Donatella and Lello’s Lasagna

Donatella and Lello’s Lasagna


Serves 8-10

  • 1 recipe Basic Pasta Dough (or store-bought lasagna sheets)
  • 2 tablespoons salt
  • 1½ recipes ragu Napoletana, cooled, meat reserved for another use and sausages thinly sliced, recipe follows
  • 3 cups ricotta
  • 1 recipe cooked and cooled meatballs (using 1 pound beef)
  • 1½ cups freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
  • 1 pound fresh mozzarella, shredded


  • ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 celery stalks, with leaves, chopped
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1½ pounds (about 8) meaty, bone-in pork spareribs, rinsed
  • 1½ pounds (about 6-8) sweet Italian sausages with fennel seeds, pierced all over with a fork
  • 1 garlic clove, chopped
  • 1 cup red wine
  • 3 (35-ounce) cans tomato puree
  • Handful of fresh basil leaves


  • Make the pasta dough according to the recipe and roll out to the thinnest setting on a pasta rolling machine. Cut the pasta into strips 5 inches wide and 10 inches long. Cover with a damp towel and set aside. (If store-bought, follow directions on package.)
  • Bring about 6 quarts of water to a boil and add 2 tablespoons salt. Set up an ice bath next to the stovetop and cook the lasagna 1 minute in the boiling water. Drain, refresh in the ice bath, and drain again. Lay out on clean, damp towels.
  • In a 10-by-20-inch lasagna pan, layer the lasagna, beginning with ¾ cup ragu, then a layer of pasta, then a layer of ricotta, then a layer of meatballs and sausage, then a layer of Parmigiano and mozzarella. Use all ingredients. The top layer should be covered with cheese.
  • Bake 1 hour 15 minutes at 350 degrees till edges bubble. Let rest minimum 30 minutes before slicing.

To make the sauce:

  • Warm the olive oil in a large, heavy-bottomed pot over medium heat. Add the celery and onion, generously season with salt and pepper, and sauté, partially covered, about 5 minutes, until golden and soft.
  • Add the ribs and sausage in a single layer, raise the heat to medium-high and sauté, again partially covered, turning occasionally until the meat is nicely browned all over.
  • Add the garlic and cool until fragrant, about 1 minute.
  • Add the wine and cook until it evaporates, about 5 minutes.
  • Add the tomato puree and the basil and season generously with salt and pepper. Partially cover, bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and let the sauce simmer quietly for 1½ to 2 hours, adjusting the heat as necessary to prevent it from boiling.



Donatella Arpaia

Donatella Arpaia is a chef, restaurateur, entrepreneur, and mother. She has built an empire of successful restaurants drawing on the skills, passion, methods, and love for food she learned from her family.