Among Angelina's generation, each of the female family members had a special dish that she was known for. My great-aunt, Angelina's sister, who we called zi'-zi' (loosely translated, 'auntie'), was the ravioli specialist. Another great-aunt, zi' Annin', was known as "the little pie-maker" and yet another specialized in calzone pugliese, which we used to call 'onion pie'. Angelina, on the other hand, was known for her lasagna, which was almost always a part of our ritual Sunday dinners at her place.
It was only later in life that I realized that the lasagna that Angelina made had a name, and was not really her lasagna, but a traditional dish from Campania, the region where she was born. There the dish is called lasagna di carnevale (also called lasagne di carnevale in the plural) since this meaty lasagna is traditionally eaten around Carnevale aka Mardi Gras time, as a last meat 'splurge' before the privations of Lent—a vestige of the days when Catholics were expected to give up meat for the entire 40 days. As I have mentioned before, this lasagna is one of the two 'mother' lasagna dishes in Italian cuisine, the rustic southern cousin to the North's elegant lasagna alla bolognese. Since most Italian immigrants to the US came from the South, it is this lasagna that will be most familiar to Italian-Americans.
- See recipe
- Click on link below for detailed instructions