Saint Rocco's Sicilian Lasagna

Chef Jay Valley from the new Saint Rocco's New York Italian makes lasagna the way his family used to.


Ingredients

1 large package of your favorite lasagna noodles (use traditional dry noodles rather than the no-bake variety)
Bolognese sauce (recipe below)
12 oz. Ricotta Impastata
1 lb. Italian sausage (8, ½ oz. meatballs per serving)
1 ½ cups shredded mozzarella cheese
1 cup (8 oz.) fresh diced buffalo mozzarella
½ cup fresh basil
¼ cup freshly grated Pecorino Romano cheese
¼ cup chopped flat-leaf Italian Parsley
Salt and Pepper to taste


Instructions

Prepare Bolognese sauce according to recipe below; set aside. (If you need a shortcut, grab a jar of your favorite tomato sauce - we love Romano's Family Sauce from Eatzi's - and simmer with 1 lb. browned ground beef or a blend of ground beef, veal and/or pork. Stir in ½ cup good, dry red wine and 1/3 cup whole milk.)
In bowl, stir Ricotta Impastata with basil, Pecorino Romano cheese and ¼ teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper; set aside.

Divide and roll sausage into marble-sized balls (about ½ oz. each). Brown sausage balls in a large skillet over medium-high heat (about 5-8 minutes). Drain excess fat and set aside.

Heat large, covered saucepot of water to boiling. Add lasagna noodles, and cook as label directs, increasing cooking time by 2 to 3 minutes or until al dente. Drain noodles; return to saucepot. Add Bolognese sauce, meatballs and diced buffalo mozzarella. Toss well. Add salt to taste.

Now, it's time to plate. We like to use individual, oven-safe pasta bowls. Place a large dollop of the Ricotta Impastata at the bottom of each bowl. Then spoon the "tossed" lasagna mixture on top, making sure to cover the Ricotta with the lasagna ribbons. Sprinkle shredded mozzarella on top and place bowls under the broiler for 1-2 minutes until cheese is golden brown and bubbly. Garnish with fresh parsley and serve.


Bolognese Sauce

¼ cup EVOO
1 medium onion, coarsely chopped
2 garlic cloves, peeled and coarsely chopped
1 celery stalk, coarsely chopped
1 carrot, coarsely chopped
½ lb. ground beef
½ lb. ground veal
¼ lb. ground pork
1 (28-ounce) can crushed San Marzano tomatoes
¼ cup flat-leaf Italian parsley, chopped
8 fresh basil leaves, chopped
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
¼ cup freshly grated Pecorino Romano

In a large skillet heat the olive oil. When almost smoking, add the onion and garlic and saute over medium heat until the onions become very soft, about 8 minutes. Add the celery and carrot, and saute for 5 minutes. Raise heat to high and add the ground beef. Saute, stirring frequently and breaking up any large lumps and cook until meat is no longer pink, about 10 minutes. Add the tomatoes, parsley and basil and cook over medium low heat until the sauce thickens. Season with salt and pepper. This will take approximately 1/2 hour. Finish bolognese with Pecorino Romano.
 

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