The big meatball lasagne
- December 2015
- Serves 8
- Hands-on time 50 min, oven time 40 min plus resting
Gennaro Contaldo shares his recipe for his Neapolitan family’s meatball lasagne, which was served on special occasions.
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- 39.8g (16.2g saturated)
- 25.1g (6.9g sugars)
- 150g parmesan, grated
- 250g ricotta
- 250g cooking mozzarella, roughly chopped (see tip)
- 250g fresh lasagne sheets
- 8 parma ham slices, torn
- 10 salami slices, cut into 1cm strips
For the tomato sauce
- 120ml extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 onions, finely chopped
- 3 garlic cloves, chopped
- 4 x 400g tins plum tomatoes
- 2 handfuls fresh basil leaves, roughly torn
- Good pinch caster sugar, if needed
For the meatballs
- 200g British beef mince
- 200g British free-range pork mince
- 2 garlic cloves, crushed
- 3 tbsp finely chopped fresh flatleaf parsley
- 1 medium free-range egg, beaten
- Olive oil for frying
- Plain flour for dusting
- For the tomato sauce, heat the olive oil in a large frying pan, then add the onions and garlic and cook gently for about 10 minutes until softened but not coloured. Add the tomatoes, season with salt and pepper and bubble over a high heat, uncovered, for 25-30 minutes until reduced, stirring occasionally. Add the basil, taste the sauce, then add the sugar if it needs it. Cook for 2 minutes, taste and season. Mix the cheeses in a bowl and set aside.
- Meanwhile, make the meatballs. Combine all the ingredients, except the oil and flour, in a mixing bowl and season. Shape into about 20 balls the size of walnuts. Heat a good glug of olive oil in a large frying pan over a medium-high heat. Dust the meatballs with flour, then fry (in batches if necessary) until golden all over. Drain on kitchen paper.
- Heat the oven to 200°C/180°C fan/ gas 6. Spread a layer of the tomato sauce over the base of a 3 litre baking dish. Top with a layer of lasagne sheets, then spoon over more sauce. Sprinkle with a third of the cheese mixture, half the meatballs and half the ham and salami. Top with pasta, more sauce, half the remaining cheese and the rest of the meat. Finish with a layer of pasta sheets, sauce and cheese.
- Cover with foil and bake for 30 minutes, then uncover and cook for a further 10 minutes until golden. Stand for 5 minutes, then serve.
Use firm cooking mozzarella blocks. The fresh balls can make the dish watery.
Make up to the end of step 3 and keep covered in the fridge for up to 3 days, or in the freezer for up to 1 month. Cook from frozen, covered in foil, adding 20 minutes to the oven time.
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