This hearty lasagne from Rubirosa in New York City is made with sweet fennel sausage and tiny meatballs.
Yield: serves 8-10
- 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.