Crispy, Cheesy, and Meaty Lasagne

A well-structured casserole dish that’s filled with baked lasagne is a recipe that is thoroughly rewarding, and this particular one from Food 52  is as well because you are able to cook with slight supervision, feed a table full of people with a hefty portion size, and even reheat it later in the week with it being as delicious as ever.


1 pound of ground beef (at least 90% fat)

2-3 tablespoons of extra-virgin olive oil

3 ounces of pancetta or freshly-sliced bacon, cut into ⅛ in. pieces

1 large stalk of celery, cut into ⅛ in. pieces

1 medium-sized yellow onion, cut into ⅛ in. pieces

1 large carrot, cut into ⅛ in. pieces

8 cloves of garlic, grated finely

2 bay leaves, dried

1 ½ teaspoons of dried oregano

½ teaspoons of red pepper flakes

⅛ teaspoons of freshly ground nutmeg

Kosher salt, to taste

Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

¼ cup of tomato paste (double-concentrated)

1 cup of dry white wine

2 28-ounce cans of whole peeled tomatoes

3 large sprigs of basil leaves

1 large rind of parmesan cheese

1 pound of dried lasagna noodles

2 cups of whole-milk ricotta cheese

1 ¼ cups of grated parmesan cheese

8 ounces of whole-milk mozzarella cheese


  1. Begin by placing your ground beef into a large bowl and then shred it with forks, breaking up any clumps without compacting it. Set this aside for later.
  2. Next, heat your vegetable oil in a large heavy pot or Dutch oven over medium-high and cook the pancetta while stirring occasionally. Cook this until the fat has rendered and is golden brown on all sides; this should take about 5-7 minutes. Afterward, use a slotted spoon to transfer the pancetta to a large bowl while also leaving the fat in the pot.
  3. In the same pot, spread the beef out into an even layer, and cook it for about 3 minutes until it’s lightly browned. Then, toss it and continue to cook it, break up any clumps, and scrape any remaining brown bits and pieces from the pot. Continue this until the meat is lightly browned on both sides (about 5-6 minutes), and then transfer the meat into the pancetta bowl while you leave the fat in the pot.
  4. Next, reduce your heat to medium and cook your carrot, onion, celery, half of the garlic, bay leaves, oregano, red pepper flakes, and nutmeg along with 2 teaspoons salt and ¼  teaspoon of pepper, and stir the pot occasionally, cooking until it’s all tender but not fully browned (6-8 minutes). Afterward, add the tomato pasteand continue to cook it while stirring constantly until it’s fragrant and rustic red in coloration (approximately 2 minutes).
  5. Then, add the dry wine, stirring it to combine, and bring it all to a boil until it’s reduced, very thick and no smell of alcohol remains (about 6-8 minutes). Add your tomatoes and bring it back to a boil, reduce to low, and add in the basil and parmesan rind. Simmer while stirring occasionally until most has evaporated away and the mixture resembles a sloppy joe-like mixture. This can take about 2½ hours. While it’s cooking, there shouldn’t be any rapid bubbles; instead, the ragù should release the occasional small bubbles. Try to cook this on a small burner, if available, and if the ragù reduced too quickly, you can always add ½ cup of stock and continue cooking. Be sure to repeat this process if necessary.
  6. After your ragù has finished cooking, discard the bay leaf, basil, and parmesan rind from the pot, and use the back of a spoon to break up any remaining clumps of meat, making an even-textured sauce. Season it all with salt, and set it aside until it’s ready to assemble.
  7. Arrange a rack in the center of your oven, preheating it to 350°F. Cook your lasagne in a large pot of boiling salted water, stir them occasionally, and separate them so that they don’t stick to one another. Transfer the noodles to a large bowl of cold water, and set aside. Next, whisk together your ricotta, parmesan, the remaining garlic, and 2 teaspoons of salt in a medium-sized bowl until it’s thoroughly combined. Set this aside.
  8. Take a 9×13-inch glass or ceramic baking dish and lightly oil it. Then, spread about 1 cup of ragù on the bottom of the dish evenly, lay a single layer of lasagne atop the ragù, (5 short noodles or 3 long ones), spread 1 ⅓ cups of ragù over noodles, then add a dollop of the ⅓ cup ricotta mixture over the ragù, and spread it slightly with a small offset spatula. Sprinkle the top with about ½ cup of mozzarella.
  9. Repeat this ordered process with the remaining ragù, lasagne, ricotta mixture, and mozzarella, and create 4 layers of pasta (or 5, depending on the depth of your pan. It should end and come just above the top of the dish, but as it cooks it will sink slightly with the top layer of pasta getting super crunchy when baked. Top it off with the remaining ¼ cup of parmesan.
  10. Cover the dish with a lightly-oiled piece of aluminum foil and set it atop on a rimmed baking sheet (to catch any falling drips). Bake the lasagna until it’s bubbling gently around the edges (about 1 hour).
  11. Remove it from the oven and increase your oven’s temperature to 425°F, uncover the lasagne, and continue to bake until the top is browned and crisp around the edges (15-20 minutes).
  12. Let it sit for 10 minutes before slicing into the dish, serve, and enjoy!

