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Classic Lasagna



Lasagna - A Family Feast

Today’s Classic Lasagna recipe is from my husband Jack’s recipe collection!  It’s a delicious adaptation that marries an old family lasagna recipe with a version that he used to make many years ago during his food service career.  This is a wonderful, classic lasagna recipe – nothing too fancy, just layers of pasta, meat sauce, a ricotta cheese mixture, and mozzarella – and it’s one that everyone should have in their own recipe collection!

Lasagna - A Family Feast

Jack and I are both ‘old-school’ when it comes to making lasagna – we both prefer using the traditional dry ribbon noodles that need to be partially cooked before assembling all of the layers of the dish!  While we agree that you can’t beat the convenience of the pre-cooked lasagna noodles (or in food service, the frozen pasta sheets) – we both think that the best tasting lasagna with the best texture comes from using the dry pasta.  (You may, of course, use the pre-cooked noodles if you prefer!)

Lasagna - A Family Feast

We also use a mix of meats in our sauce – but if you’d prefer to keep things more simple, just use all ground beef or whatever combination of meats you like best.  Lasagna is a very forgiving dish – so you can adjust the meats, seasonings and even the proportion of cheeses and sauce used in each layer of this wonderful dish to make it exactly how your family likes it!

Classic Lasagna

Prep Time: 30 minutes

Cook Time: 1 hour, 30 minutes

Total Time: 2 hours

Yield: 8-12 servings

Classic Lasagna

Rather than using the mix ground beef and sausage listed in this recipe, you can use whatever kind of meat your family enjoys - just plan for about two pounds total.

Ingredients

  • 1 pound box of dry lasagna noodles (you will need 16 noodles. A one pound box contains 20 noodles so you will have four extra. Usually a few get broken so this usually works out)
  • For the Meat Sauce
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 cup chopped onions
  • 1 tablespoon chopped garlic
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 pound ground Italian sausage meat (hot or sweet your choice)
  • 1 28-ounce canned crushed tomatoes (we use Cento)
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon dry oregano
  • 2 tablespoons dry basil or 3 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
  • Pinch red pepper flakes
  • 2 teaspoons chopped fresh mint
  • For the cheese mixture
  • 2 pounds whole milk ricotta cheese
  • 1 cup shredded mozzarella
  • 2 eggs beaten
  • 1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • ½ cup chopped fresh Italian flat leaf parsley
  • Other ingredients you’ll need
  • 2 ½ cups tomato sauce (see recipe here)
  • 8 ounces fresh mozzarella sliced into 12 slices
  • 3 cups shredded mozzarella
  • ½ cup grated Parmesan cheese

Instructions

  1. Cook lasagna noodles according to box directions but keep them slightly undercooked (cook approximately 7-8 minutes). They should still have a good bite to them. Rinse and cool. Keep moist while you prepare the rest of the dish.
  2. In a large skillet, heat the olive oil and cook the onions for about two minutes over medium high heat. Add the garlic and cook one more minute. Add the meat, stir and cook until there is no pink. Depending on the fat content of the meat you are using, you may need to drian off some liquid. There should only be a few tablespoons of liquid after cooking the meat. Add crushed tomatoes, tomato paste, 1 teaspoon salt, ¼ teaspoon pepper, oregano, basil, red pepper flakes and mint. Reduce to medium and simmer ten minutes, stirring occasionally. Set aside.
  3. In a medium bowl, mix ricotta, 1 cup shredded mozzarella, beaten eggs, 1 cup Parmesan cheese, 1 teaspoon salt, ¼ teaspoon pepper and the chopped parsley. Mix to combine and set aside.
  4. Preheat oven to 375 degrees and put oven rack in center of oven.
  5. In a 9X13X3 glass baking dish, ladle in one cup of tomato sauce into the bottom and lay four lasagna noodles overlapping slightly. Add one third of these cheese mixture, one third of the meat mixture and half of the sliced fresh mozzarella. (The sliced mozzarella will not cover the whole pan, just spread as evenly as possible). Repeat with four more noodles, one third of cheese mixture, one third of meat mixture and the other half of sliced fresh mozzarella. Cover with four more noodles and top with remaining cheese mixture, remaining meat mixture and 1 ½ cups shredded mozzarella cheese. Finish with four more noodles, 1 ½ cups tomato sauce, 1 ½ cups shredded mozzarella and ½ cup grated Parmesan cheese.
  6. Lay a piece of parchment paper over top and then cover tightly with foil. Cover a sheet pan with foil and place a rack in foiled pan. Now place the covered lasagna on the rack and place in the oven. The rack is to circulate heat and the lower pan will catch and drips.
  7. Bake for one hour covered. Remove foil and parchment and cook uncovered for 30 more minutes. Let rest 15-30 minutes before cutting.
http://www.afamilyfeast.com/classic-lasagna/

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Comments

  1. I love this version as you have some very nice variations like the fresh mozzarella. I will use the dry pasta next time and cook it versus the no-cook noodles. I’m sure there probably is a big difference so now I am curious to see how much. I love using the sausage mixture in lasagna because I think it just adds so much flavor and brings everything up a notch. Lasagna is a nice holiday dish to make because you can do it ahead of time and enjoy your company (and it is red and green if you sprinkle some parsley on top:-).
    Becki’s Whole Life recently posted…Ten Great Versions of Favorite Christmas CarolsMy Profile

  2. One of my favorite meals! Your lasagna looks legit!!!
    Nicole recently posted…Brown Butter Glazed BrowniesMy Profile

  3. I am making Lasagna for Christmas this year for the first time ever. This looks awesome.

  4. I put a little scallions { even the green part of the scallions } in my cheese mixture and it gives it a little flavor & texture yum my husband loves when I do that

  5. I just finished serving your Classic Lasagna for dinner and it was absolutely delicious! The recipe was easy to follow and I especially love the Tomato Sauce recipe.

  6. We served this at a dinner party after the new year with some friends. Great classic recipe & had a ton of left overs and everyone loved it.
    sailingfork recently posted…CHOCOLATE FUNKY MONKEY ROLLMy Profile

  7. I have already made this once and it was delicious!! I want to freeze it so I can make it at home and then take it on vacation. Do you know if it freezes well? Thanks.

  8. Thank you very much for sharing the recipe- It was delicious!
    My favorite Lasagna!!!
    Greetings from México :)

    Lety

  9. I just put this all together, only I substituted cottage cheese in place of ricotta. Hope it’s just as good! Cottage cheese is what we normally use. And also, my dish was too high and I was not able to add the last 4 noodles so I finished it off a layer early since my dish was 2″ high. Can’t wait to cook it! No parchment paper either…. I doubled up foil and sprayed it with cooking spray to prevent sticking. Oh, the problem solving….. Lol

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