Look at all those beautiful layers

Lasagna, is a Noto tradition; I can’t image the up-roar that would occur if lasagna was not prepared at least once a month. Lasagna is on every major Noto Holiday table; both DF and Sydney remind me all Thanksgiving morning to prepare the lasagna (as if I could forget)! The lasagna’s sauce is an authentic tradition, Noto Family recipe. Four times a year we spend the entire day, as a family  cooking a piece of family history and culture. I found myself “time traveling” about ten years in the future, as I visualize teaching Sydney and I teaching her children/child how to prepare a large pot of sauce. I relish the opportunity Sydney and I will have bonding  with a new generation through the culinary arts.

Noto Four Cheese Lasagna:


Dinner is ready

  • 1 1/2 jars Noto Italian sauce
  • 80 grams/ 1-cup Parmesan di Reggino cheese, freshly grated
  • 80 grams/ 1-cup Pecorino Romnano cheese, freshly grated
  • 112 grams/ 1-cup Mozzarella cheese, shredded
  • 112 grams/ 1-cup Fontina, shredded
  • 907 grams/ 32- ounces whole milk ricotta cheese
  • 2 whole eggs
  • 2 boxes of lasagna noodles
  • palmful dried Italian seasoning, crushed
  • palmful dried parsley,crushed
  • 1/2-teaspoon white pepper, freshly grated to taste
  • salt, for the water
  • large pot boiling water
  • 15 grams/ 1- Tablespoon butter
  • 60 grams/1/2-cup bread crumbs
  • 45 grams/ 1/2-cup Panko japanese bread crumbs
  • 6 to 8 leaves fresh basil, chiffonade
  • fresh parsley, cut off stem
  • 1- 3 quart 14x 9-inch/35.5×23 cm heavy casserole pan

Prepare your mise en place and bring the water to boil.

Mise en place, without fresh basil and parsley

In a medium boil, add the ricotta cheese, eggs, 1/2 teaspoon white pepper, italian seasoning, and dried Italian seasoning. Fold all the ingredients into the ricotta cheese until amalgamated.

This mixture is brilliant for a cremini ravioli filling

 Add a nice half a palmful of kosher salt to the boiling water and than add the lasagna noodles. Cook the pasta for 4 minutes, barley par cooked,  remove with tongs and lay on tinfoil. Make sure the noodles do not touch or they will stick.

Sydney and I find this method quickens the layering processes

 Add one or two ladlefuls of sauce and spread out in an even layer.

Adding the sauce keeps the pasta from sticking to the bottom of the casserole dish.

 Arrange a layer of the lasagna noodles to cozily cover the sauce.

Break the pasta to help it fit cozy in the casserole dish.

Spread an even coat of the ricotta mixture over the pasta and sprinkle a healthy layer of fontina and mozzarella cheese over the pasta.

Try to sprinkle equal amounts of both cheeses

 Grate both the Pecorino and Parmigiano-Reggiano cheeses over the fontina and mozzarella cheese.

Using a micro plane is the easiest method of grating the Parmesian-Reggio and Peccorina Romanio and ladle the sauce over all the cheeses

Place a layer of pasta going in the other direction as the first layer … Continue this layering process until the pan is just about full.

Be sure to ladle one or two ladleful of sauce with each layer

Prepare your bread crumb mise en place.

The Panko Japanese bread crumbs add a wonderful crunchy texture

 In a bowl, mix the bread crumbs with Panko japanese bread crumbs. Sprinkle the top with an even layer of the bread crumb mixture and dot with butter.

It is fine to substitute olive oil for the butter

Cover with tinfoil and bake for 60 minutes. Remove the tinfoil and broil on low for 5 minutes or until the lasagna is hot and bubbling.

Allow the lasagna to cool for 15 to 20 minutes prior to serving. Serve with sprinkled chiffonade basil and parsley.


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