Baked Lasagne in Broth alla Molisana; Recipe from Molise.
This baked lasagne in broth is a very very old recipe from the tiny Southern Italian region of Molise. It is absolutely scrumptious and so worth the time it takes to make!
Lasagne al brodo alla Molisana.
Baked lasagne in broth is a typical dish from Molise, Italy’s second smallest region. This Molise version of lasagne al forno is totally unlike the better-known, classic lasagna alla Bolognese.
This is a unique dish, so worth the effort it takes to make. It's very nutritious, warming and comforting in winter. In this recipe, you fill the layers between the lasagne sheets with small veal meatballs, shredded veal and chicken from the broth and mozzarella. Then, you bake and serve the lasagna in the broth.
A recipe that dates back to Ancient Rome.
This is a really ancient recipe, the origins of which date back to Roman times. The original pasta used in this recipe would have been lagane, a type of rustic fresh pasta made from just flour and water, typical of the Southern Italian regions.
This pasta differs in size depending on the cook and the area. However, it is usually thicker and wider than tagliatelle but narrower than lasagne or made into squares.
One of the first references to a similar recipe can be found in the ancient Roman cookbook by Apicio called ‘De Re Coquinaria’. This book dates back to 1st century AD!
Lagane pasta cooked in broth with vegetables and meat, especially chicken, was also a typical Southern Italian dish made for families in mourning in a tradition known as ‘lo cunzuole’, meaning condolences. In the past, neighbours would cook lagane in broth and bring it to the home of the deceased for the family and funeral guests to eat after they returned from the cemetery.
There is actually a festival dedicated to baked lasagne in broth (or ‘sagna ‘in the local dialect) in the town of Guglionesi (Campobasso) in Molise every August. However, this is really a dish that is more suited to the winter. In fact, traditionally, baked lasagne in broth is often on the menu for St. Stephen's Day on December 26th.
Worth the time it takes!
Baked lasagne in broth requires a bit of time to prepare and can’t be hurried. So, this is a dish for Sundays or holidays, as is traditional in Molise. However, you can divide the preparation into steps, a couple of which can be done the day before. You can make the broth and boiled meat in advance. Plus, the meatballs can be prepared in advance too, either cooked or uncooked.
Fresh or dried pasta.
If you decide to make homemade lasagne, I would do it the same day. Of course, assembling and baking this dish needs to be done just prior to eating. For this recipe, I used ready made fresh lasagne sheets from Giovanni Rana. You can also use dried lasagne sheets, but you will need to blanch them slightly in boiling water for best results.
Baked lasagne in broth reheats well and we had leftovers the following day. However, it was most delicious straight from the oven. Even though this is a time consuming dish to make, I have to say it is seriously delicious. It is definitely so worth the effort. I’m sure that you will agree with me if you try it!
If you make this baked lasagne in broth recipe, I’d love to hear how it turns out and if you liked it. So, please leave a comment here on the blog or on The Pasta Project Facebook page.
Looking forward to hearing from you!
Save this recipe for later?
If you want to save this recipe for later, you can print it, bookmark this page or save it to Pinterest.