Tony Bennett's Mom's Lasagna Recipe With Her Secret Ingredient by Donna John

Tony Bennett's Mom's Lasagna Recipe With Her Secret Ingredient

My musical tastes are all over the place – from country to rock to jazz to alternative to oldies. On any given day you can find me in the kitchen cooking (and probably singing) to Elvis, Chris Stapleton, Frank Sinatra, Tanya Tucker, AC/DC, Taylor Swift, Tony Bennett and everything in between. When I see a recipe from one of my favorites, I usually jot down the ingredients and it's on my table not too long after. That's what happened when I come across this pasta recipe for Tony Bennett's mom's lasagna.

It's said that his mom, Anna Benedetto, was a fantastic cook. I have no doubt. Her secret ingredient in her lasagna recipe was a little ground cinnamon. Interesting, right? Her lasagna recipe has simple, basic ingredients: ground beef, onions, spicy Italian sausage, garlic, canned plum tomatoes, tomato puree, tomato paste, fresh basil, cinnamon (not so basic), lasagna noodles, eggs, fresh ricotta and Pecorino Romano cheese.

"This lasagna is so special to me. Whenever I eat it, it brings me right back to being at home with my mom in Queens, surrounded by family" – Tony Bennett

Why not have an Italian dinner soon and try this easy lasagna recipe on your family? It just may start a new family tradition that will be remembered fondly like Tony does.

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Cuisine: Italian
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour
Total Time: 1 1/2 hours
Servings: 12


  • 1 1/4 pounds ground beef (80% lean)
  • 2 medium onions, chopped
  • 1/2 pound spicy Italian sausage, casings removed
  • 5 - 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 28 ounces (1 can) Italian plum tomatoes
  • 28 ounces (1 can) Italian tomato puree
  • 12 ounces (2 cans) tomato paste
  • 1/4 cup fresh finely chopped basil leaves
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 16 ounces lasagna noodles
  • 3 eggs
  • 5 cups (40 ounces) fresh ricotta (divided)
  • 12 ounces Pecorino Romano, grated

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Recipe Notes

  • If you can't find Pecorino Romano, use freshly grated Parmesan cheese.
  • You could use ground turkey in place of the ground beef.
  • If you don't like spice, use mild, sweet or regular Italian sausage. Bulk Italian sausage can be used instead of links.

Here's how to make it: 

  1. Cook the ground beef and onions in a large skillet over medium-high heat, breaking the meat up as you stir, until meat is cooked through and onions tender, about 8 minutes. Transfer the meat and onions to a bowl. Drain grease from the pan.
  2. Add the sausage and garlic to the skillet and cook, breaking up sausage as you stir, until sausage is browned, about 3 to 5 minutes. Add the tomatoes, tomato puree, tomato paste, basil and cinnamon. Put the beef and onions back into the pan. Season with salt and pepper. Simmer, stirring often, until sauce thickens, about 20 minutes. 
  3. Cook the lasagna noodles in boiling salted water according to package directions for al dente. Drain. 
  4. In a mixing bowl, whisk the eggs. Stir in 4 cups of the ricotta cheese. 
  5. To assemble the lasagna, spread a thin layer of the sauce on the bottom of a 15x10-inch lasagna pan. Top with a fourth of the noodles in an even layer. Top with a third of the ricotta-egg mixture, a fourth of the Pecorino Romano cheese and a fourth of the sauce. Repeat the layers two more times. Top with the remaining noodles. Spoon the remaining sauce over the top and add dollops of the remaining ricotta and sprinkle with the remaining Pecorino Romano. 
  6. Bake in a preheated 350-degree F oven for about 45 minutes or until bubbly. Let the lasagna rest 10 minutes before serving.

Nutrition Facts Per Serving

Calories: 418

Total Fat: 16.8g

Saturated Fat: 10.6g

Cholesterol: 149mg

Sodium: 808mg

Total Carbohydrate: 43.3g

Dietary Fiber: 8.7g

Total Sugars: 24.6g

Protein: 27.6g

Vitamin D: 9mcg

Calcium: 474mg

Iron: 7mg

Potassium: 1674mg

Recipe cooking times, nutritional information and servings are approximate and provided for your convenience. However, 30Seconds is not responsible for the outcome of any recipe, nor may you have the same results because of variations in ingredients, temperatures, altitude, errors, omissions or cooking/baking abilities. This recipe has been analyzed by VeryWellFit. However, any nutritional information is provided as a courtesy and it is up to the individual to ascertain accuracy. To ensure image quality, we may occasionally use stock photography.

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Now I have to try cinnamon in my lasagna!
Elisa Schmitz
What an incredible recipe, Donna John , and so sad to hear of the passing of Tony Bennett. RIP to one of the true greats. Looking forward to making this recipe in his honor.
I noticed the cinnamon is added to the sauce. Could that be a typo? Often in Italian recipes nutmeg is added to a ricotta in lasagne. Could the cinnamon belong in the ricotta here?
Donna John
Tony Bennett's mom put cinnamon in her lasagna. No typo. I love how people put their own unique twists on recipes.
Hi my question wasn’t whether she put the cinnamon in the lasagna but does it go in the gravy it the Ricotta filling? As I said, nutmeg often goes in Ricotta in Italian recipes… are you sure the cinnamon doesn’t belong in the Ricotta not the sauce?
Donna John
The cinnamon is added in step 2. "Add the sausage and garlic to the skillet and cook, breaking up sausage as you stir, until sausage is browned, about 3 to 5 minutes. Add the tomatoes, tomato puree, tomato paste, basil and cinnamon." That's how Tony's mom did it, but if you want to add it to the ricotta, go ahead. I'm sure it'll be just as delicious.

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