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Restaurants serving great lasagna on Long Island

Layered with history as well as cheese, lasagne of all kinds have contented pasta lovers since the Greeks had a word for it. "Laganon" meant a sheet of dough cut into strips; "lasanan," a cooking pot. Both became "lasanum" for the Romans. The plate in which the pasta was cooked then evolved into the dish itself. All of which shows how long it has been around and how many possibilities there are. On LI, the versions vary from the classic Bolognese with bechamel to more Southern Italian styles with little meatballs, crumbled sausage, even hard-boiled eggs. In the pleasurable pursuit of the primo lasagna, here are Newsday's choices for the best in Nassau and Suffolk. Mangia bene.

Bacaro Italian Tavern

Bacaro Italian Tavern (1020 Park Blvd., Massapequa Park):
Photo Credit: Daniel Brennan

Bacaro Italian Tavern (1020 Park Blvd., Massapequa Park): The meatless lasagna at this Italian eatery is homey and very good. More info: 516-798-1555, bacarony.com 

Pietro Cucina Italiana

Pietro Cucina Italiana (404 N. Country Rd., St.
Photo Credit: Daniel Brennan

Pietro Cucina Italiana (404 N. Country Rd., St. James): A favorite of the pastas at this Italian restaurant is lasagna rustica whose noodles, sauce, cheeses and slivered chestnuts fused together into a hot mess of winter solace. More info: 631-862-6129, pietro631.com 

Sal's Ristorante & Bar

Sal's Ristorante & Bar (1012 W. Jericho Tpke.,
Photo Credit: Daniel Brennan

Sal's Ristorante & Bar (1012 W. Jericho Tpke., Smithtown): The vegetable lasagna here is particularly vibrant. The surprise is that it doesn't have any cheese, making it a good choice for vegans. Executive chef Pedro Alvarez blanches and seasons zucchini, eggplant, roasted red peppers, carrots and broccoli. Over a layer of marinara sauce goes another of the finely cut vegetables, which are topped with noodles; the layering is repeated. When ordered, a slab is heated in the oven before being plated with tomato sauce and chopped parsley on top. More info: 631-543-6000, salsofsmithtown.com 

The Trattoria

The Trattoria (532 North Country Rd., Saint James):
Photo Credit: Daniel Brennan

The Trattoria (532 North Country Rd., Saint James): Chef-owner Steven Gallagher's five-layer lasagna Bolognese begins with house-made pasta. It's blanched and layered first with tomato sauce that includes onion and garlic, grated Pecorino-Romano cheese; then with a "crumbled" Bolognese sauce made of beef, pork, guanciale, or cured pork jowl, heavy cream and dry red wine; and followed by béchamel sauce with grated Fontina cheese. The airy and lush lasagna is baked covered, then uncovered, and served in a terra-cotta cazuela pot. More info: 516-584-3518, thetrattoriarestaurant.com 

Emilio's

Emilio's (2201 Jericho Tpke., Commack): Emilio Branchinelli's three-layer
Photo Credit: Doug Young

Emilio's (2201 Jericho Tpke., Commack): Emilio Branchinelli's three-layer Italian American lasagna features ground beef, mozzarella, a blend of regular and impastata (extra-creamy) ricotta, spices and fresh pasta. Branchinelli also shaves some hard-boiled egg between each layer. He brushes the top of the construct with a plum tomato sauce before baking it. When ordered, a "hearty homestyle cut" is returned to the oven for a short time, topped with more sauce and some shaved Parmigiano-Reggiano. More info: 631-462-6267, emilioscommack.com 

Abeetza Next Door

Abeetza Next Door (82 Glen Cove Rd., Greenvale):
Photo Credit: Jeremy Bales

Abeetza Next Door (82 Glen Cove Rd., Greenvale): This lush zucchini lasagna is the answer for those who prefer eating low-fat, low-carb and gluten-free. Abeetza's chef-owner Joseph DeLorenzo starts by slicing zucchini lengthwise, "eggplant style," salting and then draining the slices to get out the excess water and then lightly grilling them. The sliced zucchini is then treated like pasta, layered with a mixture of goat cheese, ricotta and Parmigiano-Reggiano. A little red sauce goes on top before it's baked and allowed to set. When ordered, it's warmed and then served on a bed of sauteed baby spinach. More red sauce then goes on top. More info: 516-484-3123, abeetza.com 

Butera's

Butera's (multiple locations): Butera's makes its unusual unlayered
Photo Credit: Jeremy Bales

Butera's (multiple locations): Butera's makes its unusual unlayered lasagna in a skillet. You may order it in many varieties, such as chicken meatball, vegetable and seafood, but a favorite is the version done with house-made veal sausage. The crumbled sausage is sauteed in a pan with tomato cream sauce and fresh spinach. Then, herbed ricotta and fresh mafalda (thin curly-edged strips of pasta) go in. The blend is transferred to a casserole, topped with mozzarella and run under the broiler until golden brown. More info: buteras.com 

Casa Rustica

Casa Rustica (175 W. Main St., Smithtown): The
Photo Credit: Doug Young

Casa Rustica (175 W. Main St., Smithtown): The lasagna Bolognese at Mimmo and Benedetto Gambino's Casa Rustica is is a three-layer assemblage that commences with house-made pasta. Chef Brian Weissis' generous, richly flavored version layers the sheets of pasta with béchamel sauce, a savory Bolognese sauce made with beef, veal and pork, and fresh ricotta and mozzarella. More of the meat sauce is added to the top layer of pasta, and the dish is served with extra tomato sauce on the side. More info: 516-265-9265, casarustica.net 

Ciao Baby

Ciao Baby (50-74 Sunrise Hwy., Massapequa Park): While
Photo Credit: Doug Young

Ciao Baby (50-74 Sunrise Hwy., Massapequa Park): While chef Heather West is no longer executive chef of Ciao Baby, her signature entree, Grandma's eggplant lasagna, remains a menu standby. With eggplant a stand-in for pasta, the thinly sliced vegetable is first salted, to get the water out, lightly floured, fried and then layered with whipped egg, Parmigiano-Reggiano and a mixture of basil, parsley, salt, pepper and garlic. Sauce is added every few layers and also goes on top. When ordered, a hefty slab, enough to feed two to three, is reheated with sauce and topped with more Parmigiano-Reggiano. A dollop of ricotta goes into the plate. More info: 516-799-5200, ciaobabyrestaurant.com 

Eric's Italian Bistro

Eric's Italian Bistro (70 E. Old Country Rd.,
Photo Credit: Jeremy Bales

Eric's Italian Bistro (70 E. Old Country Rd., Mineola): Chef-owner George Echeverria's three-layer lasagna begins with fresh pasta but is defined by his whipped, creamy, well-seasoned ricotta impastata, which precludes any need for béchamel sauce. Layers of traditional marinara sauce, a meaty beef, veal and pork-laden sauce Bolognese, and a melted-cheese top with fresh mozzarella finish the homey, very satisfying production, a special that turns every day into Sunday. More info: 516-280-5675, ericsbistro.com 

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