The Lasagna of My People — Lasagna dei Bartolini

The third week of January is another birthday week for the Bartolini Clan. Nonna’s birthday was January 26th, a date my Cousin shares with her. Not to be outdone, tomorrow, the 24th, is my birthday. It’s not a significant one but, boy, am I getting close! In the past, I’ve tried to pick a dish as a means of celebrating the person and birthday. Well, with that in mind, today I’m going to share what I consider to be one of the jewels in the Bartolini Crown of Recipes: Bartolini Lasagna.

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As I’ve mentioned in prior posts, ours is not a ricotta-filled lasagna. In fact, ricotta isn’t even among the three cheeses used. (I’ve a recipe for a ricotta lasagna and I’ll share it sometime in the future.) This lasagna’s cheese filling is entirely a Bartolini invention, although not the way I had always believed. For years, I assumed that this was one of the recipes that my Grandma had taught her girls. I told my friends that, as well. You can imagine my surprise when, a short while ago, Zia corrected me and explained how this recipe came about.  Years ago — certainly before my memories begin — she & Mom had grown tired of ricotta-filled lasagne and were dissatisfied with those that called for a besciamella sauce. They decided to try something different and, Ecco! Bartolini Lasagna was born. This is a lasagna that is unlike most others and one that family and friends alike thoroughly enjoy.

Speaking of friends, did I mention that this lasagna has therapeutic qualities? Yes, there is that. You see, one of the unfortunate consequences of maturing is that the good health one took for granted before reaching the age of 40 may not be as apparent beyond that age. Things happen and, when they do, oftentimes friends and family will respond with a variety of foods and baked goods to assist in the recuperation. Well, when illness strikes a friend, I hit back with lasagna. That’s right. Bartolini Lasagna. I know that when I’ve been in a similar situation, there were times when eating was, shall we say, problematic. On those occasions when my appetite did return, it often vanished — or worse — by the time I got my meal on the stove. A casserole, however, solves that problem. A serving can be placed in the microwave and served within a few minutes, ensuring the patient receives much-needed calories to fuel the recovery. And what better casserole-type dish is there than lasagna? It certainly has the calories and, by any standard of measurement, Bartolini Lasagna has proved beneficial to each friend’s convalescence. OK, to be fair, our lasagna isn’t comparable to the waters of Lourdes and you certainly won’t find any crutches hanging from my kitchen’s ceiling. Follow our recipe, though, and you’ll have one tasty lasagna. Even Lourdes can’t do that.

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This is normally where I would mention points of concern for the day’s recipe. I really have none for our lasagna recipe other than to mention the noodles used. Today, you can purchase noodles that need to be cooked before use, “boil”, or those that need no prior cooking, “no boil.” Of course, if you prefer, you can make you own — which I would highly recommend.  No matter whose lasagna recipe you follow, using homemade noodles will transform your dish. (A friend once compared my lasagna noodles to pastry.) If you do make your own (see Notes), remember that they only need to be boiled for a few minutes and they’ll be ready for use in your lasagna. If you use “boil” noodles, follow the package directions. Once boiled, you can lay them flat on a baking tray, coating each with a little olive oil, or, lay them flat in a baking dish filled with cold water. Work quickly or they may stick to each other. If using “no boil” noodles, I’ve found that they work better if each is given a quick rinse in hot tap water before being placed in the lasagna dish/pan. Don’t fret if your noodles are a little larger that your baking dish or pan. The exposed edges will crisp during baking and many find that very enjoyable.

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The Bartolini Lasagna Recipe


Tomato Sauce (click on sauce name for recipe)

Cheese Sauce (see Notes)

  • 6 tbsp (85 g) butter
  • 12 oz (1½ pkg) (339 g) cream cheese
  • 2 – 3 tbsp (29 – 44 ml) milk
  • Pecorino Romano cheese, grated


  • Enough cooked lasagna noodles (or “No Boil”) to make 3 or 4 pasta layers (see Notes).
  • mozzarella (sliced or grated)
  • Pecorino Romano cheese, grated

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Prepare the Cheese Sauce

  1. Place butter, cream cheese, and milk in a microwave proof bowl. Place in microwave and cook, on High, for 3 to 4 minutes, depending upon the microwave’s power.
  2. Remove and whisk until smooth.
  3. Set aside

Assemble the Lasagna

  1. Pre-heat oven to 350* F (177˚ C).
  2. Generously butter a baking dish or non-reactive pan.

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3. Coat the bottom of the dish with tomato sauce.

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 4. Add 1 layer of noodles.

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5. Coat the noodles with tomato sauce.

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6. Add ½ or ⅓ of the cheese sauce, depending upon the number of layers,  and spread evenly. Sprinkle with Pecorino Romano.

Repeat Steps 4, 5, and 6 once or twice depending upon noodles used and dish/pan’s depth. (See Notes)

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7. Add a final layer of noodles.

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8. Cover with the rest of the tomato sauce.

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9. Place the mozzarella on top and sprinkle with Pecorino Romano cheese.

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10. Place in pre-heated oven and bake until heated through, 40 – 45 minutes or until top layer of cheese is cooked to your liking. If using sliced mozzarella, once the lasagna has baked for 45 minutes, raise the oven temperature to 400˚ F (205˚ C) and continue until top layer of cheese is done.

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Let rest 15 minutes before serving.

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I use Mom’s Pasta Dough recipe for making lasagna noodles. This will result in approximately 1½ pounds (680 g) of dough. I used about 14 oz (500 g) of dough to make my noodles for an 11 X 7″ (28 X 18 cm) pan. Now, you can cut Mom’s recipe to make less dough, or, you can do as I do. Roll out the extra dough and use it to make linguine, fettuccine, pappardelle, fazzoletti,  or quadretti.

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Fold, Cut, & Unfurl Pappardelle

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When making homemade lasagna noodles, I roll them by machine until they are a little thicker than what I use for making linguine or pappardelle. If your rollers are at their widest at a setting of 1, then roll your dough up to and including setting 5. If your rollers are at their widest at 10, then roll your dough up to and including setting 6.

Much depends upon the type of noodles you use and the size of the baking dish or pan. If using store-bought noodles, “boil” or “no boil,” you’ll probably only be able to have 3 layers of noodles. If using homemade noodles, you can create another layer, if you wish. This is because store-bought noodles are thicker than those you’ll make by hand.

The amount of cheese sauce prepared in the recipe is intended for use in a 9 X 13″ (23  X 33 cm) baking dish. For that size dish, I estimate about 4 oz (113 g) of cream cheese and 2 tbsp (28.3 g) of butter for every layer of cheese sauce needed. Since I used homemade lasagna noodles, there were 4 layers of noodles and 3 layers of cheese sauce.

For a smaller dish/pan of 11 X 7″ (28 X 18 cm), no matter what kind of pasta or how many layers are created, I use 8 oz of cream cheese (226 g) and 4 tbsp (56.6 g) of butter with a little milk. If you prefer, you can scale back the ingredients, following my example with the larger pan. For me, frankly, scaling back the cream cheese would result in an ounce or 2 of cream cheese left in my fridge, where it will probably spoil before I think of it again. As they say, “In for a penny, in for a pound.” Might as well use all 8 oz and be done with it.

