• A good size pan of your of your Sunday gravy with about 1 lb. each of meatballs and Italian sausage in it.
  • If you don't use your own, use 2 Qts. of your favorite prepackaged sauce. I'm not big on pre-packaged, but I found that Francisco Rinaldi is as good as it gets. In a large, heavy bottom pan, cook 1 lb. of sausage meat and 1 lb. of ground beef in a little olive oil, S&P and garlic to taste. When done, add your sauce, some parsley, basil, garlic and again S&P to taste then simmer for about a 1/2 hour.
  • 1-2 pkgs. lasagna noodles, cooked, rinsed and drained or the new stuff
  • 1/2 cup of good olive oil
  • 4-6 hard boiled egg, peeled and sliced about 1/4 inch
  • handful of chopped fresh flat leaf parsley and a handful of chopped fresh basil
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 2-3 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 1 cup freshly grated Pecorino Romano or Regianno Parmesan cheese (or mixed)
  • 2-4 cloves of fresh chopped garlic
  • 1 Qt. ricotta cheese in a bowl. S&P to taste, some chopped garlic, a beaten egg if you want and mix
  • 2 cups (8 oz.) shredded Mozzarella cheese
  • crushed red pepper flakes (optional at serving)


In a 13x9x2 inch baking dish, a lasagna pan or anything close, add a little oil and spread it around with your finger tips just to coat the bottom. Scope some gravy from the top of the pan so you don't get any meat and ladle it in the lasagna pan to cover the bottom. Take a look at your noodles and save the best ones for the top layer and use the broken ones on the bottom. Add a layer of noodles, some of the meat and gravy, shredded cheese and grated cheese. Sprinkle with parsley, basil and sliced eggs on the middle layer only and keep adding layers just like the first until you run out of pasta leaving the top layer of pasta with nothing on it. On this top layer add some gravy and grated cheese cover and bake. Follow box directions or bake at 400 degrees for 30-45 minutes or until inside is hot. Sprinkle with some parsley, add additional mozzarella and bake uncovered for about 10 minutes or so until cheese is melted. Let stand 15 minutes before serving. This freezes very well so don't be afraid that your making too much.

VARIATION: Grande Lasagna di Carnevale -- The Great Carnival Lasagna: This is a Neapolitan specialty usually eaten just before the start of Lent. The only difference between this one and the above is in this one the you add thick diced cold cuts like ; prosciutto and salami.

I don't think there is anyone in the free world that does not know what lasagna is. There are all kinds of lasagna especially in Italy. And surprisingly, many do not include any meat or ricotta cheese as here in the USA. This is an Italian lasagna that you would find on the Sunday dinner table made with an Italian Sunday Gravy. Now for those of you that question the word "GRAVY", in stead of sauce, It is an Italian thing mostly used in the Northeast. Italian Gravy is an Italian tomato sauce made with meatballs, sausage and a piece of pork. At times my Mother would add braciole or even a chicken leg. In Italy a red sauce with the meat "in it" is a Bolognese meat sauce, a sauce with meat flavor is a Ragu and with no meat it is a Marinara sauce. Now lets talk about the lasagna noodles. You can make it, buy it fresh (al fresco) or buy dry pasta, which is the easiest. If you make it or buy fresh, do not over cook it; it will turn to mush. It only takes a few minutes so when it starts floating, GET IT OUT. And with dry pasta, get out VERY al dente. It is not good to rinse pasta but this time I forgive you. Rinse with cold water to retard the cooking process, strain and set aside. The last time I made lasagna, I used a relatively new pasta from Barilla that needs no precooking; you put it dry. I was a little hesitant about this product when I first saw it, but it was great. It was easy to work with and came out cooked perfectly al dente by just following the instructions on the box. I know there is nothing, like fresh pasta, however, it's the next best thing. NOW GET TO WORK!

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Submitted 11/14/05.