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Lasagna Bolognese Recipe

One of the best Italian dishes to perfect and keep in your back pocket is a hearty bolognese sauce, and if you’re even in need of a more-filling dish that incorporates that Italian classic, then look no further than Food52’s delicious recipefor an expertly-crafted lasagna bolognese dish.

Ingredients for the lasagna bolognese sauce

5 fresh basil leaves

⅔ cup of extra virgin Italian olive oil

3 cloves of garlic (2 peeled and smashed; 1 finely-chopped)

2 teaspoons of crushed red pepper (optional)

8 cups of crushed tomatoes

2 cups of water

2 tablespoons of tomato paste

1 teaspoon of kosher salt

1 teaspoon of freshly ground black pepper

1 tablespoon chopped basil

1 small onion (finely-chopped)

¼ pound of pancetta (finely-chopped)

1 pound organic ground beef (93% lean)

½ cup of nice red wine

1 bay leaf

½ cup of mascarpone cheese

Ingredients for lasagna bolognese

4 cups of bolognese sauce

¼ cup of butter

¼ cup of all-purpose flour

3 cups organic dairy milk (warmed)

9 sheets of lasagna (typically one package)

2 cups grated Parmigiano cheese (half grated)

Fresh mozzarella (sliced)


  1. When beginning the bolognese (red) sauce, combine your olive oil, basil leaves, and garlic in a small saucepan. If you prefer a spicy sauce, this is when you can add the crushed red pepper flakes. Let the saucepan simmer on very low heat for 10 to 15 minutes. This process is known as steeping, and it allows the olive oil to become quite fragrant. Be careful that the garlic inside the pot is toasted brown and not black; once it is, remove it from the heat and strain the aromatics, saving your olive oil, setting it aside.
  2. Either in a Dutch Oven or large pot, pour in your tomato sauce, water, tomato paste, salt, and pepper. Afterward, pour in your remaining olive oil into the sauce and mix it together to combine. Bring it to a boil and immediately reduce it to a simmer. Partially cover the pot, allowing the sauce to simmer for at least 45 minutes and at maximum 2 hours. As accomplished chefs can attest, the longer it cooks, the better the final product tastes.
  3. Though this recipe yields approximately 8 cups, you’ll only need 4 to make the actual bolognese. To make it, heat the olive oil in a large sauté pan and brown your pancetta until it’s crisp. Add in your onion and garlic, maintain a low heat, and cook until the onions and garlic are translucent. During this step, keep a watchful eye and be sure not to brown them.
  4. Now, increase your heat to medium-high and add the ground beef. Break the pieces apart with the sides of awooden cooking spoon, incorporating the onions and garlic as you do so. Allow the meat to brown until it’s almost cooked through and all the excess liquid has evaporated.
  5. Using your small amount of red wine, deglaze the pan and let the pan cook until the m is aromatic and the wine is reduced by half. Afterward, add 4 cups of red sauce and your bay leaf to the pan, reduce the heat to a simmer, and cover it. Simmer this for 1 ½ hours until the sauce has become very thick. After 90 minutes, remove the sauce from the heat, add mascarpone cheese, and mix it all together to melt it completely and create a slightly pink hue.
  6. When making your lasagna, preheat the oven to 350°F as you make your “besciamella sauce.” In a large pot, melt your butter and then add flour, whisking until a light brown roux forms. Slowly add your warmed milk afterward and whisk the mixture constantly until you create a thick sauce that is able to coat the back of a spoon. Add 1 cup freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese to the sauce, and then gently combine it with the bolognese sauce.
  7. In a large lasagna pan (suggested size is 9 x 13-inch), add a single layer of your sauce, followed by 3 lasagna sheets. Cover the layers with more meat sauce, and continue this process until all sheets are used. The top layer should be a very thick layer of sauce. Grate additional Parmigiano on top, cover with foil, and bake it in the oven for 30 minutes.
  8. Afterward, you have the option to add some fresh mozzarella and place it under the broiler for an additional five minutes or simply sprinkle some more Parmigiano on top before serving.