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While discussing this recipe with Zia this past weekend, I learned that she prepares the cheese sauce differently than Mom did. Where Mom prepared her cheese sauce using butter, cream cheese, and a little milk, Zia only uses cream cheese and milk. She does, however, use enough milk to make up for the amount of butter Mom used. In short, Zia has never used butter in her lasagna while Mom and I’ve never made lasagna without it. Who knew?

As is the case with any lasagna or homemade pasta, you can go green, verde, if you like. When making your dough, add a few tablespoons of cooked, finely chopped spinach. The effect will be to die your pasta dough green. Use as you would any regular pasta dough.

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It’s déjà vu all over again …

Not My Mom’s Lasagna

Since today’s post shared a lasagna recipe, I thought I would end with another. Using last week’s Blast from the Past Marinara Sauce, this lasagna features a parmesan besciamella with a layer of mushrooms and another with prosciutto.  Surprisingly light, the flavors within this lasagna are equally delicate. You can check out the recipe by clicking HERE.

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222 thoughts on “The Lasagna of My People — Lasagna dei Bartolini

  1. Almost your birthday? Where does the time go? Happy Birthday John!
    Beautiful photos of the series of steps. You know I am not making any noodles but I think I could make this recipe for guests. Soon. Glad you are going up to the twenties. We are in single digits still and that pesky windchill. Brrrr. Your post today is comforting, just to look at. Have a happy year.

    • Thank you, Ruth, for your kindly comments and birthday wishes. Yes, the year flew by. They seem to be going faster and faster and that just isn’t right!
      Yes, tomorrow will reach the 20s but right now it’s 11˚ and I spent a few hours in the basement playing helper to a furnace repairman. I really wasn’t expecting to learn a new trade this evening and that was one expensive class! :)

  2. First of all, Happy Birthday.

    Oh boy….this lasagna looks decadent. I have no doubt this has therapeutic qualities! This screams comfort food to me. :) Those crisp edges are looking wonderful. I’m sure that adds a wonderful texture and flavor to this dish.

    • Welcome, Amy, and thank you for the birthday wishes. Yes, this is one great tasting lasagna and the crispy edges are the best! I hope you try it one day and enjoy it as much as we all do.
      Thanks for visiting and taking the time to comment. Do come again! :)

  3. When I read your last post, the first thing that came to mind was lasagne (okay, I always think of lasagne when there’s a pot of meat sauce around). Now I’ve got my pot of sauce (and the wine disappeared into the mix, just as you said — a triumph!), I’m ready to try lasagna Bartolini style. I can’t wait… Have a wonderful birthday!

    • Thank you for the birthday wishes and vote of confidence about the lasagna. I will say that I’ve made it for a number of ailing friends and dinner guests. Everyone has enjoyed it. I hope we’ll both be able to say the same once you’ve tried it. :)

  4. I’m going to visit a friend on Sunday and bring lasagna because she’s had a slipped disc operation and can’t stand up long enough to cook. I was planning on using your meat sauce in the lasagna. I’ve never used ricotta in lasagna before so I think I’ll try that before cream cheese. Thanks for sharing another wonderful family recipe!

    • You’re very welcome, Stefan. I’m sure your friend will appreciate your thoughtfulness, no matter what recipe you follow. I, too, went through a disc operation and yes, she will appreciate the convenience of your delicious lasagna. Thanks for leaving such a nice comment.

      • I’ve done some googling and found that in Italy ricotta is used in Lasagne alla Napoletana, also known as Lasagne di Carnevale. The recipe is quite complicated because it uses Ragù Napoletana, polpettine, hard-boiled eggs, different kinds of cheese, and sausages. Not sure if I’ll make this for my friend or wait for Carnevale to try it ;-)

        • I had an Italian cookbook that was in storage and received water damage. In it was the lasagna with eggs that you describe. I need to find a copy of that book. This lasagna wasn’t the only gem within it.

  5. Happy birthday for tomorrow. Cream cheese is most definitely an unusual ingredient. Sounds good to me though, especially as the sauce is made in the microwave. Lasagna is a wee bit labor-intensive so having one fast component is a bonus! Agree, lasagna is the perfect sick friend/new parents/moving house food gift.

    • Thank you for the birthday wishes and for leaving a comment. Yes,the cream cheese is very unusual and sets this lasagna apart from others. And, from experience, everyone loves it when you appear at their door holding a tray of lasagna. It never fails to bring a smile.

  6. Your lasagna looks absolutely amazing, but then again all your recipes do. I love cooking, and I am good at it but for some reason I’ve never made a lasagna, :). John, Happy Birthday – wish you a wonderful day tomorrow! :)

    • Thank you for your kind words and birthday wishes. Now, you really must end this lifelong lasagna drought you’ve endured and make yourself some. There’s nothing like sitting down to a dinner of your own lasagna. It’s the very definition of self-satisfaction. :)

    • That is quite a compliment, coming from you, Roger, and you’ve made my night. Been battling a most uncooperative furnace and was heading to sofa when I read this. I’ll have a smile on my face now — and a book to find tomorrow. Thank you very much.

    • Thank you very much. The weather now in the Northern Hemisphere is just perfect for lasagna. It will warm the kitchen and fill it with a wonderful aroma. I hope you do prepare it, no matter whose recipe you follow. :)

  7. I just pinned this one. I am looking at the crispy bits on the side, love when that happens. How interesting that you use and entire sheet of pasta, that is a great idea. I would love if I ever got sick and you visited me with a dish of lasagna…

    • If we lived closer to each other, you wouldn’t need to be sick, BAM. Our lasagna can be used as preventative medicine, almost like a vaccination. :)
      If you use a smaller, 11 X 7″ baking dish, one homemade noodle cut from a sheet of dough made with a pasta machine will expand during cooking and fill the dish from side to side. i cut its length so that it will also extend a bit over the top and bottom. I really enjoy those crispy bits, as does everyone else.

  8. Love the idea of cream cheese in the cheese sauce. Your recipe looks delicious John.

    I’ve never made my own pasta – I’ve always either bought it dried, fresh or frozen. I would love to have a go with a pasta making machine though. I’ve seen it on TV and it looks like fun – but I would imagine it takes lots of practice!

    • Thank you, Marianne. The real thing about making pasta is the dough. You have to get a feel for it and that will only come through experience. Too wet and it won’t cut properly. Too dry and it will shatter before you’ve cut it all. Using the pasta machine is easy but it, too, takes practice. Get yourself a pasta machine, a bottle of wine, and invite a friend to come for dinner. I guarantee you two will have a fun time in the kitchen that day! :)

  9. [Huge smile!] Happy birthday, John: well, it’s almost the 24th here!! Thank God you are an Aquarius: I ‘do’ well with them, but have absolutely no luck with Capricorns [sorry!]. You are taking us to task: you do assume we have done our ‘homework’ re your previous recipes – then the family lasagna is indeed easy to prepare :D! Well, I refuse to use any ‘no boil’ pasta and I hate to tell you I would not get any culinary satisfaction out of making a cheese sauce in a microwave!! Stir in a pot on the stove until it feels right :!!!! Shall look up the alternate suggestions! DO have a fabulous day of love and togetherness, food and laughter when the hours reach you!!!! Oops, nearly forgot the vino . . .

