La Grande Lasagna di Carnevale


OK, here I go . . . jumping into a new Italian recipe as promised. This is one of the most traditional recipes prepared for the Italian Carnevale 2-week long celebration. Now, I do have my own lasagna recipe that my family cherishes . . . and there are numerous types of lasagna recipes in cookbooks and online.

But then it seems that sometimes my family gets so loyal to our own family recipes that to try something new is almost sinful! But I really think that part of the fun and JOY of cooking is experimenting and trying new things. So here I go, jumping right in with the first Carnevale recipe! HOWEVER, after reading 2 or 3 recipes that I found in my cookbooks, I will have to say that I HAVE ALREADY MADE SEVERAL ADJUSTMENTS to the recipe that I found to be lacking in a few ways!


Le Grande Lasagna di Carnevale

First prepare the ‘ragu‘ or Bolognese Sauce — “Sugo Alla Bolognese” (often called ‘gravy’ in Italian-American homes, although this term was never, EVER used in my family because as Americans we associate ‘gravy’ with what is poured on mashed potatoes).

Bolognese Ragu (Meat Sauce )

What you need for the Bolognese Sauce:

6 Tbsp. butter
3 medium onions, finely chopped
3 carrots, finely chopped
3 stalks of celery, finely chopped
4 garlic cloves, minced
2 lbs. ground sirloin
1 lb. ground pork
1 lb. ground veal
salt and pepper
2 cups fresh tomato sauce or tomato paste
2 cups red wine
2 cups beef broth/stock.
1/4 cup Italian parsely, finely chopped

What you need to do to prepare the Bolognese sauce:

Saute’ the onions, carrots, celery and garlic in the butter.

After about 5 minutes and the vegetables are softened a bit, add the ground meats. Add the salt and pepper, the tomato sauce, wine, broth/stock, and parsley.
, . .

Simmer this mixture slowly for approximately 2 1/2 hours, adding another 1/2 cup of beef broth/stock to your desired thickness . . . which this should be fairly thick, not like a thinner marinara sauce is.

Next prepare the meatballs, which is one of the major reasons why this lasagna is so different from mine: the addition of little meatballs! :

Meatballs (Polpette alla Napoletana)

What you need for the meatballs:

1 pound lean ground beef
1 pound lean ground pork
1 pound ground veal
1/4 prosciutto, finely chopped
1 cup Parmigiana Regiano cheese
8 Tbsp. chopped Italian parsley
4 garlic cloves, minced (my addition again!)
1 cup plain bread crumbs
3 Jumbo eggs, slightly beaten
Butter to saute’
This makes about 4 batches of meatballs, so divide up what you do not use and FREEZE them for using later . . . this will save you so much time later on when you want meatballs.

What you need to do to prepare the meatballs:
Chop up the prosciutto.
With your (clean) hands, mix the 4 meats and Parmigiana cheese together.
Add the parsley, garlic and bread crumbs.
Add the beaten egg. Check moisture level: if too wet, add more bread crumbs.

.Form this mixture into very small 1/2″ to 1″ size meatballs.

Saute’ the meatballs in butter (about 2 Tbsp. should be enough) for 10 minutes, stirring so all sides of the meatballs are cooked.

Remove from butter and place on a plate. Use an absorbent towel if desired and then keep the meatballs warm.

Next make the white sauce by blending the following 3 ingredients:

2 cups Ricotta cheese
3 Tbsp. Italian parsley
1 Jumbo egg


Pre-heat oven to 360 degrees (180 C).

1 lb. Barilla lasagna noodles
1/4 lb. prosciutto (in one big piece), then finely chopped up
1/4 pound Italian Genoa salami, cut in 3 slices, then finely chopped up
1 cup grated FRESH Parmigiana Regiano cheese
1 cup grated FRESH Mozzarella cheese

In a LARGE deep pot, boil some slightly salted water. Partially cook the lasagna noodles HALF of the time indicated on the box (they continue to cook in the oven). Remove the noodles from the water and in a colander, run COLD water over the noodles.

Butter or spray with olive oil (such as ‘Pam’) a DEEP lasagna pan.

