Authentic Lasagne alla Romana from the Eternal CityRoman cuisine is most commonly known for their signature pasta dishes like carbonara and amatriciana, pizza specialties like thin-crust, pizza bianca and pizza al taglio, but not as much for lasagne. Unlike Lasagne alla Bolognese and the sky-scraping American lasagne versions (that bastardize the very essence of lasagne), Roman lasagne is less meaty and much thinner in comparison. Think of it being as satisfying in terms of appetite but minimizing on the expanding waist-line thing. Today I am sharing my authentic Roman Lasagne recipe that my mother has shared with me since I knew how to walk and as the saying goes, “When in Rome….“, however – it doesn’t really apply here, does it?
So what makes lasagne alla Romana, Roman? Well you need a person from Rome or of Roman decent to make it…. Ok, that’s not true, I made that part up. The most significant difference is the inclusion of other ingredients such as chopped boiled eggs, chunks of mortadella and pancetta, fresh mozzarella and pecorino Romano cheese. Most Italian lasagne does not include ricotta, as I’ve mentioned before in my Lasagne Bolognese post and most are much thinner than the stereotyped lasagne you find in American restaurants. I personally prefer the thinner lasagne because the flavors are more distinct and not overwhelmed with too many ingredients. I start off preparing the Lasagne alla Romana with the sauce and this is not a traditional Ragu as it’s made with garlic, onions, bay leaves, basil, and carrot. I would say it has a bit more diversity than the Bologna version. In another pan I take a little bit of ground beef and chopped pancetta, and let it all brown together. Once that is ready, I drain the oil from the meat and add it to the sauce pan with San Marzano crushed tomatoes, cooking for 2 hours. During this time I boil water for the hard boiled-egg and make the fresh lasagne pasta with Semolina flour, Antimo Caputo flour and eggs – letting sit for 30 minutes before rolling through the pasta machine to make 6 thin sheets.
When the lasagne alla Romana sauce is done, I add a little to the cooking pan then laying down the lasagne sheets with a light topping of the sauce on top, chopped hard boiled egg, mortadella, and fresh mozzarella. This is followed one more time with a light topping of sauce on the top of the lasagne and a healthy sprinkling of Pecorino Romano. Set the oven to 425 degrees, add the lasagne and after the lasagne has finished, let sit for 10-15 minutes and then slice for you and your guests (and if you don’t have guests I am more than happy to join you). I opened up a nice bottle of Nobile de Montepulciano but feel free to indulge in a Barbera d’Asti, or any other hardy red wine you see fit. So there you have it, Paggi Pazzo’s authentic Lasagne alla Romana, Forza Roma!
Authentic Lasagne alla Romana Recipe
Prep time: 30 mins
Cook time: 2 hours 45 min
Total time: 3 hours 15 min
Yield: 10 servings
- 32 ounces crushed tomatoes (San Marzano)
- 4 ounces fresh mozzarella
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 cup Antico Molino Caputo flour tipo 00
- 1 cup Moretti Semolina Flour
- 3 eggs
- 6 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 2 teaspoons pepper
- 1/4 cup fresh basil
- 3 garlic cloves
- 1/4 pound thick slicepancetta
- 1/4 pound thick slicemortadella
- 1/3 pound ground beef
- 1 onion
- 1/2 cup Pecorino Romano
- 1 small carrot
- To make sauce, add oil to pan at medium heat for 2 minutes.
- Add finely chopped onion and garlic, carrot peeled, fresh bay leaves, and saute for 10 minutes
- In another pan, brown chopped pancetta and ground beef for another 7-10 minutes before adding seasoned with salt and pepper and cook until meat is slightly browned
- Add ground beef to sauce with crushed tomatoes, chopped fresh basil, and cook at low temperature for at least 90 minutes
- To make pasta dough, place flour on cutting board, counter, or large bowl and shape into a volcano with an opening in the middle. Crack 2 eggs into middle of flour (removing shells) and add 1 tablespoon of olive oil
- Slowly beat and stir eggs in a circular motion while slowly including flour into egg mix. After several minutes, egg and flour will come together creating greater consistency and become soft like dough mixture. Once thicker, use hands to press remaining flour into dough and push, flatten, and kneed until ready (add water to mixture if necessary)
- Take pasta dough and cover with large bowl for 30 minutes or put in plastic wrap and put in fridge
- To make lasagne pasta, take dough and flour on both sides, then use hands to flatten. Add dough to machine at highest level continue to put pasta back in machine until pasta thins, flouring lightly on both sides. Cut into long sheets to fit into lasagne dish
- Preheat oven at 425 degrees and lightly dress bottom of pan with sauce
- Boil water and add egg, after 15 minutes remove egg, then chop
- Grate Pecorino Romano into a bowl and chop fresh mozzarella and mortadella
- Add light sauce to bottom of pan, then layer with 4 lasagne sheets with dressing of sauce, chopped fresh mozzarella,chopped egg, chopped mortadella (repeat again for second layer)
- Add more sauce to top of lasagne with Pecorino Romano sprinkled on top
- Cover lasagne with sheet of aluminum foil and place in oven and cook for 45 minutes
- Once done, remove from oven and let rest for 10 minutes before slicing and serving
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