Spicy Meatball Lasagna

Spicy Meatball Lasagna
Recipe type: Pasta
For the Heritage Wheat Blend Pasta:
  • 2 cups spelt flour, sifted after measuring
  • 1-1/2 cups park wheat flour (or whole wheat flour), sifted after measuring (keep 2 Tbsp of the sifted bran and add it back to the flour. It adds a coarse texture much like how semolina works in traditional Italian pasta)
  • 4 large eggs
  • ¼ cup cold pressed/extra virgin oil
  • Water as needed
For the ricotta filling:
  • 2 cups Whole Milk Ricotta
  • 1 cup, each, shredded gruyere and Italian Herb Gouda
  • 2 large eggs, beaten
  • 4 Tbsp dry oregano
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • ½ tsp crushed dried chilli
For the Spicy Meatballs:
  • 450g/1 lb lean ground beef
  • 450g/1 lb ground pork
  • 450g/1 lb spicy Italian sausage meat
  • 2 slices whole wheat bread
  • ¼ cup chicken stock (I use homemade)
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 Tbsp dry oregano
  • 1 tsp salt
To prepare the Roasted Tomato Spicy Meatball Sauce:
  • Prepared Spicy Meatballs
  • 2 tsp cold pressed/extra virgin oil
  • 1 fresh red finger chilli, finely chopped
  • 10 cups Roasted Tomato Sauce (or your favourite tomato sauce, or Italian passata)
To assemble the Spicy Meatball Lasagna:
  • Prepared Roasted Tomato-Spicy Meatball Sauce
  • Prepared Ricotta Filling
  • Prepared and rolled Heritage Wheat Blend Pasta
  • 3-4 cups Roasted Tomato Sauce (or your favourite tomato sauce or Italian passata)
  • 2 cups shredded gruyere
For the Heritage Wheat Blend Pasta:
  1. In a medium bowl, combine the spelt and park wheat flour (with bran). Make a well in the middle of the flour, add the eggs and oil. Beat the eggs and oil together in the middle of the depression in the flour, then gradually start to work it into the flour mixture. If the mixture is still too dry after pinching the mixture together, add a tablespoon or two of water to tighten up the dough. Turn the dough out on to the counter and knead until smooth (about 7-10 minutes). Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least an hour (or leave until you are ready to assemble if you are doing it ahead by a day or two).
  2. To roll (done when ready to assemble):
  3. Split the dough into 8 pieces. Form one piece into a rough rectangle with a short width no wider than a countertop pasta roller (if using. If you are rolling by hand with a rolling pin, just use your pan as a guide for width). Roll the dough through the pasta roller on the lowest setting. Turn the rolling mechanism knob to one step higher (making the rolling mechanisms just a bit tighter together). Roll the dough through again. Repeat until you turn the knob tightening to one setting shy of the highest (my roller goes to a setting of 8. Others go to 10. Just go one number shy of the highest).
  4. Cut into lengths suitable for the length of your lasagna pan. Lay out on a lightly floured sheet of parchment paper. Repeat with remaining dough. Proceed after other components are done.
For the ricotta filling:
  1. In a medium bowl, combine, the ricotta, cheeses, eggs, oregano, salt, pepper and dried chilli. Set aside until ready to assemble (can be done the day before).
For the Spicy Meatballs:
  1. Preheat oven to 210C/425F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
  2. Place the bread and stock in a small bowl and allow to soak for 10 minutes.
  3. In a medium bowl, combine the ground beef, sausage meat, eggs, and oregano. Squeeze out the excess broth that absorbed into the bread slices and add the soaked bread into the mix with the dry breadcrumbs. Blend together with your hands until uniformly combined.
  4. Form the mixture into small 1 tsp-sized meatballs. Place them on the prepared baking sheets. They can be placed very close together on the pan. When all the mixture is formed into meatballs, roast in the preheated oven for 10-12 minutes or until golden on the outside.
To prepare the Roasted Tomato Spicy Meatball Sauce:
  1. In a large pot over medium high heat, sauté the garlic and chilli in oil for 2 minutes until fragrant but not browned. Immediately add the tomato sauce and meatballs. Bring to a simmer, reduce heat to medium low, cover with a lid and simmer for 25-30 minutes. Remove from heat and allow to cool to room temperature (can be done a day before assembly).
To assemble the Spicy Meatball Lasagna:
  1. In a large pot of boiling water, cook the pasta sheets, a few sheets at a time, for 60-90 seconds.
  2. In a lasagna pan (or a series of small foil roasting pans, if using), add enough Roasted Tomato Sauce to just cover the bottom of the pan. Place a cooked pasta sheet on the sauce. Spread with enough ricotta filling to cover the cooked pasta sheet.
  3. Ladle a bit of Roasted Tomato Sauce over the ricotta. Top with another cooked pasta sheet.
  4. Ladle some of the Roasted Tomato-Spicy Meatball Sauce over the top of the pasta sheet, ensuring there is ample meatballs over the entire layer.
  5. Sprinkle with some of the shredded gruyere cheese and another cooked pasta sheet. Spread more Roasted Tomato Sauce over the top and finish with more shredded gruyere cheese.
  6. Bake in a preheated 180C/350F oven for 55-60 minutes or until deeply golden on top.
  7. Allow to cool for at least 20 minutes before cutting. Makes enough for 10-12 individual foil baking pans of lasagna (about 6cm/3″ x 24cm/8″ pans) with some meatballs leftover for another use (I like a good meatball sandwich for lunch from time to time).