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Classic Lasagna

Lasagna - A Family Feast

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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

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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!

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Classic Lasagna

Lasagna - A Family Feast

5 from 1 reviews

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.

  • Prep Time: 30 mins
  • Cook Time: 1 hour 30 mins
  • Total Time: 2 hours
  • Yield: 8-12 servings

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.

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Comments

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  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:-).

  2. One of my favorite meals! Your lasagna looks legit!!!

  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.

  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

  10. I tried this recipe tonight for 10 people. Everyone loved it! I made a few tweaks of my own as most people will do with a recipe. Added some cream cheese, increased the garlic, added some red pepper flakes little things like that. It has a nice bold flavor and good consistency, moist but not runny. Definitely recommend it, and will be using it for years to come I think! Thanks for sharing it.

  11. Hi Martha

    So I guess the no-boil noodles are out. for the shredded mozzarella, I usually buy the block and shredded it myself. for the fresh mozzarella are you talking about the more expensive round ball tha comes in a container of water.

    • Hi Jackie – We personally aren’t fans of the no-boil noodles – we don’t think the texture is the same! We used pre-shredded mozzarella from the supermarket – no need to buy the more expensive balls of mozzarella for this recipe. Hope that helps!

  12. I was just wondering if I could freeze this recipe? Or how long could i refrigerate it for do you think before it going bad?

    Thnks!

    • Hi Janessa, this is Jack. Lasagna freezes very well and should last at least three months covered tightly in the freezer. I would freeze it prior to baking. Just thaw it before baking. When it thaws, it may get a little watery but that should bake right out. As far as refrigeration, I wouldn’t feel comfortable keeping any dish more than four days in the refrigerator, baked or unbaked. Good luck!

      • Can you prepare the lasagna and refrigerate it 2 days prior? Trying to get a head start on Christmas Eve! BTW I have the sauce simmering now and it smells so yummy!! Can’t wait to serve!!

        • Hi Maggie – You can although I would suggest assembling it when all of the ingredients are completely chilled. Also if you are cooking the lasagna right from the refrigerator, the cook time will be longer so plan for that. We hope you enjoy the recipe!

    • I have made this wonderful recipe 3 times already. I cut remainder into portions and place on a cookie sheet and freeze individually. I than wrap each piece in parchment paper and place in freezer bags and return to freezer.when I want a few pieces I thaw in fridge overnight and put in cold oven and turn oven to 350 after about 10 -15 minutes it is perfectly heated through.

  13. I thought no lasagne would ever come close to the one my mother makes, but oh boy, this one did! Amazing recipe which I will make again and again. Thanks and hello from the UK!

  14. Wanted to thank you for this recipe. I’ve made it multiple times and people really love it. I’ve also made different variations of this, such as adding green chilli peppers and hot chilli powder for the spicy folks in my life 🙂
    I’ve also made it ahead of time by assembling it, waiting for it to come to room temperature, wrapping it a million times with parchment, foil, plastic wrap, and freezing it until needed. I defrosted it in the fridge but it was still pretty frozen, so the cook time was much longer for me. But hey that doesn’t matter when you can place it in the oven and go do something else!
    Oh and I also use disposable aluminum from the $ Store.
    Getting ready to make two of them today!

  15. I have tried lots of recipes and often combines them to find what I like. This recipe, hands down, has the best cheese mixture of any I have tried. I have now perfected my lasagna! Thank you! Thank you!

  16. MY husbsnd challenged me to make this
    I did it and it was great. Thanks.

  17. I made this lasagna two days ago for my husband’s birthday. It was a huge hit! It’s a delicious recipe that feeds a crowd. I actually put it all together the day before and then took it out of the fridge an hour before cooking and added about 15 minutes to the covered cooking time and another 15 to the uncovered cooking time. I also let it sit for about 30 minutes before serving. It couldn’t have come out any better. Thank you!

  18. if you are using parmesan why add more salt parmesan salty enough

  19. Hi Martha Beautiful photo of you both! I also love Boston . I made your classic lasagna and love the sauce, can’t wait to bake it . Thanks for sharing . Have a good day!

  20. Andrea Pellman :

    In the picture it looks like there is cheddar on the top but not listed in ingredients?? I think I will add a little since I have some already shredded. Let you know how it turns out. It looks delicious.

    • Hi Andrea – That is mozzarella on top – the tomato sauce seeping up turned the white mozzarella a yellowish color as it baked. (But adding cheddar won’t hurt it so if you’ve already added it, don’t worry!)

  21. What meat can I use to make a difference in taste. I am usually use ground beef and pork. I would to have a great more richer combo do you have a good suggestion?

    • Hi Bern – Great question! You may have noticed that we put sausage in our meat mixture vs just ground pork so different types of sausage would add different flavor. In place of the ground beef, you could buy a chuck roast and grind it yourself — this way you’ll know for sure that you are getting high quality, flavorful beef. (You could do the same with a pork shoulder/pork butt too!). Bison is another alternative but you’d also need to add some fat to the mix since it such a lean meat. Finally, we’ve noticed that grass fed ground beef is much more flavorful than the typical ground beef at the supermarket – Verde Farms is our favorite brand and that could be another option. Hope this helps!

  22. I’m not gonna lie this was my first time ever making Lasagna n I must say, if it wasn’t for your delicious well detailed n easy instructed recipe I don’t know how it would’ve came out. Thank you so much for providing this recipe. I followed every detail and added all ingredients including mint which i was a little hesitant about. But then i thought to myself…what do u know just follow the instructions lol My family loved it. They couldnt believe I made it. Especially having to double up on the servings. I made 2 huge trays and not one bite was left. Thanks again.

    • Hi Stephanie! You are very welcome, and thank you so much for taking the time to leave your comment! Jack and I are glad that you had great success with the recipe, and that your family loved it! Congrats – I have a feeling your family may ask you to make lasagna again! 🙂 Have a great weekend! Martha

  23. Thank you for sharing your Classic Lasagna recipe it is delicious I give it a 5 star.

  24. my husband wanted me to cook him some lasagna and I looked it up on the internet and I really was impressed with this recipe and he loved it to thank you for leaving that there for me to look at and now I know how to make lasagna thank you

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