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lasagna in brodo
Lasagna in Brodo (Lasagna in Broth or "White" Lasagna)
Originated from: Casacalenda, Molise, Italy
Occasion: Weddings, baptisms and very special events
Contributed by: Mary Melfi (her mother's recipe)

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Lasagna in Brodo or La Sagna in Brodo

For lasagna noodles [see recipe for Pasta All' Uovo]

Make "Traditional Chicken Broth" [see recipe] except instead of adding beef bones add bite-sized meat balls

For meatballs

1 pound minced veal (or beef)
1/2 cup plain breadcrumbs
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 egg
1 tablespoon parsley, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
Salt, pepper

For layering of lasagna noodles

3 to 4 cups of mozzarella cheese, diced
1 to 2 cups of grated Parmesan cheese


For the meatballs

Make the meatballs -- they should be as small as possible (not more than half an inch in circumference).

Clean the chicken, cut it up and then place the pieces along with the meatballs and the vegetables in a pot of boiling water.

Turn down the heat and simmer for about an hour and a half.

When the broth is ready, remove the chicken and turkey pieces (They are not needed to make the lasagna, so they can be used in some other dish).

For the lasagna:

Cook the lasagna noodles in a large pot of boiling water.

Drain the lasagna noodles.

Add about a 1/2 cup of broth to the bottom of a large baking pan or casserole dish (about 14 inches long and 9 inches wide).

Add a layer of cooked lasagna noodles.

Add a bit of diced mozzarella, some Parmesan. Add some broth.

Repeat with another of lasagna noodles, mozzarella, Parmesan, broth etc.

Keep doing it until you reach the top of the baking pan. The deeper the pan, the more layers one should have, and the more layers one has, the better the lasagna will taste.

Reserve some chicken broth as it will be needed to add to the individual lasagna dishes when it is served.

Bake the layered lasagna noodles in a 350 degree oven for about 35 to 40 minutes.

Cut the baked lasagna into small portions and place them in individual pasta dishes, adding some of the reserved broth to each dish. Top with freshly-grated Parmesan cheese.

Serve warm.


Prior to World War II "Lasagna con Brodo" [or "Sagna Con Brod'" as it was then known] was considered such a delicacy in Molise that it was generally only served at weddings. In the 1950s when those from Molise immigrated to Canada the dish was reserved for special occasions (but oddly enough it was rarely served at weddings). By the 1970s "lasagna con brodo" was no longer made just for life's big celebrations, but it was still treated with a certain reverence I believe. By the late 1980s the dish became quite common or not common at all -- depending on the preferences of individual family members. Some cooks (like my mom) made both "red" and "white" lasagna for a big dinner party so that everyone got to choose what they liked best. Nowadays, as most Italian-Canadian children prefer lasagna in tomato sauce or "red" lasagna (possibly because that is what's offered in restaurants and so it's more familiar to them) fewer and fewer older Italians bother making "lasagna con brodo." Now that's a real pity in my opinion because "white" lasagna" is an incredible dish. Fit for a king. Or queen. It certainly is one of my favorite Italian dishes. Apparently, according to a number of sources (meaning a number of relatives) "red lasagna" was Not made in Molise prior to World War II. Only "white" lasagna was part of the traditional fare. Obviously, those who immigrated to Canada from Molise claimed "red lasagna" as their own, and prepared it for their families. New traditions took hold and that was that.... Photo: Mary Melfi.

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