    • Thank you, Eha, for the birthday wishes and leaving comments that always leave me smiling.
      Now, I thought about amending the recipe to say “stovetop” rather than “microwave” but that’s now how I prepare the cheese sauce. After preparing the tomato sauce, kneading the dough, cutting & cooking the noodles, and with the assembly still before me, nuking the cheese sauce isn’t such a bad idea. The time I save I can use to start cleaning the mess in my kitchen. Lasagna Day is not very kind to it. :)

      • You cannot make an omelette without breaking eggs ;) ! Good morning, John – I’m about > soft, comfortable bed :) ! [PS: hate nuking, to me that is still an 'artificial' process the safety I do not quite like: love the real feel of cooking . . . ]

  10. Your post is so interesting. I have always used the besciamella sauce method which I have never been over excited about. Your recipe has excited me! cream cheese and mozzarella wonderful. Your writing today also painted a warm picture of your mother and aunt changing the recipe, I wonder what your grandmother thought of the new changes?! Its these threads that make up the tapestry of our family history. What we don’t realise is how important these are – they hold the whole fabric together. Thank you for sharing these wonderful insights to your family recipes.

    • Thank you, Maria, for writing such a thoughtful comment.
      I find it amazing that so many of the stories I write are buried deep within my memory banks or those of my Zia. It’s only until we start talking about this dish or that one, that the memories are unlocked and we remember things that I eventually write about. A story I write here will then trigger a memory with another family member and a story for another post. “Threads that make up the tapestry of our family history,” indeed.

  11. Unbelievable! You have the same birthday as my mum! Happy birthday to you for tomorrow. I love the look of this lasagne. Mine always looks a bit messy when plated but yours has held it’s shape really well xx

    • What a coincidence! I hope your Mum had a lovely birthday, Charlie. Mine was plenty of fun. Not one meal or drink was personally paid for all day! And I’ve 2 more dinners yet this weekend. This is why I don’t start the New Year off on a diet. If I’ve not gone off of it by now, I surely will when my birthday comes around.
      When I make lasagna, letting it sit at least 10 or 15 minutes to give the cheese a chance to set. The first serving is problematic, at best. The second fares much better.

  12. I love your approach to therapy John. Epic looking lasagne. When one reaches my age, one stops being concerned with the additional years. Warren Buffet put it beautifully when talking about himself and Charlie Munger. He reckons that they advance in age at a slower percentage rate than any 50 year old CEO and as a result offer better long term value to their company.
    I am offering real value…

    • Thanks, Conor, for the compliment and anecdote. Buffet is a hero of mine, a true philanthropist. I just watched an interview of him on Sunday. His is such an incredible life story. I really don’t sweat birthdays, either. What’s the alternative to having another one? ;)

    • When you make pasta, Teri, the noodles will expand somewhat during the boiling process. Coming out of the pasta rollers, they are 6 inches wide. I cut them so that they were about 9.5 inches long. Once cooked, I put them into an 11 X 7″ baking dish and they had expanded enough to overflow the dish. The result was crunchy perfection after baking.
      Thanks for the birthday wishes!

  13. Nothing strengthens a friendship like the gift of food–but I am sure that receiving a Bartolini lasagna with those homemade noodles is beyond coveted! Wow! John, lasagna is the one dish that my husband makes and he prides himself on the recipe that he has created. I know that he would love your version too (we all would for that matter). I am looking forward to trying this version with the cream cheese….if I can wrestle the lasagna noodles out of my husbands hands! Happy birthday! (You have picked the perfect comforting dish for this cold weather we are having!)

    • Thank you for the nice compliment. The thing that I like most about this lasagna is its uniqueness. No one expects cream cheese and everyone really likes it. I hope you can get your Husband on board and that you all like our lasagna as much as my family does. We’ll send the complimentary “I’m An Honorary Bartolini” t-shirts soon thereafter. :)

  14. First, let me say Happy Birthday, John! I hope you have a lovely day tomorrow and I am so thankful that I found your blog….what, over two years ago now I think! I thoroughly enjoy every one of your mouth watering posts and have loved hearing about your family history.

    Second, WOW. What an absolutely incredible looking lasagna. I’ve never even seen noodles that fit the whole dish! But the again, I’ve never made my own. Although the Bartolini Lasagna wouldn’t be exactly therapeutic for those of us allergic to dairy and gluten, I can certainly see the therapeutic aspects for those who aren’t! Just one slice of your lovely lasagna would be worth the 3 days of “ick” it would cause me. Ha! But if I went off the dairy and gluten wagon for a day…I would think I could manage 3 slices. ;)

    ~ April

    • Thank you so much, April. You’ve always been such a big supporter, even though much of what I share is personally verboten. I wish I could find a recipe for GF pasta dough that can be frozen. That way I could make dishes for my GF Cousin. I’ve yet to find one. After that, I’ll look for a cream cheese substitute, one that not only matches its taste but that melts, too. I’ll get there or technology will. It will happen though. Just look at the strides made in the last decade. We’ll get there, April, to be sure. :)

  15. When I read that your lasagna had healing properties I was intrigued; everyone knows that chicken soup has healing properties particularly when the stomach’s constitution is not as hardy as could be to bear anything else. But after that, there is lasagna? Who knew. And that cheese sauce sounds like an incredible alternative to béchamel, John, if not preferred! Thank you for sharing such a personal recipe, and when lasagna is on the menu (and it is often at my SILs), I will confidently volunteer my services knowing this recipe will not only satisfy, but WOW in the very same forkful!
    We went through an extreme February in the late 80s with a problematic boiler; 15 servicemen and 6 days later, it was fixed—I do wish you a significantly better experience.
    Happy Birthday tomorrow, John. Benchmark or not, you certainly deserve to be pampered on your special day. I shall raise a glass to your health! Have the happiest of days.

    • I’m honored, Eva, that you would consider serving our lasagna to your family. Thank you so much. I can only hope that you all, your SIL included, enjoy this as much as we all do.
      The boiler is working again at normal capacity. I can only hope that it continues to do so for a couple more years so that I get my money’s worth from this repair. A new one, though, is definitely in my future. Would that this happened in March instead of the coldest days in 2 years. We could have endured a week without heat while it was replaced. To replace it now would mean I’d have had to place the Family Upstairs in a hotel for the duration and board my parrot, on top of everything else. Still, the bottom line is the building is heated and all’s well with minimal interruption to anyone’s day-to-day routine. It could have been very much worse, as you can testify.
      Thanks, Eva, for the birthday wishes. :)

  16. We are WAAAY overdue for a lasagna around here! Interesting, with the cream cheese…Hubby won’t eat it, so I’ll have to do ricotta.
    Don’t ask why – I’ve never gotten a straight answer on it myself…
    Have a wonderful Birthday tomorrow!

    • Thanks, Marie. I was long overdue for a lasagna, too. It had been close to a year since I had made one for myself. It sure was nice to see it in the oven. Anticipation!
      I just don’t get it, Marie. How could a Man have such marvelous taste and choose such a wonderful Spouse yet have such rotten taste when it comes to lasagna. Go figure. ;)
      Thanks, too, for the birthday wishes.

  17. This is beautiful!!! Oh my, I cannot wait to try this! I don’t make lasagna because my kids won’t eat the ricotta, but alas, now I don’t have to worry about that-there’s a cheese sauce! You Bartolini’s are so smart! Happy, happy birthday John! Hope it’s filled with good food, friends and lots of wine (I’ll be drinking in your honor)!!!

