There are so many great ways to make Lasagna and I love them all but this recipe in particular obviously holds a special place in my heart, and stomach and is beloved by the whole family. In fact, if anyone else but my mom makes the Christmas Lasagna, you will hear a few low grumbles and disappointed ‘awwww’s because for some, it’s the only time they get to have it.
The non-negotiable elements that make this lasagna so delicious and special are these key factors and ingredients : the sauciness, the meatiness, the Pecorino Romano, Italian sausage, minced veal, the gooey mozzarella. And although, it looks like it’ll be heavy, it’s not. Maybe because we use mostly veal rather than beef making it lighter tasting.
I hope you try this recipe & love it!
Lasagna – My Mom’s Most Coveted Recipe
- 9X13 casserole dish
- Casserole dish
- Frying pan
- 500 g Box of Lasagna sheets the ones you have to boil (You'll need about 15 sheets to make 5 layers)
- 1/2 cup to 3/4 cup grated Pecorino Romano You can mix it with Parmesan if desired
- 400 g Mozzarella You can definitely add more if desired.
- 1 Medium onion, diced finely Mom chops it in the food processor
- 4 Cloves of garlic, minced also chopped in the food processor
- 1 28 oz / 794 g Canned peeled tomatoes crushed by hand and passed through a siv if you want to remove seeds.
- 1 24 oz / 680g Jar tomato puree We like Mutti
- 1 tbsp Mutti double concentrated Tomato Paste (Optional)
- 300 g Minced pork approx
- 300 g Minced beef approx
- 800 g Minced veal approx
- 2 Italian sausages Fennel, or spicy
- 1 tbsp dried oregano
- 1 tbsp dried basil
- Kosher salt to taste
- Hot red pepper flakes to taste
- Olive oil QB As much as needed 😉
- Heat a large (preferably non-stick) frying pan on medium and cook your pork and beef breaking it up into small pieces with a wooden spoon. No oil will be necessary & Do not add salt at this stage. Remove cooked meat to a bowl and set aside. Fry minced veal in the same pan (My mom cooks them separately because she doesn't want to overcrowd the pan) Remove cooked veal to the bowl with the pork and beef. Set aside.
- Meanwhile heat a couple of tablespoons of olive oil on medium heat in a large pot or Dutch oven. Sauté your onion and garlic until soft and translucent. Do not brown.You can add tomato paste at this stage if desired and combine with onion and garlic.Add the cooked minced meat to the pot and combine with the onion and garlic.Add about 2 tsp salt
- Add canned tomato and about a cup of water. (my mom adds the water to the can to rinse it and then adds it to the sauce, same with the puree in the next step)Stir to combine
- Add the tomato puree + 1/2 cup water.Stir to combine
- Add about 2 tsp salt, hot pepper flakes, dried oregano & basil
- Bring sauce to a boil, then lower to a gentle simmer. Cover pot the pot partially to let a little steam out. Simmer for about 1 hour and 15 minutes then check the consistency. If it's very watery, remove the lid and allow to simmer gently for the next 15-30 minutes or so. Keep checking.When the sauce starts to gain some body (not watery) and has reduced a little, taste for salt. Add more if needed. If the sauce has thickened too much add a little water. My mom cooks her sauce for a minimum of 1h30 to a maximum of 2hrs. The sauce should have thickened but still remain saucy (Refer to video for visual queues)
- Time to assemble the lasagna!Boil about 15-18 lasagna sheets in generously salted water (You need 15 but cook a few more in case they break). My mom adds a little oil to the boiling water so that the pasta sheets don't stick together but this is the only instance you would add oil to your pasta water.Do not overcook as the pasta will cook again in the oven.Once the lasagna sheets are ready, drain them. Then keep them submerged in water to prevent them from sticking together. Again, rinsing or submerging cooked pasta in water is usually a no-no but in this recipe it's actually helpful.Assembly.Add a couple of ladles of sauce to your casserole dish. Place 3 lasagna sheets side by side. Ladle some sauce over the pasta. (about 2 ladlefulls but you be the judge)Add a couple of tablespoons of grated Pecorino Romano (and parm if using) and sprinkle on some mozzarella. (see video)Repeat with the remaining layers.On your top layer, ladle your sauce onto the sheets and sprinkle your grated cheese and mozzarella on top. (I tend to put more mozzarella on the top layer than on the inside) Place your sausages on the lasagna and cover them with a little sauce.Cover your lasagna first with a piece of parchment paper and then cover with foil.Bake for 40-minutes but check periodically. The cheese should be completely melted and the sauce should be bubbling. Wait at least 15 minutes before cutting into it for the sauce to settle and for the cheese to be less fluid. If you don't wait, it'll be messy 😉Enjoy with a sprinkle of pecorino/parm! My mom and I hope you enjoy this cherished family recipe xo