She is famous on our website for making the best lasagne anyone has ever tasted.
What makes her lasagne top the rest?
We call it 'The Nonna Lili layer'.
In 2021 we wanted to share Nonna Lili's lasagne with the world, starting from Lichfield. We'd been living here for three years having moved from Italy, when we decided to open a small business cooking from our home kitchen and following her special recipe to create a menu for local delivery with her Sunday dish as our main feature. Soon Nonna Lili's 'best lasagne in the world' had crossed the seas and become a firm favourite in Staffordshire too!
On artisan markets we label our 'Lasagna Classica': 'Nonna Lili's Lasagna', it's always our best seller. So what makes it stand out as 'better than all the rest'?
Here are Nonna Lili's tips to make the best lasagne:
In Italy, lasagne must stand up. Sliding layers are unacceptable. But how to accomplish this?
She makes a thicker rather than thinner béchamel (white) sauce so that the layers are never sloppy and goes quite heavy on the nutmeg.
She chooses fresh pasta sheets, not dry ones.
She uses two cheeses: Grana Padano in every layer for flavour and a mild, full-fat cheese for the 'Nonna Lili Layer'.
Slices of the creamy cheese go into the 'Nonna Lili Layer' and never ontop because classic Italian lasagne calls for Grana Padano or Parmigiano to be grated onto on a thick layer of bechamel for the best lasagne crust.
Nonna Lili will bake her lasagne the day before and heat them up just before serving claiming the flavours are better the next day and the lasagne always stand up as they should do!
But her unique trick to the best lasagne of all is the 'Nonna Lili Layer'.
How to Achieve 'The Nonna Lili Layer'.
Nonna Lili layers her ragù alla bolognese only with Grana Padano, an aged, hard cheese you will hardly notice except for the wonderful boost in flavour. The creamy cheese is kept aside for its very own layer. Here's the secret: somewhere in between your meat layers, skip the meat completely and create a layer of pure béchamel plus your chosen creamy cheese. Nonna Lili's favourites are Montasio Fresco, a local Veneto cheese which has a milky, mild palate, lending itself perfectly to lasagne alla bolognese. Another of her favourites is Moesin, with an intensely creamy flavour and thick texture which holds it's shape but melts just enough to create a fabulously cheesy Nonna Lili Layer (or two).
What Cheese Can I Use?
These regional cheeses are tricky to find outside of Italy. Our suggestion, if you're making Nonna Lili's lasagne and you can't find Moesin or Montasio, is to use mozzarella but not the pre-grated pizza version. Either buy fresh mozzarella and strain it in a sieve for 10 minutes to eliminate as much liquid as possible before breaking it up with your hands or look for a solid block of Italian pizza mozzarella which can be thinly sliced. Mozzarella has the 'melting factor' but has enough substance to not disappear completely within the dish, creating a lovely, thick Nonna Lili Layer.
She calls her lasagne pasticcio and whenever she makes one, she sets out to make many - one for each of her son's families and perhaps the neighbours too.
In Italy, lasagne are for family lunches on Sundays and special occasions. There's time, passion and love in these dishes that you can taste in every slice.
We all believe Nonna Lili makes the best lasagne and it seems everyone else does too - just look at all of our happy customers! Have you tried Nonna Lili's recipe on our menu?
Because when you find something as good as this, you simply have to share it,
buon appetito amici...