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2000s Recipes + Menus

Fettuccine Meatball Lasagne

Serves8 to 10
  • Active time:1 1/2 hr
  • Start to finish:2 1/4 hr
January 2007
Food editor Gina Marie Miraglia Eriquez got the idea of using egg fettuccine in place of lasagne noodles in this deliciously over-the-top lasagne from Mary Ann Castaldi, the mother of her college roommate, who would send her daughter back to school with a giant pan of lasagne after weekends at home.

For tomato sauce

  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano, crumbled
  • 2 (28-oz) cans whole tomatoes in juice, drained, reserving juice, and finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1 Turkish or 1/2 California bay leaf
  • 1 teaspoon salt

For meatballs

  • 1 1/2 cups coarse fresh bread crumbs (from an Italian or French loaf)
  • 1/3 cup whole milk
  • 1 lb meatloaf mix (1/3 lb each of ground pork, ground chuck, and ground veal)
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 oz finely grated Pecorino Romano (1/2 cup)
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 cup vegetable oil

For filling

  • 1 lb ricotta (preferably fresh)
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • 1 oz finely grated Pecorino Romano (1/2 cup)
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

For pasta and assembly

  • 3/4 lb dried egg fettuccine
  • 1/2 lb chilled fresh mozzarella, coarsely grated

Make sauce:

  • Heat oil in a 5- to 6-quart heavy pot over moderately high heat until hot but not smoking, then sauté onion, stirring occasionally, until golden, about 6 minutes. Add garlic and oregano and sauté, stirring, 1 minute. Add tomatoes with reserved juice, tomato paste, bay leaf, and salt and simmer, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until thickened, 30 to 35 minutes. Discard bay leaf.

Form and fry meatballs:

  • Stir together bread crumbs and milk in a large bowl and let stand 10 minutes. Add meat, garlic, cheese, egg, parsley, salt, and pepper and blend with your hands until just combined well (do not overmix). Form level 1/2-teaspoon portions into meatballs (you should have about 135).
  • Heat oil in a 10-inch heavy skillet over moderate heat until hot but not smoking, then fry meatballs in 5 batches (do not crowd), turning occasionally, until browned well and cooked through, about 2 minutes per batch. Transfer as browned to paper towels using a slotted spoon.

Make filling:

  • Stir together all filling ingredients until combined well.

Boil and bake pasta:

  • Put oven rack in middle position and preheat oven to 425°F.
  • Cook pasta in a 6- to 8-quart pot of boiling salted water, uncovered, until al dente. Drain in a colander, then rinse under cold water and drain again.
  • Spread 2 cups sauce in a 13- by 9-inch or other 3-quart glass or ceramic baking dish and arrange one third of fettuccine over sauce, then top with all of meatballs. Make another layer each of 2 cups sauce and one third of fettuccine, then spread with all of filling. Top with remaining fettuccine, then remaining sauce. Sprinkle evenly with mozzarella.
  • Bake, loosely covered with foil, 10 minutes. Remove foil and bake until sauce is bubbling and cheese is golden, about 20 minutes more. Transfer to a rack and cool, about 20 minutes.
Cooks’ note: Sauce can be made 3 days ahead and cooled completely, uncovered, then chilled, covered.
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