Today’s featured dish is Calabrian stuffed lasagne made with a meat tomato sauce, ham, eggs, and cheese. My grandmother never made lasagne as she didn’t particularly care for it, so I’ve never developed a taste for the typical Italian-American mozzarella and ricotta concoction. But when P’s mom made this “sagne chjine” (pronounced “SAHN-yeh KYEE-neh”), I was hooked.
Incidentally, so is P judging from the fact that I’ve been making this recipe once a week for the past two months. It’ll probably play a part in our Christmas meal as well, so I thought now would be a good time to share.
Notice there’s no mozzarella, no ricotta, and no besciamella, a common ingredient in many Italian lasagne recipes. This dish does take some prep work, but all together–from making the sauce to taking the finished lasagne from the oven–it should take about 2 hours total.
You can (gasp!) use jarred sauce to save time. I also use boxed lasagne noodles that require no pre-cooking. I love these, as it cuts cooking time in half, and the noodles stay al dente rather than get mushy.
Before you start making the sauce, I recommend putting on 4 eggs to boil; this way, they’ll be ready to be chopped while you’re waiting for the sauce to finish cooking.
Calabrian Stuffed Lasagne
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 medium sweet onion chopped finely
- 3 cloves garlic, chopped finely
- 1 lb. ground meat
- 1/4 cup red wine
- 28 oz. can peeled tomatoes, coarsely chopped or passed through grinder
- 2 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped finely 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon peperoncino
In a saucepan, add olive oil over medium heat. Sauté onions until translucent (3 to 5 minutes), then add garlic and sauté until just starting to turn light brown (about 2 minutes).
Add ground meat, stirring with a wooden spoon. When the meat is lightly browned with little to no pink remaining, add wine. Let wine cook off for about 3-5 minutes.
Lower the heat and add tomatoes. This is the type of grinder I use:
If you don’t have one of these, you need to revise your Christmas list. But for now, just make sure the tomatoes are coarsely chopped.
Add parsley, salt, and peperoncino, and let cook on low to medium heat for about 35 minutes. You’ll know when the sauce is ready by taste-testing; the tomatoes should no longer taste “raw.”
For the filling:
- 4 hard-boiled eggs, chopped
- 1/2 lb. prosciutto cotto (cooked ham), torn into pieces
- 1 lb. provola (smoked mozzarella), cubed (substitutes include imported extra sharp provolone or Sicilian scamorza provolone)
- 1/4 cup grated Pecorino Romano cheese
- One box of lasagne noodles
While the sauce is cooking, prepare all of the above ingredients. Once the sauce is finished, your working area should look something like this:
To assemble the lasagne, spread a layer of sauce on the bottom of an 8 x 10 inch pan, then place a layer of noodles. Add more sauce to the top of the noodles, making sure to cover them well, then put a third of the egg, ham, and cheese cubes on the layer. It will look like this:
A tip: When layering your lasagne, if your noodles don’t exactly fit the pan (like mine don’t), alternate the lay-out so that the lasagna stays together better. For instance, if one layer looks like this:
Layer your next level of noodles like this:
Now, after your first layer with all the ingredients, continue layering until you run out of ham and egg. Your top layer will be just sauce and cubed cheese. Then sprinkle the Pecorino Romano on top.
Bake in oven at 400° F for about a half hour. I cover mine with foil for the first 20 minutes, then remove so the top gets a little crispy without drying out.
Note that this recipe can easily be transformed into a vegetarian delight. Leave the meat out of the sauce and add your favorite vegetables to the layers. Slice and sauté mushrooms, artichokes, peas (or whatever you prefer) in olive oil before you layer them into the lasagne.
And remember to check out Shannon’s original What’s Cooking Wednesday at Tales from the Fairy Blogmother.