Mama Calcagni’s Lasagna!

Now, I will start this post by saying – I have no idea who Mama Calcagni is. About ten years ago, I was searching the internet for a good lasagna recipe and I ran across this one. Thank goodness I printed it, because sadly, the angelfire.com link is no longer valid to share with you. Apparently this was passed down from this fellow’s grandmother. It is wonderful. I follow the end note to assemble the night before and cook the following day.

I am tagging this one as meatless. Quite often when I make it I skip the sirloin and pepperoni, it is a fabulous cheese lasagna. The following recipe and all notes throughout are from the original author, except a few noted by me in [].

Ingredients for Tomato Sauce

  • 1 large can (28 oz) of Tomato Puree (or whole peeled tomatoes and then puree yourself in a blender)
  • 2 six-oz cans Tomato Paste
  • 1/4 cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO)
  • 2 cloves chopped Garlic
  • 1/4 teaspoon EACH of Basil, Oregano, and Parsley
  • 1 teaspoon Sugar
  • Salt & Pepper to taste

To Make the Sauce

In a large saucepan, place tomato puree and 1/4 cup of EVOO. Add basil, oregano, parsley, and garlic. Heat on medium-low until it starts to simmer, and then reduce heat to low and simmer 15 minutes. Add the two cans of tomato paste along with two cans of water and the teaspoon of sugar. Mix until the tomato paste is smooth and cook on low for approximately 90 minutes, stirring occasionally. [Kristi Note: I add salt & pepper to taste once heat is reduced to low.]

Ingredients for Lasagna

Important! Make sure your lasagna pan is at least 2.5 inches deep! A rectangular foil roaster/baker pan will do, approximately 11.5 – 12 inches long and 9 inches wide.

  • 1 pound cooked ground sirloin
  • 1 stick (or pre-sliced package) pepperoni
  • 1 pound ricotta cheese
  • 8 oz container mozzarella cheese [Kristi Note: Shredded]
  • Parmesan cheese to sprinkle
  • Box of wide lasagna noodles, cooked about 8 minutes (will be a little hard)

To Assemble Lasagna

Place pan on a sturdy cookie sheet or baking sheet [Kristi Note: I think this is just if using the foil pan]. Layer bottom of the pan with the tomato sauce – just enough to cover the bottom. [Kristi Note: He means a little! There are a lot of sauce layers so don’t go crazy here, you could run out near the top.] Cover with 1 layer of lasagna noodles. Add another thin layer of sauce, then cooked sirloin, pepperoni, mozzarella, and ricotta. Add more sauce, sprinkle with Parmesan cheese and cover with another layer of noodles, and then more sauce. Repeat the above to form a second layer of ingredients, then finally add last layer of noodles, more sauce, and Parmesan. This should bring the layers right to the top of the roaster pan. Cover with aluminum foil and bake at 300 degrees for approximately 1 hour and 15 minutes.

As an engineer, I needed a visual for the lasagna layers so I didn’t get lost in the recipe. I have it scrawled out (and barely legible) on my paper version.

*Note, after you build the lasagna, you may put it in the refrigerator overnight and bake the next day. Doing this will let the juices soak in and make it taste even better. If you do this, you should take it out of the refrigerator about two hours before you bake and increase the baking time to 90 minutes.

NOTE: The sauce recipe is suitable for any red sauce used on pasta dishes.

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