Lasagna is an Italian classic, and it’s universally adored. In Italy, the recipe for lasagna varies depending on the region. Each version is a little bit unique. Some recipes (like Genoa’s Lasagna alla Genovese) swap ragù for pesto, while others (Treviso’s Taleggio Lasagna, for instance) add Taleggio cheese, mushrooms and pancetta to the mix. Lasagna Napoletana, made with pieces of sausage, mozzarella and fried meatballs, takes center stage on the tables of Campania families during the Carnival season.
Overall, it’s fair to suggest the most ubiquitous lasagna recipe is Lasagna Bolognese. This medley of ragù bolognese and creamy béchamel layered between sheets of fresh pasta is both indulgent and completely delicious.
It’s not unheard of for Neapolitan pizza makers to create their own version of “pizza lasagna,” inspired by the elements of the dish. But one pizzaiolo in particular took the idea a step further: Stefano Callegari, a renowned pizza chef, entrepreneur and restaurant owner with eateries dotted across Italy and around the world.
Callegari's pizza lasagna sets itself apart because it reproduces the classic dish using seven (yes, seven) pizzas topped with meat sauce as building blocks, stacking them on top of each other. Inspired, we asked Ambassador Vincenzo Viscusi (with the help of his friend Antonio) to give the famed “pizza lasagna” a go in his Ooni pizza oven. The result? A delicious tower of decadence.
2 ½ hours, excluding dough preparation
For the dough:
7 x 250 gram pizza dough balls
For the Béchamel Sauce:
500 milliliters milk
50 grams unsalted butter
50 grams 00 flour
50 grams Parmesan cheese
Fine sea salt
2 grams Nutmeg
3 grams Pepper
For the topping
3 stalks (150 grams) of celery
3 onions (480 grams)
3 carrots (160 grams)
750 grams tomato passata
700 grams ground beef
15 grams oil
This recipe suits a variety of pizza styles, but we think our classic pizza dough is a great fit. Prepare your dough ahead of time to make sure it rises at room temperature before heating your oven.
Melt the butter in a saucepan over low heat. Once the butter has melted, mix in the flour. At this point, add half of the milk and mix quickly and continuously to avoid creating any lumps. When the mixture has thickened, add the other half of the milk and continue to mix until the béchamel thickens.
Add the parmesan, salt, nutmeg and a pinch of pepper, and then remove the pan from the heat. Once the béchamel has cooled, cover it and put it into the fridge. After 30 minutes, transfer the béchamel into a pastry bag.
To make the ragù, first chop the carrots, onions and celery stalks into small, ½ inch cubes. Heat a tablespoon of oil in a pan, and sauté the prepared vegetables until they’re soft. Then, brown the ground beef. Finally, add the tomato passata and cook over a low heat for another hour. If the sauce becomes too thick, thin it with a splash of water.
Fire up your oven, aiming for 450 to 500°C on the baking stone inside. Use an infrared thermometer to quickly and accurately check the temperature of the stone.
Now it’s time to begin the lasagna pizza assembly. Start by stretching one of the seven dough balls into a circular pizza base. Place the dough ball on a lightly floured work surface and push the air from the centre out to the edge with your fingers. Work the dough into a 12-inch base, then lay the stretched dough over your lightly floured pizza peel. Spoon on an even layer of ragù, followed by a generous drizzle of béchamel sauce.
Slide the pizza off the peel and into your oven. Cook for 60 to 90 seconds, turning the pizza every 20 seconds or so to ensure an even bake. Once it’s cooked to your liking, set the pizza aside on a serving board. Repeat the process for all the remaining dough balls, stacking each pizza on top of the previous one to keep everything warm.
After that, it’s time to serve. Slice your pizza stack in half to reveal all the layers, and then decide how you want to eat your lasagna pizza. Keep it elegant with knives and forks, or — as Antonio did it — grab a section with your hands and stuff it into your mouth. Bellissimo!