Lasagna alla Norcina Recipe

Watch Giuliana make lasagna all norcina here. Why do I like this recipe? Two reasons:

Classic lasagna involves multiple pots: the ragu, the béchamel sauce, boiling the pasta, and then it all has be assembled in yet another baking dish. Even with a dish washer, this equates to a faff in my kitchen and consequently I make it about twice a year. But Giuliana rustled this up in around 30 minutes (not including baking time).

“Alla Norcina” means a combination of sausage meat, mushrooms and ricotta. Very often you’ll see recipes where the ricotta has been substituted with either cream or a béchamel sauce. Using cream is very rich, too rich for me; béchamel sauce meanwhile is certainly cheaper. Ricotta kept this dish lighter than a lot of lasagnas. I haven’t tried it yet, but I wonder if a curd cheese would also work..

For 4 people she used:

a 4 egg pasta dough using a premixed 50/50 semola and soft wheat (all purpose) flour
olive oil for frying
3 large meaty, garlic flavoured sausages, skin removed and meat crumbled
200g of sliced mushrooms
400g of cows’ milk ricotta
30g of grated Parmigiano Reggiano
pepper for seasoning

Her roasting pan was about 30 x 20 x 7cms

Option one: Make your own pasta dough. Once you’ve made and kneaded the dough until it’s silky to touch, it’s a good idea to leave it to rest for 30 minutes (covered), as this makes it easier to roll out. If your board isn’t that big, cut the dough in half and do two batches; roll out the dough as thin as you can. Personally I think the rolling pin approach is much easier than using a pasta machine – but feel free to use yours! Cut the pasta sheet into rectangles. It’s a good idea to keep them to 10 x 12 cms size – much larger and they become unwieldy to fish out of the boiling water.

Option two: buy dried pasta. If you are going to do this, it’s worth boiling them rather than buying the kind you can put into lasagne uncooked.

To make the filling, simply fry the sausages and mushrooms together in a little olive oil over a brisk heat, until the meat is properly cooked. This will take around 10 minutes. If your sausages are not flavoured with garlic, then mince one clove and add it to the mixture after 5 minutes frying. Take the pan off the heat, add a little pepper (or peperoncino) and stir in the ricotta.

Boil your pasta rectangles in salted water for about 2 minutes. Drain, and plunge the pasta into a large bowl of cold water. Assemble your lasagna immediately.

Begin with a sausage meat layer, a sprinkling of cheese, followed by a layer of pasta; repeat, finishing with a meat and cheese topping.

Bake in a pre heated 200C/400F oven for 25 minutes. I put foil over the top for the first 15 minutes