• Pasta Grammar

Lasagna Alla Napoletana | Authentic Italian Lasagna Recipe

Updated: Nov 20, 2020

This lasagna variation originates in Naples and perfectly represents a tendency in southern Italian cuisine toward, well, exaggeration (but in the most delicious way possible).



Watch the Pasta Grammar video where we made this recipe here:



For this recipe, you will need:


Ragù

- 2 thin-cut beef steak slices (sometimes sold as minute steaks)

- 1/2 cup (about 50g) bread crumbs

- 1 tbsp (10g) pine nuts

- 1 tbsp (10g) raisins

- 3-4 sprigs fresh parsley

- Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese for grating

- 2 tbsp lard

- 1/2 white onion, diced

- 4 pork ribs

- 6 Italian sausages

- 1 lb (450g) beef chuck roast, cubed

- 1 lb (450g) pork tenderloin, cubed

- Fresh basil

- 1 cup red wine

- 50 oz. (1500g) tomato purée

- 6 cups (1.5 liters) water

- 1 1/2 oz. (about 50g) tomato paste


Meatballs

- 1/2 lb (225g) ground beef

- 1/2 lb (225g) ground pork

- 2 eggs

- 1 1/2 cup (about 150g) bread crumbs

- Grated Parmigianno-Reggiano cheese to taste (about 1/3 cup)

- Grated pecorino cheese to taste (about 1/3 cup)

- 1 clove garlic, diced

- 1 tbsp (4g) fresh parsley, chopped

- Salt

- Fresh black pepper

- Olive oil (or vegetable oil) for frying


Roasted Sausages

- 3 Italian sausages

- 2-3 tbsp olive oil

- 1/2 cup white wine

- 1 clove garlic, crushed

- 2-3 sprigs fresh thyme


The Cheeses/Salame

- 1 cup (250g) ricotta cheese

- Fresh basil

- Salt

- Fresh black pepper

- Parmigiano-Reggiano for grating

- Pecorino cheese for grating

- 2 cups either/or mozzarella, smoked mozzarella, scamorza, provola cheese (cubed)

- 1/2 cup (about 1/2 of a 6-inch stick) Italian salame


Pasta

- 2 lb (900g) dry lasagna sheet pasta (an overestimate, in most cases, but we tend to think it's better to have too much than too little. Feel free to adjust according to the size of your dish)

- Salt


Preparing the Ragù


The ragù alla Napoletana takes a whopping 6-8 hours to cook, so be sure to plan ahead and start it early enough (or the day before).


Begin by preparing the braciola for the ragù: a seasoned roll of beef which forms an integral part of the sauce's flavor. Lay the two thin steaks lengthwise so that their edges overlap slightly and they form a long rectangle.



Sprinkle the bread crumbs, pine nuts, raisins and parsley over the steak surface. Top with a grating of Parmigiano cheese. Fold the length-wise edges in slightly and roll the steaks up, like a carpet, into a tight bundle.



Tie the roll shut with cooking twine so that it will not come undone in the ragù pot.




In a large stock pot, bring the lard up to medium/high temp on the stovetop. Add the diced onion and allow to sweat for about 3 minutes, until tender and slightly transparent. Add the braciola, pork ribs, sausages, chuck roast and pork tenderloin. Cook, stirring frequently, until the meat has fully browned (about 10-15 minutes).



Add about 6 leaves of fresh basil and the red wine. Continue to cook until the wine almost completely evaporates, about 15-20 minutes. Next, add the tomato purèe, tomato paste and water. Lower the heat, partially cover, and allow to simmer. Stir occasionally as it cooks.



After 1.5 hours, salt and pepper to taste. Be aware that the sauce will reduce substantially, so we recommend seasoning mildly for now as the flavor will intensify.


After a further 2-3 hours, remove the meat with tongs. While it won't end up in the lasagna, it can certainly be eaten!



Continue to simmer for 3-3.5 hours, or until it thickens to the point where it no longer simmers but instead releases big, "plopping" bubbles. Taste and season further if necessary.



Preparing the Meatballs


Mix the ground beef, ground pork, eggs, breadcrumbs, Parmigiano, pecorino, garlic and parsley by hand in a mixing bowl. Season with a large pinch of salt and black pepper. Roll into 1-inch balls.



Bring a small saucepan of olive oil up to high temperature on the stovetop. Test the temperature by dropping in a small crumb or morsel of ground meat. When the oil bubbles furiously around the crumb, it's ready.



Working in batches, drop the meatballs into the oil and fry, stirring gently, until they are golden brown on the outside. Remove with a slotted spoon onto a paper towel. When the meatballs have cooled to the touch, slice them in half and set aside for later.




Preparing the Sausages


Preheat an oven to 400 degrees F (200 C).



In an oven-safe skillet add the olive oil, sausages, white wine, garlic and thyme. Roast in the oven, turning occasionally, for 30-40 minutes or until the sausages have browned. Remove and allow to cool completely before chopping into thin slices. Set aside for later.



Preparing the Ricotta Cheese


Mix the ricotta cheese with some torn basil leaves, a generous grating of Parmigiano cheese, and salt and pepper to taste. Set aside for later.




Cooking the Pasta


Bring a large pot of water (we recommend a large stock pot) to boil. Salt liberally. The water should taste like the sea (though please don't taste boiling water). We recommend 2 large handfuls of salt. Don't be afraid of sodium here, most of the salt remains in the water but it's necessary to properly season the pasta.



Boil the pasta sheets for 3 minutes less than the recommended cook time as given on the packaging. Since the pasta will continue to cook in the oven, it doesn't need to be fully cooked at this time. Be sure to stir frequently to keep the pasta from sticking together. Remove from the pot and transfer into a large mixing bowl of cold water. Drain and gently mix with olive oil to prevent the sheets from sticking. Set aside for later.



Assembly!


Preheat an oven to 400 degrees F (200 C).


For our lasagna, we used a 10x15-inch casserole dish, but you can easily adapt this recipe to whatever size/shape you have available.



Begin with a thin layer of ragù in the bottom of the dish. Then, add a layer of pasta but such that the sheets drape over the edges of the dish and can be "closed" later on to make the lasagna a self-contained package of sorts (see picture).



Then, add another layer of ragù, topped with several dollops of ricotta and sprinkled meatballs, sausage slices, salame, mozzarella (or other) cheese. Add a generous grating of Parmigiano and pecorino cheese.



Add a single layer of pasta sheets, then repeat this process until you have 3-4 layers total. Over the last layer of filling, don't add more pasta but instead fold over the first pasta sheets so that the cover the top (add more if there are any gaps).



Finish the lasagna with a final topping of ragù, ricotta, and an extra large grating of Parmigiano and pecorino.



Bake for 50-60 minutes, or until the top has begun to brown and crisp. Remove and allow to cool for 15-20 minutes before serving.


Buon appetito!




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