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"The tradition of Italian cooking is that of the matriarch. This is the cooking of grandma. She didn't waste time thinking too much about the celery. She got the best celery she could and then she dealt with it."--Mario Batali

Mario Pei's Lasagne Recipe

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This recipe for Mario Pei's Lasagne is from The Dyer Family Cookbook Project, one of the cookbooks created at We'll help you start your own personal cookbook! It's easy and fun. Click here to start your own cookbook!


3 tbsp. EVOO
1 medium yellow onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 1/2 lbs. sweet Italian sausage, casings removed
1 tbsp. chopped fresh parsley
1 32 oz. can peeled Italian plum tomatoes
1 6 oz. can tomato paste
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1/2 tsp. dried basil
1 lb. fresh ricotta
1 egg, lightly beaten
1/2 c. freshly grated parmigiano-reggiano
1 lb. dried lasagna, preferably curly edged
1 lb. fresh mozzarella, thinly sliced

1. Heat oil in a large, heavy skillet over medium heat. Add onions and garlic and cook, stirring often, until soft, about 5 minutes. Add sausage and cook, breaking up meat with the back of a spoon, until no longer pink, 10-15 minutes. Add parsley and cook until meat is browned, 5-10 minutes more. Stir in tomatoes, tomato paste, and 2 cups water and season to taste with salt and pepper. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer, stirring occasionally, until sauce thickens, about 1 1/2 hours. Stir in basil and set sauce aside.
2. Meanwhile, combine ricotta, egg, and 1/4 cup of the parmigiano in a medium bowl and set aside.
3. Preheat oven to 350. Cook pasta in a large pot of boiling salted water over high heat, stirring often, until just tender, 8-11 minutes. Drain, then lay pasta sheets, not touching, between damp kitchen towels.
4. Spread a thin layer of sauce in a medium deep baking dish, then cover with several sheets of the pasta. Spread one-third of the ricotta mixture over pasta, cover with more pasta, spread one-third of the sauce over the pasta, and arrange one-third of the mozzarella over sauce. Repeat layers, ending with ricotta, sauce, then mozzarella. Sprinkle with remaining 1/4 cup parmigiano. Bake until sauce is bubbling, about 30 minutes. Let lasagne rest 15 minutes before serving.

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