    • Thanks, Tanya, for the birthday wishes and compliments. (Don’t worry about the wine. Consider it done. (hic))
      I think your kids will love this. Who in the young set doesn’t like cream cheese? I can tell you the two Boys Upstairs absolutely love this lasagna. I hope your kids do, too. :)

  18. HAPPY BIRTHDAY! SO I see you are turning 29 tomorrow? ;-) Cool age, enjoy it, my friend!

    Now, your lasagna post is a masterpiece and I am so glad you shared it, including the pasta recipe. You see, I made once lasagna with the pasta and all from scratch (before my blogging days, unfortunately) and was blown away by how good it was. The lasagna with home made pasta has this “unity” that is unlike anything made with store bought pasta. I should be brave and do it again, and when I do, I’ll be using your full recipe, how about that?

    Will make a toast for your Bday tomorrow!

    • And now you begin by giving me a quote for my Curriculum vitae. Thank you for that and the smile it gave me. ;)
      You’ve made your own lasagna noodles so you know good the end-result is. There really is no comparison. Yes, it’s more work that just sticking some “no boil” sheet in a tray but, if you’re going to make lasagna, then MAKE LASAGNA!!!
      Thanks for the birthday wishes. Salute!

  19. John, the happiest birthday wishes to you! Thank you for treating us with such a delightful dish, it suites the occasion perfectly! For me, I don’t need a birthday cake, give me some lasagna and I would be the happiest person! :) Making pasta following by making lasagna is a therapeutic thing to begin with. I like that quiet rhythm of kneading the dough, it is so calming… :) I need to tell you a secret: I use whatever cheeses I have in my lasagna, even farmer’s cheese. Pecorino Romano is my all time favorite so I put it on everything. :)

    • Thank you, Marina, for leaving such a warm comment and birthday wishes. I, too, enjoy making pasta dough and even cutting the pasta by hand. I get into a rhythm that I really find relaxing. I, also, have made many lasagne that are as you’ve done, with whatever cheeses I find in my fridge. Although good, mine do not compare to Mom’s. This one, with the cream cheese, is far better than any of the others I’ve made. My friends will all verify my statement, too. And yes, Pecorino Romano is the Bartolini Family favorite, too. I start to get panicky if I don’t have a chunk of it, in reserve, in one of my fridge’s drawers. :)

  20. Happy almost birthday John! I hope you enjoy a wonder day and all you wishes come true! My dad’s birthday was on the 26th! Here again is another reason I feel like I know you so well!!
    I didn’t even guess you would be using cream cheese in your lasagna but I bet its very comforting good! No wonder its used for helping people feel better! Of course, I will need to try this out! And just as I got the hang of making your ricotta cheese, I won’t need it in this!

    • Thank you, Linda, and I’m more than happy — and honored — to share my birthday with your Dad, even if the dates aren’t exactly alike.
      You pretty much summed up what most people say when I present them with this lasagna for the first time. They expect something far heavier with ricotta. What this lacks in heft, it more than makes up for in richness. Cream cheese and butter make one rich cheese sauce!
      Don’t quit making ricotta!!! Follow Zia’s example and use it to stuff shells. And, of course, there’s that meatloaf recipe of yours. I still cannot wait to share it with Zia during my next visit. She is going to love it!!!

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    • Thanks, Glenda. The weather we’re both experiencing couldn’t be more opposite. Living here, lasagna is perfect. If I were in your heat wave, I’d be living on ice cream, no doubt about it. :)

  22. This lasagna looks very delicious and it has been a long time since I’ve made lasagna for my family. Maybe it would be time to correct that! Lovely story of your Bartolini lasagna.

    • Thank you so much. January weather is the perfect incentive to make lasagna, no matter whose recipe you follow. It is pure comfort food and will warm even the coldest of little bodies. :)

  23. What a beautiful sheet of noodle! And a wonderful recipe too. I bookmarked this one for my ‘must try’ file, which is saying something since we don’t eat much pasta anymore, it has to be a good one! Don’t know if I’ll be able to do an awesome sheet of dough like yours, but gotta try it. :)

    • Thanks, Judy, The dough sheet is quite easy to do. A pasta machine or KA attachment rollers, will create sheets of dough that are 6 inches wide. When cooked, they will swell and fill to overflowing an 11 X 7″ pan. For a 12 X 9″ pan, you’ll probably have to cut some noodles to cover a side because the noodle will not be wide enough. Either way, you don’t want them to exactly fit or you’ll miss out on the crispy edges created while baking. They are so very good!!!

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  26. Happy Day Before Your Birthday! And have a happy birthday tomorrow. ;-) The cheese sauce in this is certainly original. My usual lasagna is made with meat sauce and ricotta (plus mozzarella and either Romano or Parmesan, depending on my mood) and/or what I have on hand). And I’ll occasionally make one with besciamella sauce (very occasionally). But I’m really intrigued by the idea of the cream cheese sauce your mom and aunt devised. Very creative. I agree lasagna made with your own pasta dough is superb, and I’ve had decent enough luck with the store-bought ones you boil. Never tried the no-cook ones — sounds as if they’re OK. (Although nothing is ever as good as what you make yourself.) Anyway, I really do like the cheese sauce in this — definitely something I want to try. Thanks.

    • You are very welcome, John. once, Zia told me she was going to make a ricotta-based lasagna. I asked her why in the world she would want to do that! Our family lasagna is truly unique. I can get a ricotta-based lasagna in any restaurant, from greasy spoons to 4 star. I make a ricotta-based lasagna and it sounds like it’s much like yours. i do enjoy it, to be sure, but it is not anything like this one. I hope you do give it a try and come back to tell me about it.
      As always, thanks for commenting, John, and the birthday wishes.

  27. I hope you have the happiest of birthdays tomorrow John and I hope someone will be making you a birthday dinner as delectable as your lasagna looks!! Our family has always made lasagna with cottage cheese, mozarella and parmesan but I will definitely have to try the creme cheese!!
    Have a great day tomorrow and stay warm and well!!

    • Thank you so much, Chris. It was a fantastic birthday, I must admit. I, too, have had lasagna with cottage cheese. This one, though, is vastly different. I hope you do give it a try and like it as much as we all do.

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  30. i am sooo sick, does that mean I get a slice of that lasagna!!!! no I am not sick, that is some wonderful dish you got there and those pasta noodles, lovely!! Happy Birthday tomorrow John, I hope it is filled with love and laughter…m

  31. Jeez. Happy birthday even though we just met. All I can say is that my mouth is watering and that I am hungry. A horrible combination. Love the idea of cream cheese. Grew up using cottage cheese because I’m not sure ricotta could be found. Now use ricotta and must try cream cheese. Whew!

    • Thanks for the birthday wishes and for taking the time to comment.
      Thoughts of lasagna, or the promise of a lasagna dinner to be more exact, can certainly make you hungry. It’s appeal is practically universal. If you’ve got some time, I’ve a ricotta recipe that, unlike the real thing, isn’t dependent upon making mozzarella for its whey. Click HERE to check it out. I hope you like it and, if you do, you’ll never go ricotta-less again!!! :)

  32. John, food always tastes so much better with a backstory! I love that this is a true Bartolini creation, created by your mom and Zia. It looks and sounds delicious, and I’m sure will do a great deal more for the sick than the ubiquitous chicken soup! :) Love the huge slabs of mozzarella on the top too! x

    • Thanks, Celia. When the 2 Bartolini Girls put their heads together, great things resulted. This lasagna is their best work, in my humble opinion. :)
      That sliced mozzarella on top always brings oohs and aahs when I serve it. We do love our cheese!

