Curly Edged ThinLasagna with Ricotta and Pork Ragu’  

Lasagnetta Riccia con Ricotta e Ragu’ di Maiale

Lasagna Cacata

 

This lasagna was originally made in Modica, a flourishing town in the province  of  Ragusa , and it is now prepared all over Sicily .
Like
 Ragusa , Modica has many churches, monuments and buildings in the baroque style and an intricate history of many rulers until the count of Chiaramonte in the XIII century ruled the County  of  Modica  , which extended to almost one third of the entire Island  . The county had its own laws and minted its own money. It remained independent until 1860 when it was annexed to Italy
.
Modica is an agricultural area growing mostly legumes, cereals, olives and fodder for roaring pigs and cattle to supply the local cured pork industry and milk for the creameries to make the caciocavallo Ragusano. Beside the cheese factories, furniture and textiles industries have been established in recent times.

 

Caciocavallo

 

Modica is also famous for the production of chocolate in the traditional Aztec method and for the 1959 Nobel prize in literature awarded to Salvatore Quasimodo who was born there.
The lasagna with ricotta and ragu’ is a popular dish especially prepared on holydays in Modica and in the entire
 Island 
.
It is a delicious dish with an unfortunate name; this is the reason that you do not find often the lasagna cacata in restaurant menus.
My family called this dish pasticcio di pasta, meaning kind of a dish of pasta with a sauce composed of many ingredients.
The original recipe is made with pork meat and fresh pig skin stewed in tomato sauce for a long time; after a few hours, sliced and chopped in tiny pieces and returned to the tomato sauce to make with the ricotta and the caciocavallo Ragusano, the lasagne cacate.
To make this recipe easy to prepare, the pork stew is substituted for the sausages, without changing much of the taste, on the contrary the sausage meat being seasoned add to the taste of the sauce.
The lasagna cacata is tossed with the sauce, ricotta and cheese and it is not prepared in layers like the traditional lasagna.
The type of dry pasta used is narrower lasagna curled only on one side or on both sides.
If you cannot find it, use the Colavita Mafalda Pasta, imported from
 Italy  and available in the best gourmets’ shops in the USA .  

 Mafalde Colavita

Serves 4 to 6

Ingredients   

  • 1 lb. dry curly lasagna    
  • 1 ½ lb. ricotta, if it is too dry dilute with some water from pasta  
  • ½ lb. grated caciocavallo or parmesan cheese  
  • 3 tablespoons of olive oil  
  • 1 large minced onion  
  • 1 lb. sausage with casing removed   
  • ½ lb.fresh pig skin (cotica) or pancetta or prosciutto sliced in small and thin pieces  
  • ½ glass of red wine  
  • 1 can tomato paste (6 oz.) diluted in 2 cups of water  
  • 1 can 14 oz. Italian peeled tomatoes, chopped, with their own juice   
  • 1 bay leaf  
  • 1 tablespoon of chopped Italian parsley leaves  
  • Salt and pepper to taste  

    

Preparation 


Over a medium heat, in a 6 quart sauce pot combines the olive oil and the onion; cook until onion is golden in color.

 

Olive OilChopping OnionsThe Wine

 

 

Add the sausage with casing removed and the pig skin, stir continuously until it begins to brown, use a wooden spoon to mash any clumps of meat.

 Making the Sauce

 

Add in the wine, raise the heat to high and continue cooking until the alcohol has evaporated.
Put in the tomato paste diluted in water and cook for a few minutes. Mix in the peeled tomatoes and the parsley, taste for salt and pepper and add the bay leaf.
Sauce should be a little watery, if necessary add additional water.
Lower the flame and simmer for 45 minutes.
Let it rest a few minutes, then skim off any excessive fat, set aside and keep warm.
In a large pot filled with an abundant amount of salted water, cook the lasagna pasta al dente reducing the recommended cooking time by 3 minutes.

Lasagnette Mafalde

When pasta is ready, drain, return to the pot where it was cooked. Over medium heat toss pasta with one half of sauce, the ricotta and 3 tablespoons of grated cheese. Keep stirring for about 2 minutes.
Pour half of the pasta into a serving dish making a first layer, sprinkle with a little sauce and some grated cheese.

La Lasagna

 

Top with the remaining lasagna and cover with some sauce and cheese.
Serve with the remaining sauce and cheese on the side.

If you are preparing in advance it can be baked at the last minute.
Grease a mold or pan with olive oil.
When pasta is ready, drain, return to the pot where it was cooked and toss pasta with one half of sauce, half of the ricotta and 3 tablespoons of grated cheese.
Make a first layer, using about one half of pasta, top with a few tablespoons of ricotta, cover with sauce and sprinkle a little grated cheese.
Top with the remaining lasagna and ricotta, cover with some sauce and cheese.
Bake at 450 degrees for 20 minutes, or until bubbling at the edges.
If lasagna was refrigerated bring to room temperature before baking.
Serve with the remaining sauce and grated cheese on the side.

 

 

 

Lasagna Cacata

 

Grated CheeseSauce