This is what we are serving for Christmas dinner at the Stone household. Enjoy!

  • ½ cup plus 2 tablespoons fine-quality olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons tomato paste
  • oil
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 5 cups water
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 pounds ricotta cheese
  • 2 pounds lean ground beef
  • 1 pound hot or sweet Italian sausage meat, removed from casings and chopped
  • 1 pound lasagna noodles
  • ½ cup red wine
  • 2 cups grated fresh mozzarella cheese
  • 3 28-ounce cans imported San Marzano Italian tomatoes, with juice, hand-crushed
  • 1 cup freshly grated Pecorino Romano cheese
  • 1 pound fresh mozzarella cheese, sliced

1. Heat ½ cup oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Mash garlic with a teaspoon of salt in a mortar and pestle. Add onion and garlic and sauté for 3 minutes. Stir in the beef and sauté for 5 minutes or until well browned. Remove the beef with a slotted spoon and set aside. Add the sausage to the saucepan and sauté until browned. Return beef to saucepan.

2. Add the wine to the saucepan and cook for 5 minutes or until it has evaporated.

3. Stir in tomatoes, tomato paste, and water. Add salt and pepper. Simmer, stirring occasionally, for about 2 hours or until thick and rich in flavor. If needed, add more water, a quarter cup at a time.

4. Add the noodles and remaining 2 tablespoons oil to a large, deep pot filled with rapidly boiling salted water. Cook noodles until al dente. Drain well in a colander and run under cold running water to stop the cooking process. Put noodles, in a single layer, on clean, damp kitchen towels. Cover with clean, damp towels.

5. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

6. Ladle a thin layer of meat sauce into a lasagne pan (12 x 18 x 2 inches or 14 x 10 x 3 inches). Cover with noodles, laid lengthwise, then cover noodles with a layer of meat sauce. Spread a thin, smooth layer of ricotta over the meat sauce. Sprinkle with grated mozzarella and Pecorino Romano. Continue layers of pasta, sauce, and cheese, alternating the pasta in opposite directions for each layer (lengthwise, then crosswise, etc.). Finish with a layer of meat sauce covered with sliced mozzarella and sprinkle with Pecorino Romano.

7. Bake in preheated oven for about 45 minutes or until cheese topping has melted and lasagna is bubbling.

8. Remove from oven and allow to rest for 15 minutes before cutting into squared and serving.