Dinner recipe – last updated MARCH 2023
There’s nothing quite like a hearty, homemade lasagna to warm you up and make you feel cozy. This guide will walk you through the steps to create the best classic lasagna in the most simple way! Enjoy your dinner with a side of Caesar salad, a piece of warm garlic bread or a glass of wine.
To make this timeless recipe, grab your 9×13-inch baking dish and some aluminum foil. First, prepare the meat sauce and noodles (unless you’re using oven-ready pasta), then layer everything together as instructed below for a perfect, melt-in-your-mouth lasagna. Cook it covered for 45 minutes, then uncovered for an additional 10 minutes to achieve that perfect golden-brown crust. Don’t forget to serve with a refreshing Caesar salad, warm garlic bread, or a glass of your favorite wine for the ultimate dining experience.
Lasagna noodles: You can choose between traditional or oven-ready noodles. No matter which one you choose, the result will be really similar. You will need one box of lasagna noodles.
Regular lasagna noodles: Cook traditional noodles according to the packaging instructions and coat them with olive oil to prevent sticking.
Oven ready lasagna noodles: Oven-ready noodles can help you save time in this recipe. Put the layers together with uncooked noodles. Note that no-boil noodles are the same as oven ready.
Onion and garlic: Fry a diced yellow onion and 2 minced garlic cloves in a drizzle of oil.
Meat: For this recipe you need one pound of lean ground beef. You can also use a meat blend of beef, pork and veal. Brown the meat in the same skillet as the onion and garlic. Season with salt and black pepper.
Lasagna sauce: You can use store-bought tomato sauce or make your own to make the lasagna sauce. Simmer tomato sauce, spices and cooked meat in a large pot or Dutch oven to blend the flavors together. For a balanced flavor, add 1-2 tablespoons of sugar to reduce the acidity of the tomatoes.
Seasoning: Basil and oregano are the primary herbs used in this classic Italian dish. The moment you add these spices, your kitchen will begin to smell like homemade lasagna. For a touch of spiciness, add a pinch of red pepper flakes.
If you don’t have all the individual spices, an Italian seasoning mix can work as well. For a finishing touch, top your lasagna with fresh basil leaves to bring a pop of color and flavor.
Cheese: For a classic lasagna recipe, use both mozzarella and ricotta cheese. To add an extra layer of cheesiness, add 1 cup of grated Parmesan cheese along with the pound of mozzarella.
For the ricotta mixture, combine 18 ounces of ricotta cheese with an egg in a mixing bowl, and season with 1-2 tablespoons of fresh parsley if desired. Make it even more decadent by throwing 1 to 2 tablespoons of parmesan if you want.
To make a creamy and flavorful ricotta mixture, combine 18 ounces of ricotta cheese and one egg in a mixing bowl. For added flavor, mix in 1-2 tablespoons of fresh parsley and 1-2 tbsp of grated parmesan cheese. Spread over the lasagna noodles, it adds a delicious texture to the dish.
Ricotta cheese and egg are used in lasagna to make a creamy and rich filling. The egg acts as a binder, holding the ricotta cheese together, while also adding moisture to the mixture.
With this recipe, the possibilities are endless. Customize your lasagna to your liking by adding your favorite vegetables for a healthier twist or extra meat for a protein boost. The dish can be easily adapted to fit your dietary preferences or personal taste.
Add the sweet and delicious flavor of Italian sausages to your lasagna sauce by peeling the skin off of 2 or 3 sausages and browning the meat with the ground beef for a more flavorful sauce.
Boost the nutrition of your lasagna by incorporating vegetables into your tomato sauce. Start by browning 2 diced carrots and 2 diced celery stalks, and set them aside while you cook the ground beef. Then, add them to the tomato sauce along with the beef. For more variety, you can also add bell peppers and zucchini to the mix.
Adding spinach to ricotta cheese is a delicious way to make the dish more nutritious. Simply mix in one package (300g) of thawed and drained frozen spinach to the ricotta cheese mixture before layering.
Now that all the ingredients are ready, it’s time to start layering. It’s best to save more meat sauce for the top layer as it’s better to have too much sauce than too little. The sauce will sink down as the lasagna cooks, so make sure you have enough to completely cover the last layer of pasta. Divide the ricotta mixture into two equal portions, as there will be 2 layers of ricotta cheese.
One box of lasagna noodles is enough for this recipe. Divide the noodles into 3 layers, using approximately 5 noodles per layer. Break the pasta sheets to fit the size of your lasagna pan. To ensure that the layers hold together after cooking, criss-cross the noodles as you build them up.
In conclusion: (sauce – noodles – meat sauce – ricotta – noodles – meat sauce – ricotta – noodles – meat sauce -top layer of mozzarella cheese)
If you’re looking for a variation on the traditional lasagna recipe, try making our lasagna roll-ups variation instead. This recipe skips the layering process and instead rolls the noodles around the filling mixture.
In order to prevent your lasagna from being runny, check out the tips below.
On the other hand, if you find your lasagna is too dry, make sure you have enough sauce. You can adjust the consistency by adding a little bit of water or chicken broth to the tomato sauce until it reaches the desired thickness.
Yes, lasagna is the perfect meal to make ahead for busy weeknights. Simply assemble the dish, cover it tightly with aluminum foil, and refrigerate until ready to bake. Before baking, you can also brush the foil with a little bit of butter or cooking spray to prevent the cheese from sticking to it. Bake the lasagna for 55 minutes until hot and bubbly, and enjoy a stress-free dinner with your family or friends.
For best results, allow the lasagna to cool down to room temperature before covering it with plastic wrap or aluminum foil and storing it in the fridge for up to 4 days.
When reheating the leftovers, avoid over-drying it by cooking it in the microwave for short intervals at a lower power setting. Alternatively, you can reheat it in the oven at 350°F, but place a pan of cold water on the lower rack to keep the lasagna moist and prevent it from drying out.
For best results, freeze your lasagna in individual portions so you can easily defrost and reheat what you need. Use airtight containers or freezer bags to store the lasagna in the freezer for up to 3 months. To defrost, transfer the frozen portions to the fridge and allow to thaw overnight.
If you’re looking for a fun twist on classic lasagna, try making lasagna roll-ups for a quick and easy 40-minute meal. The main difference from the original recipe is that you will need to use regular noodles that need to be boiled. You will also need a package of frozen spinach just like in the spinach lasagna upgrade.
If you enjoy roll-ups, give stuffed shells with spinach a try using pasta shells instead of lasagna noodles and filling them with the same ricotta mixture. Share your favorite lasagna variations in the comments below!