  33. Well. Guess what we’re having for dinner this weekend. I cannot go any more than a few days without trying this! The pictures alone have me wanting to claw through the computer. (If only that would work!) You know I’m an Italian food/pasta junkie. I think lasagna was one of the first that I learned to make. My college roommate taught me. She used cottage cheese in place of ricotta, so I’ve been used to lasagnas without it. This version sounds absolutely to die for. I seriously can’t wait. I know I’m gushing…but how can you not with this goodness staring you down! I’ll let you know how it goes. And I’m definitely making the noodles too! Thank you!

    • Thank you, Kristy, for leaving such a nice comment and for your faith!!! I think you all are in for a treat. The Boys Upstairs love this lasagna. A few years ago, when the youngest was about Mr N’s age, I brought them a surprise tray of lasagna. He looked at the tray, then up at me, and said, “It took you long enough!” I’ve done better at keeping them supplied ever since. :)
      Please do let me know how it goes. I’m sure Zia will want to know how your family likes it, too. She’s more invested in this recipe than even I am.

      • Well, as if there was any doubt…your lasagna was a BIG hit. First it was by far the most beautiful looking lasagna I ever made. Even the kids were impressed. Mr. N, Miss A and I LOVED the flavor. It’s highly likely it will replace our old recipe permanently. We’re just waiting on Mike’s vote. He had the flu this weekend, so I froze some for him to try later. I didn’t have time to make the pasta fresh, but I’m for sure trying that next time. I can’t tell you how much we loved this. I for one at way more than my fair share (Saturday and Sunday!). :) Thank you again!

        • You really have made my day, Kristy! I am so glad that you not only made Mom’s lasagna but that it was so well-received, though I’m sorry to hear Mike wasn’t well. I hope he’s feeling better. I really do hope you and the SousChefs find the time to make the noodles sometime in the future. It really does make a big difference in the lasagna. You’re in for a real treat!
          I’d made lasagna the weekend before the post for the photos. It was so cold that I put the leftovers, covered, on my barbecue on the back porch, where it was frozen solid. I had the last piece last night. With our warm weather, it had started to defrost and I had little choice but to reheat it. I know. Poor me.
          Thanks for coming back to tell me of your family’s experience. I can’t wait to tell Zia. :)

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  35. Oh my goodness…my mind was so lost on the food, I almost forgot…Happy, Happy Birthday to you!!!!!! May your year be full of laughter, joy, youthful energy and the love of friends and family. Cheers to you! (and your lasagna…) ;)

    • Aw, thanks, Kristy for returning to send your well wishes. It was a very good day and will be a good weekend. You wishes for a full year may be coming true!!! Thanks!

  36. Wishing you a Happy Birthday for tomorrow John. I will be sure to toast in your honour with an Italian meal of sorts.
    Me also thinks that the lasagna of your people should become the lasagna of my people too. :-) Mandy xo

  37. Happy Pre-Birthday John! What a great way to start off the year with a warm tummy full of lasagna. Those photos are mouthwatering. By the way, even though your ceiling is (presumably ;) obstacle-free) whenever I read your posts I’m going to think of you ducking around a kitchen ceiling full of crutches LOL

    • Thank you so much. One of — well, probably the only — advantages of this frigid cold snap is that my back porch serves as an extension of my freezer. I’ve still 2 servings of lasagna, frozen solid, out there, waiting for me. Better than having gold in the bank!
      As for the crutches, I’ve also got a ceiling fan in my kitchen. The clanging when fans meets crutch keeps me awake at night. :)

  38. Well first of all, Happy Birthday one day in advance, John! I hope tomorrow will be a fantastic day for you with many happy returns. I love the idea of the cheese sauce in this lasagna, not to mention the various kinds of cheeses. Who wouldn’t feel better after having some of this amazing looking lasagna? And it surely seems like a perfectly wonderful and celebratory birthday dish, too! Just pop a little vino or prosecco and your good to go. :)

  39. Oh, I wish I had time to make all your recipes!

    I found this one of particular interest. When I lived in the UK, everyone made lasagna similar to this — without ricotta. Yet, lasagna where I grew up (New York City area) almost always included ricotta. I have often wondered which would be considered more traditional. Perhaps there is no right and wrong way? Do you know if it varies by region in Italy?

    Either way, looks fabulous. It is on my list of things to make.

    And Happy Birthday!

    • Thanks for the compliments and birthday wishes. This was a great birthday and I’m nowhere near done celebrating yet. :)
      THe ingredients to lasagna do vary by region in Italy. I’m by no means an expert but I have seen recipes that used sausages or meatballs or even hard-boiled eggs. Ricotta is very common, as is a besciamella sauce, and I doubt if cream cheese is used in Italy. Mascarpone might be, however. I experimented with it once but wasn’t impressed. It doesn’t have a strong flavor, like cream cheese, and was lost in the lasagna.
      If you do try our recipe, I hope you like it and will come back to let me know your impressions. Thanks again.

        • If you like lemon, you’ll love our cannelloni and cappelletti recipes. Both use lemon zest in the filling. And the next time I make a besciamella-based lasagna, I’m going to try a bit of zest. Sounds great! Thanks for the tip!

  40. Happy Birthday John!!

    I love everything about your lasagna. Lasagna is one of my favorites and your recipe and presentation is magnificent. I love all the cheeses. Wow, the mozzarella cheese and homemade noodles are beyond brilliant & unique. Excellent meal :)

    • Thanks, Judy, for the gracious compliment and for the birthday wishes. What a great day it was!
      Once you have homemade lasagna noodles, you’ll be spoiled. They are nothing like store bought. Nothing at all. :)

  41. My birthday is at the end of the month as well.. is there any way you could send me a slice;D Happy Birthday in advance.. I was hoping to stay awake for another hour.. but then again, with the time change factored in.. it’s already your Birthday!! I hope you’ve got some exciting plans and some exciting friends to spend your day.. I imagine they’ll be looking for a slice of your lasagne. Wishing you the most wonderful birthday ever! What a brilliant idea to add that cheesy sauce, what a delightful change from the standard fare. *Ahhheeemm.. I’m feeling a bit under the weather.. perhaps a slice of that lasagne in my microwave would help;) xx

      • You didn’t misspell anything, Barb. Lasagne is the plural of lasagna. To make matters worse, there is a noodle called “lasagna.” Anything to confuse the tourists. :)

    • If I could, Barb, there’d be a package on its way to you already, stuffed with lasagna. But, alas …
      Thanks for the birthday wishes. Yes, it was a great day and I’m being treated to dinners on Friday and Saturday nights, as well. There will be no lasagna for anyone! It is safe and sound, frozen solid, on my back porch, hidden away in my barbecue — Nature’s own deep freezer. Who would ever think of looking there? Well, besides anyone who reads this …
      I’m sure a slice of this lasagna would help you to feel better. Since I can’t send you a slice, why not send me your microwave, I’ll reheat a piece in it, and blog about how good it tastes. Better hurry, though. We’re bound to have a warm spell sooner or later. :)

      • Hahaha.. that sounds like a plan! I was thinking anyone looking to break in might check your barbecue for a hidden key.. and run away with that lasagna instead:) Our temperatures vary too much, but I’ll remember this when it’s consistently cold, it’s a great storage idea!! Have fun at your dinners!

