Lasagna di Carnevale

Lasagna di Carnevale

This lasagne from Naples is made during carnival. It is a rich dish comprised of layered meatballs, Neapolitan meat sauce (prepared for the quintessential Sunday family meal), sausages, ricotta, Parmigiano-Reggiano, mozzarella, hard-boiled eggs (optional) and pasta sheets; the perfect dish for the aptly named Martedi Grasso (fat Tuesday). This dish embodies the sentiment of Carnival when the Winter ends and the Spring (and the feasting to invoke good luck) begins. This is all in anticipation of 40 days of fasting for Lent.

For the Meat Sauce

  •     350 g (12,4 oz) of pork ribs
  •     250 g (8,8 oz) of sausage
  •     350 g (12,4 oz) of pork neck
  •     100 ml of red wine
  •     1 medium white onion
  •     1,5 liter of tomato passata
  •     4 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
  •     fine salt to taste

For Meatballs

  •     400 g (about 0,90 / 1 lb) of the meat cooked in the sauce, well drained
  •     2 tablespoons of chopped parsley
  •     2 whole medium eggs
  •     100 g (3,5 oz) grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese
  •     100 g (3,5 oz) bread crumbs made with our recipe + more for breading the meatballs
  •     1 liter of oil for frying

For the Filling

  •     500 g (1,1 lb) of ricotta cheese
  •     200 g ( 7 oz ) of grated Parmigiano Reggiano
  •     400 g (14 oz) of hard mozzarella cheese
  •     4 whole medium eggs

For Lasagna Noodles

  •     About 10 lasagna: you can make fresh homemade pasta/lasagna noodles
  •     Or you can buy authentic Italian flat lasagna, oven ready (no cooking or boiling necessary), made with durum wheat



Make the Pork Meat Sauce

  1. To make Neapolitan Lasagna start with the preparation of the pork meat sauce. This preparation requires a lot of time. Fortunately, you can prepare it the day before. So Take the pork neck and the ribs and cut them into small pieces. Leave some meat on the bone, it will make the sauce tastier. Then remove the sausage skin. Put the meats and the sausage aside for the moment.
  2. Now peel the onion and slice it finely. Sautè it in a large pan with the extra virgin olive oil for a few minutes. Then add the sausage and the meats. Cook for 3 or 4 minutes on medium heat, sometime stirring.
  3. Now pour the red wine, let it evaporate and then add the tomato passata. Add salt to taste, stir and cover with a lid.
  4. Let simmer over low heat for at least two hours. The sauce should not be too thick. If it seems to dry out too much during cooking, add a ladle or two of water. The sauce must be a little liquid to facilitate the cooking of the lasagna noodles afterwards. When ready, turn off the heat and let the pork meat sauce cool.

 Make Small Meatballs for Neapolitan Lasagna

  1. With a slotted spoon, take about 400 g (about 0,90 / 1 lb) of meat from the sauce, draining it very well from the tomato sauce. Place it in a bowl and add the grated Parmigiano, chopped parsley, 100 g (3,5 oz) of bread crumbs, two whole eggs.
  2. Transfer the mixture in a food processor and finely mince, until homogeneous. With the mixture make small meatballs, no bigger than a hazelnut and bread them quickly in bread crumbs.
  3. Fry the meatballs in plenty of oil. With a slotted spoon, remove the meatballs from the oil, drain well the excess oil, then put them on a plate and set aside.

Making Neapolitan Lasagna: The Filling

  1. Boil 4 eggs for 10 minutes. Remove the shells while they are still hot. Let them cool then cut into thin slices. Set aside. Cut the hard mozzarella cheese into thin slices as well and set aside.
  2. Now place the ricotta in a bowl. Add two or three tablespoons of meat sauce and mix everything until you get a homogeneous reddish-cream.

Assembly of  Neapolitan Lasagna

  1. Take a lasagna pan measuring about 13×9 inches and spread a little meat sauce on the bottom. Then place the first layer of lasagna noodles.
  2. Cover the pasta sheets with the ricotta cream. Then place a few slices of hard-boiled egg, some fried meatballs and some slices of mozzarella.
  3. Finally spread the meat sauce and sprinkle with the grated Parmigiano cheese. Cover with another layer of lasagna sheets.
  4. Keep going with the layers until you run out of ingredients, taking care to make the final layer with only the sauce, mozzarella and grated Parmigiano.
  5. Cover the pan with aluminum foil so that the top does not dry out too much. Bake in a preheated oven at 200 ° C (390 F) for about 25 minutes. Then remove the aluminum foil and keep cooking for another  5/10 minutes, depending on whether you like the surface more or less crunchy. Then take out the lasagna and let it rest for 10 minutes before serving. Now enjoy your Neapolitan Lasagna!


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