheese, egg, minced parsley, and a big pinch of salt and pepper. Mix thoroughly by hand. The meat should be soft and moldable but not too sticky. If it is, add some more fresh bread crumbs. Roll the mixture into 1-inch (2.5 cm) balls.

Fill a small pot with about 2 inches (5 cm) of frying oil and heat over medium/high heat. When the oil is hot, carefully drop the meatballs in a few at a time. Fry until browned and remove with a slotted spoon to a paper towel to drain. After frying all the meatballs in batches, let them cool and cut each of them in half. Set the meatballs aside for later.

Heat 2 tablespoons (30 g) of olive oil in a pan over medium heat. Prick the sausages with the tip of a knife in multiple places and add these into the pan. Turning frequently, cook the sausages until they are browned on all sides and cooked through. Let them cool, then cut them into sliced rounds and set aside for later.

In a mixing bowl, combine the ricotta with 1 cup (100 g) of pecorino cheese (or to taste), the basil, about 1 cup (240 ml) ragù, and a big pinch of salt and pepper. Mix thoroughly and set aside for later.

Bring a very large pot of water to a rolling boil and salt it generously. Add the lasagne pasta sheets into the water and boil for 2 to 3 minutes less than the recommended “al dente” cook time. You may need to boil the pasta in batches, depending on how big your pot is. Using tongs, transfer the cooked pasta into a large mixing bowl, drizzle it with plenty of olive oil, and toss it so that each sheet is coated in oil and won’t stick to the rest.

Preheat the oven to 415°F (215°C).

Spread a thin, even layer of ragù in the bottom of a 9x13-inch (23x33 cm) lasagna dish. Drape sheets of pasta over the long edges of the dish, so that the inward ends of the pasta reach the center of the dish bottom. Drape other sheets over the short edges of the dish as well. The result should be that the bottom of the lasagna is completely covered and all the edges of the dish have pasta draped over that can be folded in later (see pictured).

How to Create the Lasagna Pasta Base

Spread a thick layer of ragù over the pasta base. Follow this by evenly spreading on top roughly a third of the halved meatballs, sliced sausages, chopped mozzarella, sliced hardboiled eggs, and ricotta. Finish the layer with a generous grating of Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese.

Top the fillings with a layer of pasta. Cut and trim the pasta sheets into smaller pieces as necessary to fill any gaps and create a complete layer. Next, repeat the step above to add more fillings, followed by one more pasta layer and a final layer of fillings. You should end up with the final pasta base, three layers of filling, and two inner layers of pasta in total.

Fold the overhanging pasta inward to completely cover the top of the lasagna. Spread a thick layer of ragù on top, followed by a generous grating of Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese. Loosely cover the lasagna with aluminum foil and bake for 30 minutes. Remove the fail and bake for a further 20 minutes, or until the top begins to crisp. If you’re having trouble getting the top to cook, you can always turn on the broiler for a few minutes at the end.

Let the lasagna rest for 10 to 15 minutes before serving.

Buon appetito!

This recipe requires an excellent, homemade ragù. Check out our Ragù alla Napoletana recipe here! Want to compare the two major style of Italian lasagne? Here you can instructions for making the incredible Lasagna alla Bolognese.

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12 commentaires

01 févr.

Should I use Fresh mozzarella or low moisture dried mozzarella


27 déc. 2023

What is done with the meat that went into the sauce and is removed? Can you not use 3 of the 6 Italian sausages for the lasagna itself vs. roasted 3 different onesie?


Paul Murray
Paul Murray
25 nov. 2023

The meat in this recipe is Braised, pork tenderloin is a poor cut of pork to braise. The end result would be dry. Pork butt or shoulder is better for braising. I understand it is a Lasagna recipe but why not use butt or shoulder so the pork at the end has a desirable flavor and texture. Is there a specific reason why pork butt or pork shoulder which are better for braising was not used?


Anastasia Artamonow
Anastasia Artamonow
04 avr. 2021

I made this lasagna together with my mom for her birthday. We did the Raghu the day before. It was the most delicious Lasagna ever! A new taste every bite. ❤️ We had a lot of left over Raghu and served it with the meat we cooked in it the day before. The beef was really tender. The best thing about it was, that i spent so much time with my mom. Thank you for the recipe.


Janette Becerra
Janette Becerra
16 janv. 2021

You guys are my new absolute favorite YouTube channel! And your channel’s name is the wittiest, smartest, most perfect name you could have chosen! As a literature and language professor, I fell in love with the name first: that’s what attracted me to your videos. Then as a foodie and passionate cook, your recipes just blew my mind. I’m making the lasagna alla bolognese today, I’ll let you know how it turns out. Viva il buon mangiare e la buona cucina, è davvero un'arte! Saluti da Porto Rico!

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