“Gram’s” Lasagne

by Patrick Lacey




Serves 6 to 8 people

1 box dried lasagna sheets

1 container whole milk ricotta cheese

1 pound whole milk mozzarella, grated

2 whole eggs

Grated Parmigiano cheese


For the sauce

4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

3 cloves garlic, crushed

3 cans crushed tomatoes

2 smoked pork hocks


For the meatballs

1 pound ground chuck, 90% lean

2 tablespoons dried parsley

1 cup grated parmigiano

4 whole eggs

1/4 cup milk

2 slices white bread, soaked in milk and squeezed dry

2 teaspoon garlic powder

1 tablespoon salt

1 teaspoon fresh ground pepper


Make the meatballs


In a large mixing bowl, combine the ground chuck, dried parsley, grated Parmigiano-Reggiano, 2 eggs, milk, milk-soaked bread, garlic powder, salt, and pepper. Stir well so that the mixture comes together and it is easy to form into large meatballs. Form the balls, about 4 ounces each (they have to be big so you can cut them up for the lasagna, otherwise Gram wont be happy!). Form the meatballs and set aside.
Make the sauce:


Heat a large sauce pot or Dutch oven over medium heat. Add olive oil then fry the crushed garlic until its golden brown and aromatic. Add the crushed tomatoes. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. Drop the meatballs into the sauce along with the smoked pork hocks. Simmer for 2-3 hours.


Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.


Once the sauce has been simmering for about 90 minutes, start to cook the lasagna. Bring a large pot of water to a boil, season with salt and cook the lasagna noodles for about 3 minutes, until pliable. Using tongs, remove the noodles from the water and lay flat on a cookie sheet so that they don’t stick together. Remove the meatballs from the sauce, let them cool slightly and cut them into rough pieces–Gram just used the side of a spoon in a bowl. At this point, you can start to build the lasagna.


In a 13 x 9 inch baking pan, spoon enough of the sauce to coat the bottom. Arrange the cooked lasagna sheets to evenly cover the bottom of the pan. Add an even layer of the chopped meatballs. Combine the ricotta with the remaining 2 eggs, then spoon out dollops over the meatballs every couple of inches. Sprinkle with the grated mozzarella and Parmigiano. Repeat this process until you have 5-6 layers. For the top layer, cover generously with sauce, grated Parmigiano, and mozzarella. Bake until the top is golden brown and the middle is piping hot and set. Let cool slightly, 20-25 minutes, before serving. Enjoy with fresh baked bread, butter, and the smoked ham hocks on the side!


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