Lasagne Con Ricotta

Lasagne con Ricotta alla Calabrese

3/4 pound lasagne

1/3 pound Calabrian salted ricotta (ricotta salata is a milk-white cheese that’s firm enough to grind; see your delicatessen for it, or substitute about a quarter pound of pecorino Romano — the results won’t be the same, but it should still be good)

1 ounce pancetta or prosciutto fat

2 tablespoons olive oil

1/2 a medium-sized onion, finely sliced

1/2 a celery rib (about 5-inch), julienned

1/2 a carrot thinly sliced

1/2 a garlic clove

1/4 cup (packed) parsley leaves

1 1/2 pounds blanched, peeled and seeded tomatoes, coarsely chopped

Salt to taste

Mince the pancetta, parsley, and garlic, and set it to heat in a pot with the olive oil, carrot and celery. Sauté, stirring, until the onion becomes translucent, then add the tomatoes. Continue cooking over a very low flame until the greens are cooked, taking care lest the sauce cook down too much – it should remain fairly liquid; add boiling broth or water if need be.

In the meantime bring a pot of lightly salted water to boil (very lightly, as the cheese is salty), and cook the pasta, draining it while it’s still fairly al dente. Drain it, transfer it to a serving dish, and spoon a goodly amount of sauce over it. Turn the pasta so as to coat it well with the sauce, grate about half the cheese over the pasta, turn the pasta again, and grate the remainder over the pasta and serve, with the remainder of the sauce on the side, in a sauce boat.

Serves 4.

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