DH has asked me to make this lasagna for a family get-together. I like the idea, but YOW! That's a lot of cheese! Anyone make this? If so, how does it come out? I have visions of a gloppy mess. I have made lasagna before, but this is decadence to the nth degree--is it worth it, or better to adjust to a more, ahem, reasonable amount of ricotta (5 POUNDS? Plus 2 pounds of fresh mozarella!)? Any advice?
Oh, and I'm not so much worried about fat/calories--it's the extravagence that attracted DH's eye (and stomach). I'm more concerned with the amounts all fitting into the pan...and being in edible form once out of the pan. I don't want an unappetizing glop of pasta, cheese and sauce.
For the meatballs
2 slices bread
1/2 cup milk
2 pounds ground beef
1 cup finely chopped onions
3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
4 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
1½ tablespoons chopped garlic
salt and pepper
3 tablespoons olive oil
5 cups tomato sauce, warmed
For the lasagna
2 pounds fresh mozzarella, diced
2 cups grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese
5 pounds fresh ricotta cheese
1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley
salt and pepper
4 fresh pasta sheets (store-bought), or 2 pounds lasagna noodles
To make the meatballs: Soak the bread in the milk. In a medium bowl, mix the ground beef, bread, onions, parsley, eggs, cheese, and garlic. Add slat and pepper to taste. If the mixture is dry, add 1/2 cup of cold water and mix well. Form into about 12 meatballs.
Place the meatballs in a sauté pan with the olive oil and fry over medium to high heat until brown, 10 to 15 minutes. Drain the meatballs on paper towels.
In a stockpot, heat the tomato sauce over low heat. Add the meatballs to the sauce and simmer over low heat, covered, for 30 minutes, or until meatballs are cooked through. Remove from the heat and set aside.
To make the lasagna: Mix 3/4 of the mozzarella, 1 cup of the Parmigiano Reggiano, and the ricotta in a large bowl. Add the eggs and parsley. Season with salt and pepper and set aside.
Remove the meatballs from the sauce. Crumble the meatballs and set aside.
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat and cook the pasta until al dente, about 1 minute. Drain and shock in cold water.
To assemble: Preheat the oven to 350F. Pour 1 cup of the hot tomato sauce in the bottom of an 8 x 12-inch baking pan. Place a pasta sheet over the layer of sauce, cutting the sheet to fit if necessary.
Spread 1/3 of the cheese mixture over the pasta. Spread 1/3 of the crumbled meatballs over the cheese. Add some of the sauce and sprinkle with the remaining 1/4 of the mozzarella and Parmesan. Repeat the layers of sauce, pasta, cheese, and meatballs two more times.
Spread the remaining cup of tomato sauce over the top layer of the pasta and sprinkle the remaining Parmigiano Reggiano cheese over the sauce.
Bake the lasagna for 1 hour or until the top is golden.