Cheesy, Saucy and Loaded with Italian Sausage, Our Homemade Lasagna Recipe is Everything You Want it To Be
There’s kind of nothing better than a big slab of freshly-baked, homemade lasagna. The oozing mozzarella cheese, puddling down over the sides of that piping hot tower-o-noodles. Hearty, tomato-meat sauce swirling together with basil-dotted ricotta cheese and you slide your fork right into the big, beautiful mess and spear yourself one, perfect bite. Yeah, it’s just about as dreamy as a home-cooked meal can be. And this lasagna recipe? Well, it’s just the very best. Why? Because we haven’t messed with perfection. Nope! Not one bit. Down to the very last thing—egg in the ricotta mixture, shredded mozzarella in droves, a homemade meat sauce and some basic herbs all come together to make this a totally traditional, 100% classic lasagna recipe. It’s the kind of thing your family will beg for on the regular, and luckily, it’s so easy to make, you won’t mind one bit. Lasagna leftovers make killer lunches, too, and if you need a meal to bring to a friend, well, nothing says “I love you” (or “hang in there” or “I think you might be hungry”) like a fresh, homemade lasagna left on the doorstep.
The Real Secret to Making the Best Lasagna? Using the Best Lasagna Ingredients, of Course!
We’ve made this easy lasagna recipe as flexible as possible—after all, lasagna should be an inherently casual sort of thing to make. But there are a few musts! You must use whole-milk ricotta, anything less is just going to be a watery mess. You must use the teensy bit of sugar that we call for—it balances out the acidity of the tomato paste and canned tomatoes in a way that’s just essential to the quality of the finished product. As for the meat, well, here’s where things get flexible. Our very favorite version of the lasagna recipe comes into being when we use equal parts ground beef & ground Italian sausage, but ground chicken or even ground turkey can work, too, if you’re looking for a lighter option. You do you!
Extra virgin olive oil
Ground meat (Beef, Italian sausage, pork, turkey or chicken)
Canned, crushed tomatoes
Whole milk ricotta
Mozzarella (low-moisture mozzarella, not the fresh stuff)
Dried lasagna noodles
Do You Have to Boil Lasagna Before Baking?
Yes, we’ve heard of no-boil lasagna noodles. No, our recipe doesn’t use them. Yes, it’s slightly more work to boil the noodles separately. But the extra work is incredibly marginal and we love that you can control how cooked the noodles are when you boil them before adding to the lasagna. Now, if you’re a big fan of no-boil noodles, you might be tempted to swap them in but don’t do it! Our recipe is written for the kind of lasagna noodles that you need to boil, and the no-boil noodles will soak up too much liquid from the lasagna sauce, which will result in one of the greatest culinary tragedies known to man: dry lasagna.
Lasagna Layers 101: How To Correctly Layer Your Lasagna for Picture-Perfection
You’ll begin the lasagna layering process by spooning a bit of sauce on the bottom of the baking dish, and then you’ll begin. The layers go like this:
Layer 1: A little marinara and lasagna noodles
Layer 2: spread out some of the meaty tomato sauce.
Layer 3: ricotta cheese mixture.
Layer 4: mozzarella cheese
Repeat! For this recipe, you should be able to get about four layers. You’ll finish it with one last layer of noodles, sauce and cheese.
How to Make Lasagna from Scratch
Meat sauce! Make a quick meat sauce: brown the ground meat, onion and garlic. Add tomato paste, crushed tomatoes, salt, pepper, Italian seasoning and sugar and simmer the whole thing for about ten minutes.
Noodles! While the sauce simmers, boil the lasagna noodles.
Ricotta! Make the filling for the lasagna’s ricotta layer by whisking together ricotta, egg, Parmesan, salt, pepper and basil (if you’re using it).
Assemble! Remember, it goes: noodles, sauce, ricotta, mozzarella. You should have enough of all of the fillings to make four complete layers, and then top the lasagna off with a layer of noodles, the last of the sauce and a combo of mozzarella and Parmesan.
Bake! Covered for 30 minutes, then uncovered for another 20 until the top is all bubbly.
Tools You’ll Need:
Box grater or food processor with grating attachment
More Classic Baked Pasta Recipes to Try
Lasagna for All!
If you’ve been scared to try your hand at making lasagna from scratch, take this recipe as your chance to give it a go! It’s really not too hard, and once you get the hang of it, you’ll be making it from memory. It’s one of those recipes that really sticks in your head and pretty quickly becomes something you could do in your sleep. And we all love those! When you make it, let us know how you like it! Share a photo and tag us on Instagram using @themodernproper and #themodernproper so that we can see your stuff! Happy eating!