What’s Cooking Wednesday: Calabrian Stuffed Lasagne

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
(serves 6-8)

For sauce:

  • 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.

Buon appetito!

19 Beans of Wisdom to “What’s Cooking Wednesday: Calabrian Stuffed Lasagne”
  1. J.Doe

    That looks so good! I prefer lasagna made with becemella, but many people are used to the lasagna made in america with Ricotta.

  2. Delina

    Yummmmeeee! Lasagna is a very flexible dish – can be done in so many ways – your way looks perfect!

  3. sognatrice

    J, to be honest, I think I’d prefer it with besciamella too, but P is against most dairy (except cheese), not for an allergy, just because he didn’t grow up with it. One of these days, I’ll sneak it in though 😉

    Delina, if you try this out, let me know if I wrote the directions OK. I’m not used to writing recipes yet…I find myself acting like my grandmother: “I don’t *know* how much of what goes in!”

  4. christina

    That looks fabulous! Thanks for sharing! I still have the family lasagna recipe using ricotta and mozzarella. I’ll have to try yours one of these days. 🙂


  5. Elle

    Ohhh yum – Lidl are doing those grindy things (Sorry Lidl crazy today!)… I wanted to get one. I’ve only recently been introduced to the kitchen – didn’t know what the grindy thing was – but it was so shiny and I just had to have it. I did’t get it for fear of being told off for spending too much money – but I may just make a trip back there tomorrow!

  6. Shan

    Oh that looks yummy. I’ll have to give that a try.

    I love to make lasagna. It’s of the ricotta/mozzarella variety. I think it’s pretty good, but so many ethnic foods we have here are bastardized versions of the original recipe. Maya’s Godmother is Italian, her parents immigrated here. I was mortified when she insisted on taking some of my lasagna home with her. I begged her not to let her Mom or worse yet her Nonna eat it. I didn’t need that kind of stress, but surprisingly enough they liked it. They may have just been being polite, but whatever, I’ll take it.

  7. sognatrice

    Christina and Shan, rest assured there is a special place among lasagne for ricotta and mozzarella. Like Delina said above, lasagna is so versatile–you can throw just about anything in that you like. Oh, comfort food 🙂

    Elle, confession: I had no idea what the shiny silver thing was either when P’s mom gave me one (she obviously had a feeling I didn’t have one b/c she gave me this literally within a week of our relationship starting). It’s awesome, really. I hope you got back to Lidl 🙂

  8. Tracey

    I have the same cheese grater! It sits on top of a glass container and has a green lid. I bought it in Rome.

    As for the tomato press – that is an absolute must for the Italian kitchen. I am Australian with Italian parents and my mother gave me one of those when I first moved out of home. Now I live in Paris and within 2 days of arriving here – I made my husband take me to the BHV to buy one!

  9. sognatrice

    Tracey, sorry I just saw this comment now, many months later, but I definitely agree with you that the tomato grinder is a MUST. I didn’t even know how much I needed it until I came here 😉

  10. Michele

    What kind(s) of ground meat do you prefer in this lasagne? I usually combine beef, veal and turkey in my lasagne Bolognese — please tell me your recipe is less demanding! Thanks.

    I just use ground veal because that’s what I usually have in the freezer; they really don’t do ground beef here as there isn’t a lot of beef around (mostly veal). I do use ground pork and veal in my meatballs though 🙂

  11. 01.08.2010

    We love lasagne , but never heard of it with Ham and Eggs in it. Also do you do anything with your noodles before layering up.

    I might look out for the grinder, but then on the other hand , do I need one!!

    Looks Yummy 🙂

    I use the noodles that you don’t have to precook; I love them! Also with the grinder, it really depends on how much you’ll use it for tomatoes and other things; if you have a food processor, I imagine not much 😉

  12. 01.08.2010

    What would a Calabrian stuffed entree be without hard-boiled egg, lol? Ah, the memories, Michelle!

    So true 🙂

    .-= anna l’americana´s last blog ..In Memoriam…. =-.

  13. Ciao Michelle, yes this Sicilian/Calabrese-Americana made lasagna as well this Christmas. It was a lot of work. The thing I remember from a child is that my Nonna would toss in whatever she had around, sausage, eggs, polpetta………it didn’t really matter. It’s all good. My work of art had ricotta and “mooozie” and ya know what? I duly impressed my Napoletano. They forget we American girls can cook! LOL

    Hahaha…brrrrravaaa! 😀

    .-= Lisa at Wanderlust Women´s last blog ..Wanderlust woman travels to discover New York City through new eyes! =-.

  14. 01.13.2010

    I’ve always known the Calabrese did their lasagna different, but food doesn’t get passed through the men, so my dad was never able to share with me his lasagne (he’s from a small village in calabria). My maternal grandmother is where I get my food-upbringing and she’s from naples. I’m looking forward to trying this recipe, although my family thinks the hardboiled eggs are weird.

    Oh Calabrians will throw a hard-boiled egg into anything…cheap way of adding protein 🙂

  15. This looks really good! thanks for sharing it with me today.

    It’s truly one of our staples, Michelle 🙂

    .-= Michelle @ Italian Mama Chef´s last blog ..On being a Gramma… =-.

  16. betty

    this sounds awesome. i am loving all these recipes on your blog.

    Thanks! Glad you’re enjoying them 🙂

  1. [...] know we love Calabrian Stuffed Lasagne around here, but this week we have some extra love for an extra s... bleedingespresso.com/2009/04/love-thursday-love-in-the-lasagne-verde.html



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