Lasagne Ricotta

Lasagne alla Ricotta

1 1/4 pounds store-bought lasagne

For the béchamel sauce:
3/4 cup flour
1/4 cup butter
4/5 quart milk
Salt to taste

For the sauce:
1 1/4 pound Neapolitan mild sausages
2 ounces prosciutto
2 ounces smoked pancetta (in its absence use unsmoked pancetta, not bacon)
1 medium-sized onion, minced
1 small carrot, minced
Parsley, thyme and marjoram, minced (to taste; figure about a tablespoon of parsley and a teaspoon each of the other two, then adjust until you reach what you like)
A few leaves rosemary
1/4 cup butter
1 cup dry white wine
Meat or vegetable broth
Salt to taste

For the filling:
1 1/4 pounds fresh ricotta
3 cups grated Parmigiano (about 1/3 pound)
1 pint milk
Salt and pepper
A rectangular pan, 9 by 12 inches, and 3 inches deep

Make a moderately thick béchamel sauce and let it cool. (See instructions above.)

Skin and crumble the sausages, and mince them with the prosciutto, pancetta, onion, carrot, parsley, thyme, marjoram, and just a little rosemary. Work the butter into the mixture, then sauté everything over a low flame, adding the wine a little bit at a time, and then broth; let all the liquid evaporate between additions. When done, the sauce will be rich, moderately browned, and not dry.

Mix the ricotta and a bit more than half the Parmigiano together, season with salt and pepper to taste, then beat enough milk into the mixture to turn it creamy and light.

In the meantime a pot of bring lightly salted water to boil; sprinkle a tablespoon of oil into it and cook the lasagne until they’re barely al dente, then run them under cool water and set them to drain on a cloth.

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees F (220 C). Meanwhile, take your rectangular pan, and spread some béchamel sauce over the bottom, then a third of the lasagne (overlap the sheets of pasta slightly). Sprinkle the pasta with Parmigiano, then a third of the sausage sauce, and finally a third of the ricotta. Repeat the procedure twice more, and bake the lasagne for 35-45 minutes; let the top brown lightly and then cover it with a sheet of aluminum foil if need be. Once they are done and removed from the oven, let them sit for five minutes before serving them.

Serves 8.

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