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Six Pasta Recipes You Must Know

The tried and true champion of dinnertime is, predictably, the last-minute pasta dish, and if you can equip your mental cookbook arsenal with these traditional Italian pasta recipes from Martha Stewart, you’ll be the celebrated champion of the delicious, authentic, and classic pasta dish that wins over the entire dining room.

Now, you may be particularly familiar with how to cook up a plate of bolognese from scratch or you’re the type of shopper to pick up some seasoning, noodles, and a couple jars of sauce for a last-minute concoction. Either way, the following classic recipes should be known by every chef as they introduce variety and breadth to your cooking catalogue.

Pasta Carbonara

Let’s start small with “Old Reliable,” or Carbonara, a quick dinnertime staple that is made from 6 everyday ingredients.  Honestly, if you know how to boil water, you’re not too far away from the easily-accessible pasta recipe for carbonara, as you need only crisp some pancetta in a skillet and whisk together eggs and creme on the side while the pasta cooks in your expertly-boiled water. Once al dente, simply combine it all together, and add bacon or other pork product, such as guanciale for a truly italiana plate.

Cacio e Pepe

Keeping in line with the theme of easy preparation, a simple plate of pasta doesn’t necessarily have to be a Bolognese sauce or lasagna, because it honestly doesn’t get much simpler or back-to-basic than Cacio e Pepe. This pasta recipe hits your tongue in a delightful way, as it’s made with Grana Padano cheese, black pepper, olive oil, and just a touch of lemon. It’s the fantastically simple, completely irresistible, and quintessentially Roman dish that you’ve been craving to prepare, cook, and enjoy.


Hailing from the region of Puglia (or Apulia), Italy is this revolutionary cooking method of placing dried pasta in a skillet along with the other ingredients to gradually cook and infuse with its accompanying flavors. This ensures that your noodles get the most flavor and you don’t have to dirty half the dishes in your kitchen just to get an italian meal on the table. Top it all off with fresh basil and grated parmesan for an easy and clean-cooking supper.

Classic Lasagna

It’s truly a must-know recipe that has a variety of takes from different regions across Italy, Europe, and the world at large. This particular recipe showcases a hearty meat sauce made with ground beef and pork sausage, and that sauce is sandwiched between layers of noodles and a rich cheese filling. Additionally, if you’re looking for a little added variety, feel free to substitute the normal protein-laden faire with fresh greens and vegetables for a dish that is less filling and more fulfilling .

Penne alla Norma

Speaking of vegetables, try out this hearty vegetarian penne recipe that takes advantage of the natural flavors and textures of eggplant, tomato, and ricotta. This dish comes from the heart of Sicily, and it’s rumored to have been inspired by Sicilian composer, Vincenzo Bellini’s opera, “Norma.” This aesthetically-appealing dish pairs well with fresh basil sprinkled atop your dollop of ricotta cheese for a creamy consistency found with every stir.

Spaghetti with Sicilian Pesto

Jazz up your tired old spaghetti with pesto sauce, and this isn’t the usual Genoese pesto you may be all-too familiar with. This dish features a Sicilian take on pesto that uses toasted red pepper, fresh tomatoes, anchovies, capers, and golden raisins for a combination that is simply enlightened by its stacking of sweet, acidic, and savory flavors. The pignoli found in basil pesto are instead replaced with toasted almonds, though the Parmigiano is a constant across variants, making for a wonderfully flavorful dish.

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