I am SO EXCITED about this recipe. It’s one of my very favorite recipes – my homemade lasagna. I think I love it so much because I developed it back when Andy and I were first married and it’s unique to us and our family. I am not exaggerating when I say it is the best homemade lasagna.
Every lasagna recipe out there is going to have a lot of steps and take longer than 30 minutes, BUT it is so worth it! Don’t get overwhelmed looking at all the steps, they are all easy to do. The best way to break this recipe down is by starting with the meat sauce. While that simmers, work on the cheese mixture and prep your lasagna noodles.
I use homemade pasta, or “fresh” pasta for this recipe, but you can use regular ol’ lasagna noodles or the no-boil lasagna noodles. Anything goes! Just be sure that if you have the regular lasagna noodles or homemade lasagna noodles, you under cook them. If you cook them al dente, they will be too soggy once the lasagna is baked.
If you do want to try homemade lasagna noodles, be prepared to never like it with store-bought noodles again. HA! But for reals. Lasagna with homemade noodles is divine. I purposely don’t spread the sauce all the way to the edges on the final layer so they get a little crispy. I think it adds an awesome texture to the dish.
When I make this, I use tomatoes from my garden that I have in my freezer. You can do the same, or use fresh, or a can of whole tomatoes. Any way is perfectly fine. I like the texture that the large pieces of tomato give the lasagna, but if you don’t by all means chop them up or used a can of diced tomatoes!
This homemade lasagna recipe also makes a spectacular freezer meal! Simply assemble and freeze. Just thaw it out before baking. We don’t eat an entire recipe, so I usually make two 8×8 dishes with a single recipe and freeze one for later. How easy is that?
1 pound ground beef OR sausage OR a combination of both
1 medium onion, chopped fine.
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 teaspoons dried basil
1 teaspoon dried oregano
Pinch red pepper flakes
1 28-ounce can of crushed tomatoes
1 15-ounce can of whole tomatoes (see note)
1 6-ounce can of tomato paste
6 ounces of water (fill up the tomato paste can)
1/4 cup cream
For the Cheese Mixture
1 15-ounce container ricotta cheese
1 cup parmesan cheese
1 large egg
3/4 cup chopped spinach (frozen or fresh)
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1 package regular lasagna noodles OR 1 package no-boil lasagna noodles OR 1/2 of a recipe of Homemade Pasta (see note).
3 cups mozzarella cheese
2 tablespoons fresh chopped parsley (optional)
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. If you are using lasagna noodles that need boiled, begin boiling the water as well.
In a large pot or dutch oven, brown ground meat. Drain any excess grease, if necessary.
Add onion, garlic, and spices, saute until onion is translucent.
Add tomato products, water, and cream. Stir to combine and bring to a boil.
Reduce heat to simmer and simmer until flavors are melded, about 15 minutes.
While the sauce is simmering, combine all ingredients for the cheese mixture (ricotta, parmesan, egg, spinach, salt and pepper).
Boil lasagna noodles (unless you are using no-boil noodles) until they are almost al dente, but still have a bite to them. If you are using fresh pasta, this only takes 2-3 minutes.
In a 9x13 casserole dish, spread about 1/2 cup of the sauce, avoiding any large meat chunks.
Arrange about 3 lasagna noodles in a single layer on top of the sauce. The number of noodles will vary depending on the type you are using. They should just form a single layer with minimal overlap.
Spread half of the cheese mixture evenly over the noodles. I find this works best if I use my hands.
Sprinkle 1 cup of the mozzarella cheese over the cheese mixture.
Layer about 2-3 cups of sauce over the cheeses.
Repeat laying down a layer of noodles, spreading the cheese mixture, sprinkling mozzarella, and then layering sauce.
Place a final layer of lasagna noodles down.
Spread remaining sauce on top.
Sprinkle remaining cup of mozzarella cheese on top of the lasagna.
Bake for 20 minutes covered with foil, then remove foil and bake an additional 10-15 minutes or until the cheese is slightly browned and the lasagna is bubbly.
Sprinkle chopped parsley on top for garnish.
• You can replace the 15-ounce can of whole tomatoes with diced tomatoes or 15 ounces of fresh or frozen tomatoes. I usually use tomatoes from my garden that I have stored in my freezer.
• I like the texture of the whole tomatoes, if you don't chop them.
• If you are using fresh pasta, this lasagna recipe will use half of this Homemade Pasta recipe. I make the dough ahead of time, either the day before or the morning before and keep it in the fridge. When it is time to press it and boil it, if I have halved the above homemade pasta recipe, I divide the dough into two pieces (4 if you made the entire recipe). I press each piece with my pasta press until they are about as thin as a slip-pat baking sheet (to #4 on my Kitchen Aid pasta press). I cut each piece into three sections (six total). After boiling, two sections make up a layer in the lasagna.
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