Here in New Jersey we have a passion for good Italian food, whether home cooked or in a favorite restaurant.

Lasagna is a fan favorite here in New Jersey, not as popular as meatballs and slightly more popular than chicken parm. Most of us enjoy a classic lasagna with red sauce, sausage or ground meat, ricotta, mozzarella or provolone some perfect spices and a very good tomato sauce.

With that said, you’ll see this recipe for salami lasagna and think, "That doesn't sound right."

Well I'm here to tell you it's outstanding. The flavors still maintain a world class taste with an extra added element that just builds this dish into a very enjoyable experience. This recipe was given to me by my good friend Bobby Bandiera.

Bobby is a world class musician, singer, and songwriter, selling out the Count Basie Center for the Arts, the State Theatre New Jersey, the Stone Pony and other venues.

His resume includes playing and touring with Bon Jovi, Southside Johnny and Bruce Springsteen to name a few.

He has raised millions for those in need through his Hope concerts at the Count Basie Center for the Arts. He's also lent his talent to the charity group Holiday Express bringing the gift of kindness to those who are less fortunate.

Bobby is also a great cook and is true to his Italian heritage. He first served this dish at my house for a pasta dish at Christmas dinner a couple of years ago. It was so good!

I've had him make it several times since, plus I've made the recipe a few times myself. When selecting the salami for this dish, Bobby recommends and I concur, that you use Genoa salami thinly sliced, not paper thin but a fine slice.

Don’t let the salami hang out in your fridge for a few days before you use it — it makes a difference, the time and fridge will dry it out and slightly alter the taste. Give this a try, you'll enjoy it. Let me know how you like it.


Note: I strongly suggest you use the freshest of ingredients; it really makes a difference in the taste.


1 lb. of ricotta cheese
3/4 lb. of Parmesan Reggiano (grated)
1 1/2 lbs. of fresh mozzarella shredded or thinly sliced
1 egg beaten
2 lg cans of crushed San Marzano tomatoes
1 lb. of lasagna noodles
1 lb. of thinly sliced Genoa salami
6 cloves of garlic finely chopped/minced
Handful of fresh basil chopped
Salt and pepper to taste

How to put it together:

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In a large sauce pot add crushed tomatoes, chopped basil, add minced garlic add salt and freshly ground pepper to taste. Bring sauce to a slow simmer and then cook for 1 hour.

In a large bowl add ricotta cheese and beaten egg with 1/2 pound of Parmesan Reggiano cheese retaining 1/4 pound for garnish. Mix all ingredients thoroughly.

In large pot add water to ¾ full and tsp of salt for lasagna noodles bring to a boil. Once at a rolling boil add lasagna noodles being careful not to tear noodles (cook about 5 minutes for fresh noodles, 7 – 8 minutes for box noodles or until al’dente.)

In the bottom of lasagna pan, layer starting with sauce, then layer of noodles, then ricotta cheese mixture, then salami then mozzarella cheese then repeat again and again. Add sprinkle of Parmesan Reggiano on top and bake for 1 hour at 400 degrees. After cooking let rest and set for 15 minutes serve in slices. Serves 6 - 8.

The post above reflects the thoughts and observations of New Jersey 101.5 weekend host Big Joe Henry. Any opinions expressed are Big Joe’s own.

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