Pin
Share
Tweet
Lasagna
The Best Lasagna recipe that’s rich, satisfying, comforting, flavorful, perfectly proportioned and will end your search for the best homemade meat lasagna recipe!  It’s loaded with three layers of pasta, homemade Bolognese, creamy ricotta (with a secret trick), nutty Parmesan and gooey mozzarella cheese.  Each and every bite is hot, meaty, cheesy, saucy perfection. I’ve also instructions on how to make lasagna ahead of time as well as how to freeze lasagna.   
Servings Prep Time
12servings 30minutes
Cook Time
90minutes
Servings Prep Time
12servings 30minutes
Cook Time
90minutes
a fork cutting into a slice of classic lasagna
Ingredients
Bolognese
  • 1pound mild Italian sausagebulk or casings removed
  • 1pound lean ground beef
  • 1 medium yellow onionchopped
  • 1 carrotdiced
  • 1 stalk celerydiced
  • 1/4teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 6-8 garlic clovesminced
  • 128 oz. can crushed tomatoes
  • 215 oz. cans tomato sauce
  • 1/2cup water
  • 3tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1tablespoon reduced sodium soy sauce
  • 1/4cup chopped fresh basilor 1 tablespoon dried
  • 1 1/2tablespoons dried parsleyor 1/4 cup fresh
  • 1tablespoon beef bouillon
  • 1tablespoon sugarmore or less to taste
  • 1 1/2teaspoons balsamic vinegar
  • 2teaspoons dried oregano
  • 1/2tsp EACH dried thyme, salt, pepper
  • 1 whole bay leaf
Cheese Filling
  • 3cups whole milk ricotta cheese
  • 1cup sour cream
  • 1/4cup chopped fresh basilor 1 tablespoon dried
  • 1/4teaspoon nutmeg
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
Layers
  • 1cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1pound shredded mozzarella(4 cups)
  • 15 classic lasagna noodles(NOT no-boil)
Instructions
  1. Place lasagna noodles into the bottom of a long pan. Pour hot tap water over the noodles until they are submerged. Let them soak while you prep the lasagna – at least 30 minutes.
  2. In a Dutch oven or large pot, brown ground beef, sausage, onion, carrots and celery over medium heat. Add garlic and red pepper flakes and cook 30 more seconds. Drain grease.
  3. Add all remaining Bolognese ingredients, cover, and bring to a boil. Remove lid and reduce heat to low. Simmer gently uncovered for 15-20 minutes, stirring occasionally, or until Bolognese is reduced but still saucy.
  4. While sauce is simmering, preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Add all of the Cheese Filling ingredients to a large bowl and mix until combined.
  5. To assemble, lightly grease a deep 9×13 pan. Spread 1 1/2 cups of meat sauce in the bottom of the prepared pan (layer will be thin). Place 4 noodles lengthwise and part of a 5th noodle on top to cover. Spread with a third of the ricotta cheese mixture. Top with 1 cup mozzarella cheese followed by 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese. Repeat layers (meat, noodles, ricotta, mozzarella, parmesan) 2 more times for a total of 3 complete layers. To finish, top with remaining meat sauce, remaining mozzarella (1 cup) and remaining Parmesan cheese (1/4 cup). (Pan will be very full.) Tent lasagna with foil and secure tightly all around the edges.
  6. Place lasagna pan on a baking sheet and bake in preheated oven for 30 minutes. Remove foil, and bake an additional 30 minutes or until hot and bubbly. Let stand 15 minutes before serving. Garnish with fresh parsley if desired.
Recipe Notes

Notes

  • Italian Sausage.  Italian Sausage comes seasoned with Italian seasonings, primarily fennel.  Fennel is crucial for authentic Italian flavor so if you skip the Italian sausage, make sure you add some fennel to your meat sauce.
  • Lean Ground Beef.  Take care you are using  (93/7)  lean ground beef so that the sauce doesn’t end up greasy.  You will also want to drain your meat of any excess grease after cooking.
  • Mozzarella.  I prefer shredded mozzarella cheese over fresh mozzarella balls because I find them too watery for lasagna.  I also prefer shredded mozzarella cheese over sliced because its so much easier to evenly distribute. If you want to use mozzarella slices, then I suggest asking your deli counter to very thinly slice the mozzarella.
  • Parmesan.  You don’t want to use the powdered or pre-shredded Parmesan cheese.  Freshly grated Parmesan tastes far superior and melts much better.

How To Prep Lasagna Ahead of Time

  • Assemble and Refrigerate. You can make and assemble the entire lasagna a day in advance and refrigerate.  I actually think the lasagna tastes better this way because the flavors have more time to develop and meld.
  • Make Sauce in Advance. You can make the sauce up to 3 days in advance and refrigerate it or freeze it for up to 3 months.  If you use cold, thawed sauce in your lasagna, you will need to bake your lasagna an addition 15 minutes or so.

How to Freeze Uncooked Lasagna

  • Assemble lasagna according to recipe directions in a freezer safe dish.
  • Cover lasagna tightly all around the dish with 2 layers of plastic wrap.
  • Cover the lasagna tightly with one layer of aluminum foil.
  • Label lasagna.
  • Place evenly in the freezer for up to 3 months.
  • When ready to bake, place lasagna in the refrigerator the night before to thaw completely.
  • Remove plastic wrap and cover tightly with foil.
  • Bake lasagna according to directions, adding an additional 10-15 minutes.

How to Freeze Cooked Lasagna

  • Bake lasagna according to directions in a freezer safe dish.
  • Let cool on the counter for one hour.
  • Cover lasagna with plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator to chill completely before freezing (this will prevent an unpleasant texture).
  • Cover lasagna tightly with a second layer of plastic wrap all the way around the dish.
  • Cover the lasagna tightly with one layer of aluminum foil.
  • Label lasagna.
  • Place evenly in the freezer for up to 3 months.
  • When ready to bake, place lasagna in the refrigerator the night before to thaw completely.
  • Remove plastic wrap and cover lasagna tightly with foil.
  • Bake entire lasagna according to directions, adding an additional 10-15 minutes.

HOW TO FREEZE INDIVIDUAL SERVINGS of LASAGNA

  • Bake lasagna according to directions.
  • Let lasagna cool completely then slice into individual servings.
  • Freeze lasagna in freezer safe plastic bags.
  • To reheat, bake individual servings at 350 degrees F for 30-35 minutes.

 

How to Cook Lasagna From Frozen

  • Remove plastic wrap from lasagna and cover tightly with foil.
  • Bake lasagna covered at 350 degrees F for 1 ½ hours.
  • Uncover and bake an addition 15-30 minutes or until hot and bubbly.
Pin
Share
Tweet