  42. I’m commenting so late, John, that I’m among the first to wish you a happy birthday on your actual day! I hope it is a really lovely occasion. Enjoy the years leading up to a “significant” number! :-) This is such a rich recipe for lasagna and I can’t wait to try it. I have never made it with the cream cheese and butter sauce. Wow! That’s an incredible addition.Even in our non-Italian household, a good lasagna is a tremendous treat and comfort food. I was just thinking today that I’m going to need to start gearing up for what to serve for Easter Sunday dinner…I really was already wondering about that. My family doesn’t care about a traditional ham or meat dish, and instead usually just wants something really good. I am going to propose we make this! I’ll let you know if I win out! :-)

    • Thank you, Debra! Yes, it was a very good birthday and the fun continues. I was taken to dinner again this evening and will be going out again tomorrow. Yesterday was Japanese, today Thai, tomorrow Indian. This birthday I toured Asia. Next year, the BIG ONE, I think I’ll tour Italy.
      I hope you do make this lasagna and love it as much as everyone here does. i’ve yet to deliver or serve it to someone who didn’t like it. People just aren’t expecting cream cheese under that mozzarella topping. You’ll see. :)

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  44. This is the best lasagna ever!! The noodles are so nice and thin and there is NO PREBOILING!! I will never purchase any other lasagna other than Barilla. I’ve been making this now for 3 years and everyone agrees–the recipe makes the very best! The instructions are right on the back of the lasagna box. I usually make multiple batches and freeze them. Its a great housewarming or “new baby” meal for a friend!

    • Barilla, as a rule, makes some very good pastas. I’ll use them if I don’t make my own. Even so, homemade lasagna noodles transforms the dish into something unlike any lasagna you’ve ever had. Yes, it really is that good.
      Thanks for taking the time to comment and visit.

  45. Happy, happy, happy brithday to you John! Now I know why you feel like my long lost relative – I´m 21st Jan so we are almost birthday twins! Another stunning recipe, love your take on it. Funnily enough I am just off to Gatwick Airport to drop Big Man off as he needs to go to Spain fro a week. I asked him what he wanted as his welcome home meal and he asked for Lasagne! Will definitely be making it your way :) Have a wonderful day….!

      • Thanks, Tanya, for your concern. We were only without heat for about 12 hours though it took a total of 24 for the house to return to normal temperature. Luckily, the kids upstairs went to school and I shut Lucy in a room with a space heater. Believe me, it could have been much worse, especially given that this was the coldest Chicago has been in 2 years. Again, thank you. By the way, if I were to come for the night, I’d bring my pasta machine. We wouldn’t get much sleep but I’d leave you with a pasta thank you. :)

          • Oh, Tanya, that was last week. Sunday we had an ice storm. It will be above freezing today and Tuesday we will reach 60F˚ (16˚C). Not to worry, we’ll be back to 15˚F (-9˚C) on Friday. It’s gotten so we really do not know what to expect.

    • Thanks, Tanya, for the birthday wishes and for your confidence. Big Man’s birthday dinner is a big deal and I’m honored you would trust our family recipe for it. Zia will be thrilled and I’ll worry until I hear how the meal went. Fingers crossed! :)
      I hope you had a fantastic birthday, too! Mine’s been really great!

  46. HAPPY, HAPPY BIRTHDAY, John!!!!! Many, many happy returns. Hope you are having a grand celebration with family and friends.
    Love the sauce your Mom and Zia created for the “Lasagna dei Bartolini”. I am surely going to give it a try but with no-boil noodles. May do Zia’s no butter sauce, but will have to see what groove I am in when I decide to put it together. It is near zero this morning and sitting down to breakfast, I am thinking a slice of that lasagna would be most comforting, I know, sounds crazy.
    Again, have a grand birthday day!

    • Thank you so much, Norma. It has been a wonderful birthday!
      This lasagna is perfectly suited for these frigid days. First the oven will heat your kitchen and then the lasagna will warm you and your dinner mates. You can’t beat it.
      I’ve made this with no boil noodles and it works out just fine. You should have no problems. Good luck!

  47. Happy Birthday! I hope you’re having a great day, filled with lots of good food and fun. I will definitely be trying your recipe for lasagna soon… cream cheese, what a unique idea!

    • I’ve had 2 days of food, thank you, and a third on the way. This is the way to celebrate a birthday! I hope you do enjoy this lasagna as much as my family and friends all do.
      Thanks for the visit and birthday wishes.

  48. Happy birthday John
    Wishing you a day full of joy and magic and many years to come of both
    I use a lasagna recipe from a friend of mine that uses 4 types of cheese, one of which is indeed ricotta. I think it is going to get some serious compition as soon as I try your recipe

    • Thanks, Sawsan. We, too,make a ricotta recipe but this is definitely the favorite among family and friends. The cream cheese is just so unexpected. I hope you do try and enjoy Mom’s dish and please let me know what you think of it. :)

  49. Happy Birthday John!!!!!! Cheers for a zillion more too :) Tell Max to give you a hug from us! Thanks :)

    Ya know….I feel kinda icky….sickly…I’d make a great patient ;)
    I need this lasagna in my life. Everything about it just sounds comforting and warm. It would be so good to get in the kitchen and make this for dinner right now. It’s so cold! But, Hubby is in the process of laying tile in the kitchen, so I’ll have to wait. Which is wrong on every level I can think of. I LOVE the rustic way it looks when it comes out of the oven. It’s beautiful AND delicious!

    • Thank you so much, Sarah. My birthday was great and the party continues. Even Max celebrated with a day at doggy daycare with his buds. We all needed to blow off some steam. Tuesday evening my furnace gave out, starting a chain of very stressful — and expensive — chain of events. 24 hours later and all was well again and I drowned my sorrows in left-over lasagna. It really is therapeutic. :)
      I do hope you give Mom’s lasagna a try, Sarah. Everyone so far has loved it. I’m sure you guys will, too. Thanks again for the birthday wishes.

    • Thanks, ZBD. If you have no-boil noodles, a quart of sauce, and the cheeses, you can have a tray of this lasagna prepared and in the oven in a half hour. It really is quick to make — and oh so very worth the effort. Guaranteed!

  50. And a happy birthday to all! That lasagna is fascinating. Not long ago I saw somebody else doing a cream cheese lasagna and I thought it sounded good, though not very Italian. Obviously, I was wrong. If your family does it, then it’s definitely Italian!

    • And on behalf of all, thank you, Michelle!
      Yes, we’re italian but this is a recipe mom and her Sister, my Zia, developed. I doubt it has Old Country origins and would be interested to see if anyone else makes lasagna this way. I never considered googling the ingredients — but will now, once I get caught up replying to all of these comments. Everyone has been so nice.

  51. Happy, happy birthday John! I hope you are eating great food and sharing it with great friends and family. This lasagna looks INCREDIBLE! I can’t wait to give your cream cheese layer a-go AND make my own pasta. It’s been much too long since i have made my own pasta. My question is on the 6 setting of the machine it is still not as wide as the pasta shown in the picture (no?). Yours kind of looks like a big sheet of pasta. Maybe I’m just confused and mis-remembering my pasta machine settings. Please set me straight! I am thinking of making it this weekend. Take care and have a great day!

