lasagna margherita

Categories: Grains and Pasta, Posted by Sandy Bergsten

(adapted from Alison Roman)

For the sauce


1 T olive oil

1 medium onion, chopped

2 garlic cloves, peeled and slivered

1 tablespoon tomato paste

1 28 oz can San Marzano tomatoes, whole and peeled, with juice

1 cup water

Sprig of basil

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

1 teaspoon fish sauce


Heat oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add the chopped onion to oil and sauté until softened. Add garlic and sauté for one minute. Add the tomato paste and continue to cook stirring occasionally until the paste turns brick red. Add the tomatoes along with its juice, crushing the tomatoes with your hands or carefully with a potato masher. Add one cup water. Bring to a boil and lower to a simmer. Add sprig of basil, fish sauce and a dash of salt. Simmer, stirring the bottom frequently until thick as sauce from a jar, about 35-45 minutes. Taste for seasoning. Add more salt if needed and a few grinds of pepper. The sauce can be made a couple days in advance. Cool completely, cover tightly and refrigerate.

Makes about 3 cups


For the lasagna


¾ pounds fresh mozzarella, grated or shredded

8 ounces (1 cup) whole-milk ricotta

½ cup coarsely grated or shredded Parmesan, plus more as desired 

2 tablespoons heavy cream

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

½ pound dried lasagna noodles (not the no-boil variety)

Olive oil, for drizzling



Set aside ½ cup mozzarella. In a medium bowl, combine the remaining mozzarella, the ricotta, Parmesan, and cream. Season with salt and pepper.

Cook the lasagna noodles in the boiling water until just softened (before al dente), about 4 to 5 minutes. Drain and separate any noodles that are trying to stick together, drizzle with a bit of olive oil to prevent them from sticking further. (Note that five layers of noodles will ultimately be needed.)

Spoon a bit of sauce on the bottom of an 8-inch square baking dish and top with a layer of noodles, avoiding any heavy overlap (a little overlap is fine). Top with about ½ cup of sauce. Dot with one-fourth of the cheese mixture over the sauced noodles.

Top with another layer of noodles and repeat three more times, ending with the last of the noodles (depending on size of the noodle and the shape of the baking dish, a few extra noodles might be left over).

Top with the last of the sauce. Then with the reserved ½ cup mozzarella and more Parmesan, if desired. The lasagna can be made to this point earlier in the day, covered and refrigerated. Take out of the refrigerator 30-45 minutes before cooking.

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Cover the lasagna loosely with aluminum foil and place the baking dish on a foil-lined rimmed baking sheet (to prevent any overflow from burning on the bottom of your oven). Bake until the pasta is completely tender and cooked through and the sauce is bubbling up around the edges, 25-30 minutes. Remove the foil and continue to bake until the lasagna is golden brown on top with crispy edges and corners, another 35-45 minutes. Let cool slightly before serving.

The cooked lasagna can be baked up to three days ahead, cooled completely, wrapped tightly and refrigerated or frozen for up to month. To reheat cover with foil and bake at 375 degrees for 30 to 45 minutes or until heated through (if frozen thaw in the refrigerator overnight before reheating).

Serves 4

(Note the recipe can be doubled and baked in a 9x13 inch baking dish to serve 8-10.)

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