This hearty lasagne from Rubirosa in New York City is made with sweet fennel sausage and tiny meatballs. This recipe first appeared in our December 2011 issue along with the special feature Italian America.
- 1⁄2 cup plus 2 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 1⁄2 lb. sweet Italian sausage, casings removed
- 2 ribs celery, minced
- 1 large yellow onion, minced
- 1 medium carrot, minced
- 1 cup red wine
- 2 (28-oz.) cans whole peeled tomatoes in juice, crushed
- 2 bay leaves
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- 5 oz. each ground beef, veal, and pork
- 1⁄3 cup seasoned Italian bread crumbs
- 5 tbsp. finely chopped parsley
- 3 tbsp. finely grated pecorino
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 slices country white bread, soaked in 1/2 cup water, drained, squeezed dry
- 2 eggs, lightly beaten
- 1⁄2 small yellow onion, minced
- 2 cups whole-milk ricotta
- 2 cups shredded mozzarella
- 1 1⁄2 cups finely grated parmesan
- 8 oz. lasagna noodles, cooked
To make the sauce: heat 2 tbsp. oil in a 6-qt. saucepan over medium-high heat. Add sausage; cook, stirring to break up large pieces, until browned, about 6 minutes; drain off fat. Add celery, large onion, and carrot; cook until soft, about 5 minutes. Add wine; cook until reduced by half, about 7 minutes. Add tomatoes and bay leaves, reduce heat to medium; cook until reduced and thick, about 1 hour. Season with salt and pepper; set aside.
To make the meatballs: mix beef, veal, pork, breadcrumbs, 2 tbsp. parsley, pecorino, garlic, white bread, eggs, onion, and salt and pepper in a bowl; form into about 60, 1⁄2″ meatballs. Heat remaining oil in a 12″ skillet over medium-high heat; working in batches, add meatballs, and cook until browned all over, about 8 minutes. Set aside.
To make the lasagne: Heat oven to 350°. Mix ricotta, mozzarella, and parmesan in a bowl; set aside. Spread 1⁄4 of the sauce in bottom of a 9″ × 13″ baking dish; top with 1⁄3 of the noodles. Top with 1⁄3 remaining sauce, followed by 1⁄3 of the cheeses; spread meatballs evenly over cheeses. Top with half remaining noodles; add half remaining sauce and half remaining cheese. Add remaining noodles, sauce, and then cheeses; bake until bubbly and browned on top, about 50 minutes. Sprinkle with remaining parsley.