    • Thank you very much, Geni, for both the birthday wishes and compliments.
      The roller setting will only affect the pasta strip’s thickness. The rollers are only 6 inches wide, therefore, your pasta strips can be no wider. Once I made a strip of pasta dough, I cut it into sheets about 9.5 to 10 inches long. These sheets, when cooked, expanded to about 12 X 8 inches. Being I’m alone, I used an 11 X 7 inch pyrex dish and that meant only 1 pasta sheet was needed for each lasagna layer and, best of all, there was some overhang of the top sheets that got extra crispy during baking. If you use a 13 X 9 inch baking dish, you will probably have to cut a pasta sheet into strips, or overlap sheets to cover areas where the sheets are too short to reach.
      If you use no-boil or boil noodels, just use them in any way to make complete layers.
      I hope this helps. I’ll be around much of Saturday, during the day, if you’ve question. I’ll get back to you ASAP.

  52. A very happy birthday to you John and this looks like a perfect way to celebrate. What a great twist on basic lasagna & I will definitely have to give it a try when my husband’s not looking at what I put in. The Solera lasagna recipe is a mainstay in our house and of course was on the table for every major occasion at his family gatherings. I always cracked up when his mother would serve an Easter ham and have lasagna with it.
    I had it made for years because I’d convinced my husband that he was the only one who could make the “true” Solera lasagna but then I ended up making it one time which ended that little charade. Of course, not being a fool he declared that it was perfectly up to standards & there was absolutely no reason why I shouldn’t continue being the lasagna maker from now on.
    I think lasagna just gets better the next day which is perfect for lunch & another dinner.

    • Thank you, Diane, for the compliments and birthday wishes. It’s been a great birthday, no doubt about it.
      I know very well how insistent we can be about our lasagna and I give Mom and Zia such credit for springing a new recipe on the family all those years ago. It went over well, though, and they never looked back. :)
      I hope you find the same is true with your family. Putting extra mozzarella on top of the dish before baking will help to insure that they will. It certainly can’t hurt. ;)

    • This is a true dish of comfort, Jasline. The mozzarella slices aren’t as big as you may think. The dish is 11 X 7 inches (28 X 18 cm). All I did was slice a log of fresh mozzarella. Had I used a larger baking dish, 13 X 9 inches (33 X 23 cm), I would have needed to use at least 2 more slices of mozzarella to cover it. Sorry for any confusion.

  53. Wowza! Cream cheese lasagna! What you (or your Zia) has done is “kugel-ed” lasagna, combining the traditional recipes of our peoples! I know what you mean about healing ethnic foods. My mother’s three-chicken matzo ball soup once cured someone’s spinal leakage. Or so he believed…Thanks for sharing this fantastic-looking recipe. One day, I will make my own noodles like you and my great grandmother. She apparently used to hang hers over the backs of her kitchen chairs to dry.

    • “‘Kugel-ed’ it” … love it! Apparently our peoples crossed paths somewhere. I remember Mom having large sheets of pasta drying on the backs of chairs, hanging off tables, even laid out on floured sheets on our beds. I only wish someone had thought to photograph it but it was so common that no one wanted to waste the film. Pity.
      C’mon now. Break out the pasta machine and roll some pasta and make your Great Grandmother smile. You know she’ll be watching and wearing a smile. :)

      • First I’d have to own a pasta machine! I LOVE the visual of the pasta drying on the bed. “Kugle’d it” should be a thing and yes — your Zia did that. Growing up, one of my Dad’s best childhood friends was an Italian Jew and his Mom’s cooking was my Dad’s favorite.

  54. HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO YOU! My family loves lasagna! I thought I had the market on my lasagna, according to family and friends. It is my most requested dish to bring to any pot luck meal. BUT you are the MASTER. Cream cheese in lasagna! Oh boy, I have got to try your family recipe. I hope you enjoy your birthday. Cheers to you!


    • Thanks, Francine. It has been a wonderful birthday. I’ve been wined and dined and still have a couple of servings of left-over lasagna, frozen, just waiting for me. Fantastic!
      My friends feel the same way about this lasagna. The cream cheese sauce sets it apart from all others. I hope you all agree. Good luck and please let me know how it goes. :)

  55. OH no! Your birthday was Yesterday! I’m just SICK that I missed it John! I’m pretty sure (make that “positive”) that an 11×14 dish of your Exquisite lasagna would have me feeling Much better in no time! Here’s another one for the Pin It board…and after a respectable amount of time has elapsed after your ravioli, your lasagna will on our table with some extremely lucky friends licking their lips. It’ll probably require a double batch! Thanks much for this, John, and truly a year of unequalled happiness & good health!

    • Spree, there’s no reason to apologize or feel bad about anything. Really. I had a simply fantastic birthday, thank you.
      I’m so excited for you and your ravioli dies and can’t wait for you to get started. The first couple uses will be tricky but you’ll soon get the hang of it and you’ll be sailing. If you’ve a friend to help, better still. I usually roll out the dough sheets and Zia uses the dies.You’re a whiz in the kitchen. You’ll do just fine. :)

  56. I was surprised by the bechamel and then even more surprised it wasn’t a bechamel. What a cool take and the homemade pasta really puts it over the top. I’ll never get tired of ricotta lasagna, mainly because with two people in the house you never make it.

    • Thanks, Greg. I don’t make lasagna often either and, when I do, it is a small baking dish and the leftovers are frozen in single servings. Truth is I give more trays away than I ever make for my own table. It just means that I enjoy it more when I do make it.

  57. First of all, HAPPY BIRTHDAY JOHN!! Sorry I’m late… I hope you had a wonderful day my friend :)
    As for this recipe, it sounds oh, so good! I will be making this lasagna very, very soon. My children simply love lasagna and I do too, so despite the fact that I’m on a diet trying to lose some Christmas weight, I’m going to make an exception and have a big piece (with salad on the side, to reduce the guilt ;) )
    Thanks for the recipe, John!

  58. Oh no you had a birthday and i missed it but i am so so glad that i did not miss this lasagne recipe, I make mine with a cheese sauce too and your mama’s pasta recipe (now that i have eggs again) but those cheeses.. wow, this will be fantastic when I make it. I will make it for sandy .. she will love it too! Also I have to say John that your photograph is wonderful. I can never get my lasagne to look as ordered as that, mine always looks mushy! And Giovanna is right a big green salad with this will be wonderful.. great recipe and one I shall use many times i am sure! have a lovely saturday evening.. hope you are all warm!! c

    • Thanks, Celi. Zia will be pleased to learn that you’ll be making this lasagna, too. I remember you made lasagna with your own noodles once and how much John enjoyed it. I hope you all are as pleased with this as you were the noodles.
      The furnace is fully functional and we’re all nice and warm. In fact, I’ll have to bring all of the food I’d been storing outside because it will be too warm for it by tomorrow afternoon. This Winter is another roller coaster ride!

  59. John, well happy belated birthday to everyone! I need a great lasagne recipe! I’ve tried it so many different ways over the years, but this looks absolutely glorious. You’re going to have to get a personal assistant to handle all the comments. It took me fifteen minutes to get to the bottom.

