Lasagna al Forno
Region: Italy, Campania
Difficulty: Labor Intensive
Does lasagna need any explanation? There are many different lasagna and, in fact, I wrote a book several years ago devoted exclusively to lasagna from all the regions of Italy, called Lasagne (Little, Brown & Co.). (Lasagne with an "e" is thee Italian plural). This recipe is one of your basic lasagna, nothing fancy, just the rich, deep tastes of a luscious lasagna that you could eat all week.
[photo: Clifford A. Wright]
Yield: Makes 6 servings
Preparation Time: 1:30 hours
5 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 pound ground beef
2 mild Italian sausage links (about 1/2 pound), casing removed and crumbled
1 medium onion, chopped
1/2 green bell pepper, seeded and chopped
3 large garlic cloves, finely chopped
One 28-ounce crushed tomatoes
1/2 cup dry red wine
1 cup water
1 bay leaf
1 tablespoon dried oregano
1/2 pound instant no-boil lasagna
Extra-virgin olive oil for drizzling
1 pound mozzarella cheese, sliced
1/2 pound ricotta cheese
Freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese for sprinkling
1. In a skillet, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil over medium-high heat then cook, stirring and breaking up the ground beef and sausage until browned, about 8 minutes. Remove the meat squeezing out excess fat with a spoon and ladle. Set the meat aside. Discard all but 1 tablespoon of accumulated fat.
2. In a skillet, heat the remaining 1/4 cup olive oil over medium heat, then cook, stirring, the onion, pepper, and garlic until the onion and pepper are soft, about 10 minutes. Add the meat, tomatoes, wine, water, bay leaf, oregano and cook until denser, stirring occasionally, 30 minutes.
3. Assemble the lasagna by lightly oiling the bottom of as many 9 x 9-inch aluminum baking pans as needed (probably 2 or 3). Layer the lasagna in the following order until the ingredients are used up: a sheet of lasagna, sauce, mozzarella, ricotta, sauce, and parmigiano cheese.
4. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.5. Cover the baking pans with a piece of tented aluminum foil and bake until the cheese is melted and the sauce on the sides of the pan are bubbling vigorously, 40 to 45 minutes. Let rest 10 minutes before serving, or refrigerate until later once it has cooled, or freeze once it has cooled for a future baking.