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"A man seldom thinks with more earnestness of anything than he does of his dinner."

Samuel Johnson (1709-84), English author, lexicographer.

Italian-American lasagna is slightly different from the way it is prepared in Italy. That being said, the lasagna we all grew up eating is still the comfort food, over-the-top indulgence of sauce, meat, pasta and cheese. This recipe is for a large 14x10x2 lasagna pan. A 13x9 pan would require much less sauce, cheese and noodles. Note that in America we spell it Lasagna; in the UK and Italy it almost always is spelled Lasagne.

Preparation Time: 4 hours    Serving Size: 12

  • (2) 24-ounce jars Classico© Tomato-Basil pasta sauce
  • (1) 24-ounce jar Classico© Spicy Red Pepper pasta sauce
  • 3/4 cup cabernet sauvignon (or other dry red wine)
  • 1 pound hot Italian sausage
  • 15 Barilla© Lasgane noodles
  • 30 - 32 ounces ricotta cheese
  • 3 extra large eggs, beaten
  • 1 cup freshly grated Parmesano-Reggiano cheese
  • 1 cup freshly grated Pecorino-Romano cheese
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated sharp provolone cheese
  • 5 cups pre-shredded whole-milk mozzarella cheese
Click on picture for more images.

Remove sausage from casing, if necessary, and break up into a large non-stick sauté pan over medium heat. Continue to break up the meat with a wooden spoon. Meanwhile, pour the three jars of sauce into a large stock pot. Use 1/4 cup of wine to rinse out each of the three jars and add to the sauce. Bring to a simmer over medium heat. Once browned, use a slotted spoon to drain the meat and add to the sauce. Lower heat and allow to cook uncovered about 45 minutes, stirring frequently.

Prepare the noodles in batches in a large flat pan instead of a tall stock pot. In another large sauté pan, fill 2/3 full with water and bring to a very light boil. Add 2 tablespoons salt and stir. Next add 5 lasgane noodles and gently nudge to keep from sticking to each other and the bottom of the pan. Allow to cook until just starting to get tender, about 15 minutes. Timing is not exact using this method. Test by gently lifting the noodle out of the water with tongs and pinching the corner with your thumb and index finger. Once just starting to get tender, use tongs to drain over the pot and lay the noodles out on parchment paper lining the counter. Continue with the other two batches. Be sure to add water and a little more salt between batches as necessary to keep the water level at 2/3 full. Do not over cook the noodles.

By now the sauce should have thickened just slightly and all noodles are cooked. Remove sauce from the heat, allow to cool 15 minutes, then carefully pour out into a bowl or bowls large enough to hold it. Allow it cool considerably at least 30 minutes, stirring often, before assembling the lasagna. Heat oven to 375°.

In a medium bowl, mix the ricotta cheese with the three eggs. Add kosher salt to taste. Lightly spray the bottom and sides of the lasagna pan with cooking spray. Cover the bottom of the pan with about 3/4 cup of sauce. Place four noodles long way in the pan, slightly over lapping and one noodle crosswise to completely cover the sauce. Spread half of the ricotta/egg mixture over the noodles. Now evenly distribute half of the Parmesano-Reggiano, Pecorino-Romano and sharp provolone over the ricotta. Sprinkle with a third of the mozzarella. Now pour half of the sauce over the cheeses. Start another layer of noodles in the same way as the first. Spread the remaining ricotta over the noodles and distribute the rest of the Pecorino-Romano and sharp provolone over the ricotta. Sprinkle with half of the remaining Parmesano-Reggiano and mozzarella. Pour three-fourths of the remaining sauce over the cheese. Place the remaining noodles over the sauce in the same way as the first two layers. Pour the remaining sauce over the noodles. Sprinkle evenly with the remaining mozzarella and Parmesano-Reggiano cheese. Spray aluminum foil with cooking spray and completely cover the lasagna. Place in the pre-heated oven for at least 45 minutes until heated through and just starting to bubble in the center. Remove foil and continue to bake until the top layer of cheese has melted and starting to brown, about 15 - 30 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow to cool at least 15 minutes before serving.