BRR!! That is all I have to say about the last few days! For the first time this year, my heater has been called into action as we have gotten in the low 30’s the last few nights. Despite the chill I know is coming my way, my heart still belongs to fall. Why? There are too many reasons to list but one is that it is finally cool enough for me to bust out my supplies and prepare a large dish of lasagna!
Growing up, I mostly had lasagna from the family sized microwave meals so I was not the biggest fan. Since I’ve began taking more of an interest in cooking, I have been trying to revisit meals I did not love and give them a go in my kitchen. Lasagna was simple. Start with a great sauce (I recommend my Simply Tasty Pasta Sauce), get some good beef and Italian sausage, some spices and cheese to cover your lasagna noodles and BAM! You have lasagna perfection!
Since this recipe is a bit time consuming (but not hard at all!) I recommend making this on a day you have a few hours to be around the house. But don’t worry, it makes a huge pan, freezes like a dream and tastes even better as leftovers. You will work hard once but get at least two good meals out of this. You can thank me when it saves you from take-out on a super busy night;)
Prep Time: 35 minutes | Total Time: 2 hours, 30 minutes | Serves: 6-8
- 8-10 lasagna noodes
- 15 oz ricotta cheese (I use whole milk)
- 1 egg
- 1 tablespoon parsley
- 1 lb. ground beef
- 1 lb. italian sausage (mild or spicy)
- 2-3 cups shredded mozzarella cheese (more or less to taste)
- 1/2 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese (more or less to taste)
- 2 jars good quality pasta sauce (or 24 oz homemade)
- salt (to taste)
- pepper (to taste)
- basil (optional)
- rosemary (optional)
- onion powder (optional)
- garlic powder (optional)
- oregano (optional)
- In a large sauce pan over medium heat, combine ground beef and sausage. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and cook until browned, draining any excess fat
- Add pasta sauce and stir to combine with meat fully.
- Taste and add any desired additional seasoning, except parsley
- Bring to a gentle boil and lower the heat. Allow the mixture to simmer for 20-30 minutes
- While the meat sauce simmers, take a large bowl and mix ricotta with egg and parsley, stirring well until fully combined
- In an large pot, prepare the lasagna noodles per package instructions
- Preheat the oven to 375
- Once the sauce has simmered and the noodles are cooked, place a large spoonful of meat sauce on the bottom of a large casserole dish
- Top the meat sauce with three lasagna noodles, then 1/3 of ricotta mixture, then meat sauce, then 1/3 of mozzarella cheese and 1/3 parmesan cheese. For the second layer, repeat layers but lay the noodles in the opposite direction the first layer were placed (if you placed noodles with the length of the pan, cut the noodles and lay the width of the pan). The last layer will follow the same noodle pattern your first layer did. Top with remaining cheeses and desired meat (if you have extra meat sauce, reserve for topping lasagna or for later use)
- Cover with aluminum foil and bake for 45 minutes
- Remove foil and bake for 15 more minutes or until the dish is bubbling and cheese is fully melted
- Allow lasagna to rest for 5-10 minutes before digging in!
- You can use your favorite jarred pasta sauce, but I really do love a good from scratch pasta sauce. It really takes a great lasagna to a whole other level! To save your sanity and make a home made sauce possible, plan to make the pasta sauce a day or two before the lasagna so you can just measure and dump with no extra steps involved.
- When layering the lasagna, I included instructions to layer the noodles a different direction for each layer. While this is not an absolute necessary step, what I have found is if you do this, your lasagna will not fall apart when you slice and serve it up than if you layered the noodles the same direction for each layer. Lasagna is not at all about perfect plating, but making sure you get every drop of that meaty goodness from the pan is a great thing! Plus, how awesome do you look when you serve up perfect lasagna squares that could be photographed right then and there!
- Make sure to give your meat sauce mixture a taste before adding any spices in and again after the sauce has had time to simmer and combine flavors. Spices can add so much to a dish, but if you are using a jarred sauce that already has spices in it, you may need less than you think.
- As I mentioned, this recipe is a star when it comes to freezing and reheating! Just make sure you give the lasagna plenty of time to cool off before you cut up and portion the leftovers and give it a night in the refrigerator before you freeze. You don’t want all this lasagna goodness to get freezer burned do you?
- Lasagna almost begs for bread on the side so pick up your favorite loaf of good Italian or garlic bread. Or why not give one of my breads a ago? Yum!