Joi Ito's Web

Joi Ito's conversation with the living web.

There is something special about good old American Lasagne done well. I personally like it better than traditional Italian Lasagne. Recently, I've been using a ragu sauce taken from the Harry's Bar Cookbook (thanks to Christine Schoepf of Ars Electronica for recommending this great book to me!) with a more traditional American Lasagne recipe. The ragu may be a little to... "fancy" tasting for the lasagne, but I'm not sure. I'm going to try to modify the sause a bit in the future... But below is my "current recipe" for my favorite lasagne. (If you like the Ragu, by the book. The link above is to's entry for the book.)

The Ragu

  • 1 carrot, peeled
  • 1 celery rib
  • 1 small onion
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1/2 cup tomato paste
  • 2 table spoons flour
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 1 quart veal stock
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • fresh ground peper
  • bouquet garni (1 fresh rosemary sprig, 1 fresh thyme sprig, 2 flat-leaf parsley sprigs tied in cheesecloth

Chop carrot, celery and onion. Use 1/2 of the oil and saute the vegetables over medium heat for 10 minutes. In another pan, heat remaining oil, add garlic, cook for about 30 seconds and discard garlic. Add the beef. Cook the meet until brown (approx 10 min.). Combine everything and add the tomato paste. Cook for 2 minutes. Add flour and cool another 2 minutes. Raise the heat, add wine, evaporate wine, add stock, salt, pepper, bouquet garni. Bring to boil, reduce heat, add and simmer for 1 hour stirring from time to time.

This sauce makes a very good spagetti sauce too.

The Lasagne

  • 8 oz. Lasagne
  • 15 oz. Ricotta cheese
  • 8 oz. shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 2 tables spoons grated Parmesan cheese (grate yourself!)
  • 1 egg
  • 2 teaspoons dried parsley flakes
  • salt
  • fresh ground pepper

Boil pasta. Lay flat on foil to cool. Eat oven to 350F. In a bowl, stir ricotta, 1 cup mozarella, parmesan cheese, egg and seasonings. In baking dish, spread 1/2 ragu, place pasta 1 layer, spread 1/2 ricotta mixture over pasta, cover with 1 cup ragu. Repeat layers of pasta, ricotta mixture and ragu. Top with pasta, ragu and mozzarella cheese. Cover ith foil and bake for 30 minutes. Remove foil and bake for another 15 minutes or until hot and bubbly. Let stand 10 minutes. 10-12 servings.