    • Thanks, Susie, on behalf of my Cousin and I. We celebrated our birthdays together at a Thai restaurant on Saturday and had a great time. I do hope you make and enjoy this lasagna. I love to see Mom’s recipes spread to other households. Her legacy lives on.
      Yes, there are more comments than ever. People have been incredibly nice, sending me birthday wishes as well as complimenting the recipe, just as you did. I wasn’t expecting anything like this.

  60. Of course I’d be late to wishing you a Happy Birthday. I guess that is what I get for being late on my reader. Well hope you had a great day my friend and thank for sharing what I know is another great family treat. Liz and I look forward to making it!

    • Thanks, Jed, for the birthday wishes. I understand completely, being so far behind in my own blogging duties. It was a great birthday and the reason I’m so far behind. :)
      I hope you guys do try and enjoy this recipe as much as we all do. It’s unlike any other that you’ve tasted.

  61. Hi there! And a very belated Happy Birthday!! Hope you had a great day! The cheese sauce here sounds delicious, and it’s easier/quicker than the bechamel I make for my lasagna. Will definitely give it a try! Thanks for sharing…

    • That’s a great advantage to our lasagna: its speed of preparation. Once your noodles are prepared, you can have a tray assembled in well under 30 minutes. I hope you do make and enjoy it. Thank you for the birthday wishes and comment.

  62. Happy belated birthday John. I was out of the country and incommunicado for a week. I hope you had a grand day and have a wonderful year. Simply beautiful lasagna! I like the way the noodles curl, reminiscent of wrapping paper…. I am sure it will cure whatever ails you!

    • Thanks, David. I hope your trip was a good one. Those “incommunicado” ones usually are!
      One of the reasons I cut the noodles a little large is so that the fringe get extra crispy. The lasagna looks fanciful and the crispy fringe tastes really good.

  63. Wow, John! This lasagna looks absolutely perfect! I love your idea of using sliced mozzarella instead of the cheese shavings that you buy in the store. I’ve been trying to move towards shredding my own cheese instead of using the pre-shredded kind, but fore some reason, I still buy the pre-shredded stuff for lasagna. Not anymore. I don’t know why I didn’t think of this. Thanks. :)
    Also, I have to say that I love how you went ahead and used full sheets of pasta instead of individual lasagna noodles. It really makes the whole dish look that much more spectacular. What a great idea. Beautiful as always.

    Btw, I saw that it was recently your birthday, I hope it was a great one!

    • Thanks, Anne for the belated birthday wishes and compliments. I don’t make lasagna — for myself — nearly as often as I did years ago. As a result, I tend to go a little overboard when I do make it. Placing thick slices of mozzarella on top of the layers is definitely “overboard” but, I have to admit. it is a great way to top off lasagna. Give it a try. You will not be disappointed!

  64. First of all – Happy very belated Birthday!!!! I hope you had a great one and that you carried the celebration into the weekend! Next time I get sick and need some great tasty carbs for recuperation, I’m going to have Bobby give you a call and pay for overnight shipment of this lasagna! :) This really is the real thing! Love those large noodles.

    • Thanks, MJ. It was a great birthday, by any measure.
      Judging by the comments, you’re not alone. If it were possible, I’d have quite a lasagna mail order business. It would be a short-lived venture, though. Once people make it for themselves, they’ll learn how easy it is to prepare and I’ll be out of work.

  65. Happy belated birthday John!! I don’t know how I missed this post…I’m so behind with my baby girl keeping me scatter brained! This dish is so gorgeous and looks so rich and flavorful! I love that you didn’t use ricotta either….such a wimpy cheese, haha! Great recipe!! :)

    • Thanks, Brandi. Using cream cheese sets this lasagna apart and I’ve yet to serve it to guests who didn’t care for it. Rarely are there leftovers. Now, don’t you ever worry if you miss my posts. Take care of that Li’l One and visit whenever you can. I’m not going anywhere. :)

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  67. Wishing you a belated happy birthday John!
    and now I NEED to try this version – the cheese sauce sound sso simple and tasty, I’ll pop this in my favourites for another day, and when I do make it I’ll vegify it using puy lentils….. non-traditional I realise, but tasty :)

    • Thanks, Claire. My birthday was a good one, spent with family and friends.
      Mom and Zia really did well when they came up with this version of lasagna. The main attraction is the cheese sauce. I think a vegetarian version with puy lentils would work quite well.

  68. Oh my, that lasagna looks tempting! And happy belated birthday! We’re practically birthday buddies, mine being about a week before yours. We January babies need to stick together! I fell behind on my blog reading when I was under the weather and still am trying to catch up. So much to read, so little time, and what a delight to read this recipe now – I can just imagine how good it would look on my table!

    • Thanks, Mar, and a belated happy birthday to you, too! I hope yours was a good one and I’m glad you’re feeling better.
      It’s a great lasagna, Mar. I hope you and your DH like it as much as we all do.

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  70. Best wishes for your recent birthday, and thank you for giving to us a birthday gift of this wonderful lasagne recipe. While I’m not yet at the point of making my own pasta, but aspire someday to that next level, I have taken from your posts the idea of using the best possible ingredients, so no more ordinary supermarket pasta for us, with transforming results. I remmeber my first ever lasagne cooking efforts, and thought it was impressive even if I say so myself, but I’m always keen to do better so have tweaked it over the years and will adopt the Bartoloni cheese sauce with/without butter… we”ll see, and the mozzarella on top.

    • Thanks, EllaDee, for the birthday wishes and kind words. Lasagna noodles are the easiest to make. I hope one day you’ve more time and try making them. Lasagna made with fresh noodles is a completely different dish and so much more balanced. Too often store-bought noodles are too thick and dominate the dish, unless a great deal of cheese is used. The end-result is a very heavy meal. It needn’t be that way and homemade noodles is a step in the right direction. You’ll see. ;)

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  73. Happy Birthday John! I have been hungry for lasagna lately and I just may be trying this in the near future. So glad you shared the crown jewel of your recipes. It looks just fantastic!
    - Michael

    • Thanks, Michael. This a great lasagna, one unlike most you’ve tried but if you’re interested in the Crown Jewels, I’ll be posting another tomorrow. Stay tuned …

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  75. Hi John, I have only just had the pleasure of stumbling across your blog. I am so glad I have! I’m from Italian descent myself and your photos, recipes along with all the mentions of your Mamma, Zia and Nonna have made me quite melancholy with little flash backs of my life as a child and growing up in italian family. Not to mention a little teary as my Nonna is longer with us. My question to you is about your cream cheese. I am from Australia and here our cream cheese is “Philadelphia Cream Cheese”. I’m not sure if you are familiar with this one. I’m not sure if its this type of cheese you mean or a jar of processed cheese spread (Also a creamy style cheese). Thank you for taking me down memory lane today, I’ve absolutely loved it! :)

    • So happy to meet you, Angela, and glad that you stumbled on over here. :) When I started this blog, Zia and I thought we’d be lucky if everyone in the family read it. Instead, we’ve gone beyond that and, like with you, these tales of our family resonate with many of Italian descent. It’s been a wonderful surprise and I enjoy knowing that a given post will bring back warm memories to a reader’s mind.
      Mom & Zia always used Philadelphia Cream Cheese when making lasagna. Once I tried using some cream cheese that I had made and it “broke” during baking. I should have stuck with Philadelphia. Mom always knows best! :)
      Thank you for dropping by and taking the time to introduce yourself.

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