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For the meat sauce
  • 2 tablespoons EVOO – Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 ounces pancetta, finely chopped/diced
  • 3/4 pound ground beef
  • 1/2 pound (2 links) sweet sausage with fennel, casings removed
  • 4 chicken livers (about 3 ounces), trimmed and very finely chopped (optional)
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 1 large bay leaf
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground thyme or 1 teaspoon dried leaves
  • A few grates nutmeg
  • 3 cloves garlic, finely chopped or grated
  • Salt and black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped rosemary
  • 1 cup white wine
  • 1 28-ounce can crushed or diced tomatoes
  • 1 pound ziti rigate or penne rigate
  • 1 cup ricotta cheese, drained
  • 1 cup mozzarella cheese, diced
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1/2 cup grated Parm cheese
  • 2 tablespoons parsley, finely chopped
  • Salt and pepper
For the béchamel
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 3 tablespoons flour
  • 1 cup warm milk
  • Salt, white pepper and nutmeg, to taste
  • 1/2 cup cream
  • A handful grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese


Serves: 6 to 8 servings


For the meat sauce, heat EVOO, 2 turns of the pan and melt in butter. Add pancetta, render 2 minutes then add beef and sausage (and liver, if using). Brown 12-15 minutes then add onions, bay, thyme, nutmeg, garlic, salt, pepper and rosemary, and cook 10 minutes more. Add wine and let it absorb; add tomatoes and simmer 30-40 minutes.

Cook pasta 5 minutes in salted boiling water. Reserve 1 cup starchy cooking water then drain and run pasta under cold water to cool.

Combine ricotta, mozzarella, eggs, Parm, parsley, salt and pepper in bowl.

For the béchamel, heat a saucepot over medium heat, add butter and melt. Whisk in flour then milk, season with salt, white pepper and nutmeg to taste, lower heat and add cream. Cook to thicken slightly.

Preheat oven to 375°F.

Toss pasta with all of the meat sauce and reserved cooking water. Pour half into a lasagna pan or baking casserole then top with ricotta mixture. Add remaining pasta and meat sauce, and top casserole with béchamel and Parm. Bake to brown and bubbly.