Lay a very thin layer of sauce on the bottom of the pan to help prevent the first layer of noodles from sticking to the bottom of the pan.
Lay the first layer of lasagna noodles onto the sauce . . . overlapping each noodle just a little bit.

Spread a thin layer of of the Ricotta/egg/parsley mixture.

Evenly spread a layer of meatballs.

Sprinkle a layer of the chopped prosciutto and salami.

With a large ladel or spoon, pour on a layer of sauce (ragu) on top.
Sprinkle a thin layer of Mozzarella.
Sprinkle a thin layer of Parmigiana cheese.

REPEAT until all ingredients are used up.
I try to always have a minimum of 3 layers, but let’s see how many this recipe will make.
Bake for 30 minutes.

La Grande Lasagna Di Carnevale on Foodista

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  1. says


    Thanks so much . . . I’m anxious to try this new lasagna recipe . . . I have already tweeked it here and there to bring the flavor up a few notches.

    Buon Appetito!

  2. says

    Hi Vickie,

    The lasagna is in the oven right now as I am typing this note to you. It was quite an endeavor as most lasagna recipes are. This one has the added homemade meatballs that took a little while. But I’ll sure tell you how it tastes in about an hour!

  3. says

    Hi Dusty Lens,

    Cannoli could not be more perfect for this….thanks for the suggestion. Are you sure you’re not Italian???? :) :) I think small bites are in order huh?

    Hope all is well in the wonderful midwest!

  4. says

    Vickie, Reeni, Kendra, and Dusty,

    I forgot to post about the lasagna and how it turned out….I guess I was just too busy eating!

    My husband said he liked it, but that it was not as good as my own recipe….I’ll share that someday.

    We both felt it needed more moisture due to the added salami and prosciutto….so maybe another cup or two of beef broth . . . but no more wine, in fact, we’d back down on it a little.

    Buon Appetito my fellow bloggers!

  5. says

    Sangeeta, Yes, it is a very delicious dish, however, my husband thought it was slightly dry and needs more beef broth added to moisten it up more. Thanks for your kind comment and for stopping by!

    Roz (bella)

  6. says

    Hi Joe,

    Hey, what’s a little constant hunger for good food! Just means we have to work out a little more while we enjoy “la vita”! Have a great day/evening in your part of the world.


  7. says

    Hi dear Roz,
    I have to say that I didn’t see these last post of yours, because my followers updates aren’t showing up…a big problem, I missed so many yummy things out!!!but I am gonna make up for this…oh well,
    :) if only you lived closer, I am sure we could cook this togheter…You made me sooooo hungry with this wonderful dish!!!
    And, I don’t exaggerate when I say this dish looks muuuuch better and tastier than an italian one!
    You’re truly so talented..!!!


  8. says

    HI Roz, just wanted to say wow what magnificant pictures and thanks so much for finding me so I can follow this wonderful blog, I added you to google reader and my twitter, simply and awesome lasagna! Gorgeous pictures, its 5:30 in the morning and wish I could just eat a meatball, loved them for breakfast every Sunday morning but Saturday will do fine!!!! thanks again love your wonderful blog!

  9. says

    I just find out your blog from another blog. This lasagna looks so good and you’re making me SO hungry. Lasagna and meatballs, a great combo for my 2 favorite dishes.

  10. says

    So perfect!!!! Ive just come across your blog! What recipes!!!! I recently moved from Britain to the Emilia Romagna Region in Italy and am Discovering all these amazing flavours!! Wow

  11. says

    It looks wonderful. Thanks for the updates. We make are meatballs so much alike it’s almost scary. About the only difference is I deep fry and skip the veal (it’s a moral thing with the veal)

    Parsley is one of the most important ingredients IMHO. I also add a sprinkling of fennel.

    I also saw Rocco de Spirito’s Mom’s recipe which is almost the same. She puts the eggs, olive oil, parsley, spices etc in the blender before adding it to the meat mixture. It works really well…

  12. Lauri in Texas says

    I wish I was Italian! I am planning on making this next week. I have looked at this recipe time and time again. I also continue hoping that you will someday post your sauce and your family lasagna.
    Thanks again for sharing:)

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