TOTAL TIME: 2 HRS | PREP TIME: 30 MINS | COOK TIME: 1 HR 30 MINS | SERVINGS: 12
Meaty, rich, and very satisfying. This lasagna is everything I need! This is packed with layers of pasta, homemade Bolognese, creamy ricotta, nutty Parmesan, and gooey mozzarella cheese. Enjoy a cheesy, hot, and saucy lasagna anytime with this easy recipe.
1 lb. lean ground beef
1 lb. mild Italian sausage, bulk or casings removed
1 medium yellow onion, chopped
1 carrot, diced
6-8 garlic cloves, minced
1 28-ounces can of crushed tomatoes
1 stalk celery, diced
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
2 15-ounce cans of tomato sauce
3 tbsp tomato paste
1 tbsp reduced-sodium soy sauce
1 tbsp beef bouillon
1 tbsp sugar, more or less to taste
1/4 c. chopped fresh basil or 1 tbsp dried
1 1/2 tbsp dried parsley or ¼ cup fresh
1 1/2 tsp balsamic vinegar
2 tsp dried oregano
1/2 c. water
1 whole bay leaf
1/2 teaspoon EACH dried thyme, salt, and pepper
3 c. whole milk ricotta cheese
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 c. freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1 c. sour cream
1/4 c. chopped fresh basil or 1 tbsp dried
15 classic lasagna noodles (NOT no-boil)
1 c. freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1 lb. shredded mozzarella (4 c.)
HOW TO MAKE LASAGNA
Step 1: Into the bottom of a long pan, place the lasagna noodles. Over the noodles, pour hot tap water until the noodles are submerged. Soak the lasagna for at least 30 minutes. Using your hands, agitate the noodles using your hands often. This will prevent the noodles from sticking together.
Step 2: Cook the ground beef, sausage, onion, carrots, and celery in a Dutch oven or large pot over medium heat until browned. Then, add the garlic along with the red pepper flakes. Continue to cook for another 30 seconds. Drain the excess grease.
Step 3: Next, add the rest of the Bolognese ingredients. Put the lid on and bring everything to a boil. Uncover and adjust the heat to low. Let everything simmer for another 15 to 20 minutes, uncovered, until the Bolognese is reduced but still saucy, stirring often.
Step 4: In the meantime, prepare the oven to 350 degrees F.
Step 5: Into a large bowl, add the cheese-filling ingredients and mix well.
Step 6: Into the bottom of a lightly greased deep 9 x 13-inch pan, spread (a thin layer) 1 1/2 c. of the meat sauce. On top, lay 4 noodles lengthwise and part of a fifth noodle over to cover. Over the noodles, spread a third of the ricotta cheese mixture, then sprinkle with a cup of mozzarella cheese and 1/4 c. Parmesan cheese. Do the same layers 2 times (meat, noodles, ricotta, mozzarella, Parmesan) to make a total of 3 layers. Top the final layer with the rest of the meat sauce, mozzarella, and Parmesan cheese. Using foil, cover the lasagna and tightly secure the edges.
Step 6: On a baking sheet, place the lasagna pan. Put in the preheated oven and bake for about 30 minutes. Uncover and bake for 30 minutes more until hot and bubbly.
Step 7: Take the lasagna out of the oven and allow it to stand for about 15 minutes before serving. If desired, garnish with some fresh parsley. Enjoy!
If skipping Italian sausage, make sure to add extra fennel to the meat sauce as fennel is the key to an authentic Italian flavor.
To make sure the sauce does not end up greasy, use lean ground beef (93/7). Also, drain the excess grease after cooking.
I prefer to use shredded mozzarella cheese. Fresh mozzarella balls make the lasagna watery. If using slices of mozzarella instead, make sure to have them very thinly sliced.
Use freshly grated Parmesan as it tastes better and melts well.
PREP LASAGNA AHEAD OF TIME:
Feel free to assemble the whole lasagna a day ahead and simply keep it in the fridge.
Also, you can prepare the sauce up to 3 days ahead and store it in the fridge. You can also freeze the sauce for up to 3 months. Add 15 minutes or so to the baking if using the cold, thawed sauce.
FREEZE UNCOOKED LASAGNA:
According to the recipe direction, assemble the lasagna in a freezer-safe dish. Tightly cover with 2 layers of plastic wrap, then aluminum foil. Put a label on the lasagna and freeze it for up to 3 months. Thaw the lasagna in the fridge when ready to bake. Uncover and tightly cover with foil. Bake the lasagna as per the recipe, adding about 10 to 15 minutes more baking time.
FREEZE COOKED LASAGNA:
According to the recipe direction, assemble the lasagna in a freezer-safe dish. Allow the lasagna to cool for an hour on the counter. Then, tent it with plastic wrap and keep it in the fridge to chill. Once chilled, tightly cover the lasagna with another layer of plastic wrap, then another layer of aluminum foil. Freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw the lasagna in the fridge overnight. Take the plastic wrap off and tightly tent it with foil. Bake as per the recipe, adding about 10 to 15 minutes more on the baking time.
FREEZE INDIVIDUAL SERVINGS OF LASAGNA:
Following the recipe, assemble and bake the lasagna. Allow it to cool fully, then slice it into individual portions. Place in freezer-safe plastic bags and freeze. Reheat the individual servings for 30 to 35 minutes at 350 degrees.
COOK LASAGNA FROM FROZEN:
Take the plastic wrap off and tightly cover the lasagna with foil. Bake for 1 1/2 hours at 350 degrees F. Remove the cover and continue baking for another 15 to 30 minutes until the lasagna is hot and bubbly.
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