I learned to cook from my two Sicilian-born grandmothers, my maternal grandfather and my mother. Each had a slightly different version of classics, like lasagna. This recipe pulls favorite qualities from each.
In our family, lasagna was reserved for special occasions. I believe that the simplest sauce allows the flavors of the cheese, herbs and the accompanying wine to shine through. The secret to good lasagna is in the layering. —M.D.
- 3 pounds whole-milk ricotta
- 1 cup Locatelli Pecorino Romano or other pecorino cheese, grated
- 2 eggs, whisked
- ¾ cup fresh basil, chopped
- ½ cup fresh Italian parsley, chopped
- ½ teaspoon sea salt
- ½ teaspoon fine-ground black pepper
- 2 pounds dry Italian lasagna noodles
- 2 pounds whole-milk mozzarella cheese, grated
- Marinara sauce (see below)
Jump to our simple marinara sauce recipe.
Boil lasagna noodles according to package directions. Drain and lay flat.
In large bowl, mix ricotta, pecorino, eggs, basil, parsley, salt and pepper.
Heat oven to 375˚F. Spread 3 large spoonfuls marinara sauce on bottom of large baking dish, and layer of lasagna noodles on top. Spread spoonfuls of marinara over noodles. Layer with spoonfuls of ricotta mixture, and sprinkle handful of mozzarella. Cover with another layer of noodles, and repeat process until all ingredients are used, and you have at least 3 or 4 layers. Top with marinara and mozzarella.
Bake approximately 1 hour, or until top layer of cheese is brown and bubbly. Let rest 15–20 minutes before cutting. Serves 8.
“My best bet for a dish like this is something from the Valle d’Aosta, that tiny little region in Italy cradled between Switzerland and France,” says Caryn Benke, beverage director for Ava Gene’s in Portland, Oregon. “These wines tend to be a little two-faced: They can appear to be have density and weight, but finish on the lighter side. Their zippy acidity matches the tang of the tomato sauce, in addition to cutting the richness of the cheese, and notes of Alpine herbs complement the green notes in the marinara. A classic wine to seek out is the 2015 Ottin Torrette Superieur, which is a blend of predominantly Petit Rouge rounded out with a touch of both Cornalin and Fumin.
“If we wanted to explore outside of Italy, my mind goes right away to Johan Vineyards in the Willamette Valley… Their 2014 Blaufränkisch, a grape most commonly associated with Austria, is a tremendously interesting wine that is just downright fun to drink. The texture of this wine is more unctuous, serving as a complement to the gooey mozzarella and creamy ricotta, but again, the bright acidity ensures you want to go back in for another bite of the lasagna.”