For a comfort food lover like me, nothing lights up a room more than a hot tray of lasagna. This classic Italian dish is super versatile, and I can make it ahead and warm it up for family meals as needed.
Today I'll share my upscale-restaurant-style lasagna recipe and tips to up your lasagna game.
Let's dive into it.
- Prep Time: 20 minutes
- Cook Time: 40 minutes
- Total Time: 60 minutes
- Number of Servings: 8
- 2 small eggs
- 8 oz. grated parmesan cheese
- 5 tbsp avocado oil
- 1 red onion, roughly chopped
- 4 minced garlic cloves
- Fresh basil
- 1 tsp chili flakes
- 1 tsp Italian seasoning
- 2 tbsp crushed tomato paste
- 1 ½ cups diced tomatoes
- Fresh parsley
- 1 packet lasagna noodles
- 500g ground beef
- 1 cup sliced baby mushrooms
- 1 ¼ cup grated mozzarella cheese
- 2 ¼ cups whole milk ricotta cheese
- Preheat your oven to 380°.
- Add water to a large saucepan, add enough salt and your noodles, and bring to a boil; once the noodles are soft to your liking, drain and pat dry on a layer of paper towels.
- To cook the sauce, heat 2 tablespoons of oil in a large pan over moderate heat. Add minced meat and cook for five minutes until dry and golden brown. Add chopped onions and cook until the onion begins to mellow about 5 minutes. Cook for another minute or two after adding the garlic, chili flakes, and Italian seasoning until fragrant.
- Stir in the tomato paste. Add a little water and cook for 2 minutes or until the meat sauce starts caramelizing and thickening.
- Toss in the chopped tomatoes and add salt and pepper to taste. Reduce the heat to medium-low, stir everything together, and let the tomato sauce slowly cook for 5 minutes or until it thickens slightly. You can taste it to see if your meaty sauce is seasoned to your liking; if not, feel free to add more Italian seasoning. Once ready, set away.
- In another large pan, add olive oil over medium heat.
- Season your quartered mushrooms with salt and pepper and add the heated oil. Sauté these for at least 6 minutes until they're softened well.
- In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the egg, mozzarella cheese, parmesan cheese, and ricotta cheese mixture with a fork to blend. Add pepper and salt to taste.
- To start layering, scoop a layer of ground beef meat sauce into an 8th-inch baking dish. Then add a layer of cooked noodles, followed by the ricotta cheese mix and the sautéed veggies. Repeat this same layering process until you reach the top of your dish. Finish with any remaining meat sauce and the leftover mozzarella and parmesan cheese mixture.
- Bake for 20 minutes, covered with aluminum foil. Remove the cover and bake for another 15-20 minutes, until the edges of your lasagna noodles are golden and crispy and the topmost layer of cheese is bubbling and golden brown.
- Once ready, let your lasagna cool slightly before garnishing it with fresh parsley and serving.
- If you're short on time, assemble your lasagna ahead of time and store it well in the refrigerator until you're ready to toss it in the oven.
- Because the ground beef meat sauce is the star of the dish, it's important to build flavor into it one ingredient at a time.
- If you're a vegan, you're welcome to use veggies or plant-based meat in your lasagna; go with eggplant, spinach, or squash ingredients.
- If you can't get your hands on store-bought noodles, you can make your own at home with flour and eggs. This gives you more freedom because you can add extra ingredients to your pasta dough.
- To avoid wet lasagna, drain your lasagna noodles thoroughly before layering. Do not rinse them with water after they have been cooked and drained.
- Calories: 820 kcal
- Total Carbs: 35g
- Protein: 62g
- Fat: 56g
- Fiber: 3g
Tips For Making The Best Lasagna
Here are my tips that will make the biggest difference.
1. Use The Right Ingredients
In lasagna, all lean ground beef isn't best; sometimes, you can follow any amazing lasagna recipe that calls for pork or sweet Italian sausage; a beef-and-pork meaty tomato sauce combination is also quite delicious. I recommend a 1:1 beef-to-pork ratio for a perfect lasagna meat balance.
If at all feasible, use fresh whole-milk ricotta and mozzarella cheese. While part-skim still does the job, the meal will taste blander, and lasagna is not a good candidate for calorie-counting.
Think about improving your cheese game by putting in some béchamel.
Béchamel, a French mother sauce that adds a layer of richness to counteract the tang of the sauce, transforms a lasagna into something finger-licking good.
2. Layer Right
To layer lasagna, begin with a base of pasta sauce on the bottom, then the second layer of pasta, the cheese mixture, then any sautéed vegetables or meat on top.
Repeat stacking until you get to the top of the casserole dish, allowing a few inches at the top. Finally, sprinkle mozzarella cheese on top of the final lasagna.
3. Get Your Cheese Right
The quantity and type of cheese you use may vary depending on the recipe.
Even though I like to use shredded cheese because of its ease and convenience, pre-shredded cheese is sometimes fairly dry, affecting the ultimate consistency of your lasagna.
You want to use premium-quality parmesan cheese or ricotta cheese that you can shred at home; these cheeses melt smoothly in the oven and mixes well with the other components.
"The best cheeses to use for lasagna should be creamy, made from 100% whole milk products, and sliceable. "
- Nick Stellino, Italian Chef
Also Read: How Do You Smoke Cheese?
4. Cook Correctly
Most recipes call for a 350°F oven, but the baking time varies depending on various factors, including the amount and volume of your lasagna and the temperature of the ingredients.
The recipe instructions will direct you well on what temperature and timing to use.
However, remember that the meat and vegetables you use should be warm or at least at room temperature; you don't want to use ice-cold vegetable ingredients.
Also Read: How to Cook Meat?
Do You Cook Meat Before Putting It in Lasagna?
Yes, you cook meat before putting it in lasagna. This ensures you get well-cooked meat sauce after baking your lasagna.
What is the Best Order to Layer Homemade Lasagna Recipe?
The best order to layer a homemade lasagna recipe is to start with a pasta sauce base, followed by frozen lasagna noodles, meat sauce mixture, and cheese. Repeat these layers until you fill the casserole dish.
Is Meat Lasagna Better With Ricotta or Cottage Cheese?
Meat lasagna is better with ricotta because this type of cheese gives you a richer and thicker texture than cottage cheese. But you’re free to combine ricotta cheese with shredded mozzarella cheese for a distinct creamy taste.
The Ultimate Meat Lasagna Recipe
Meat lasagna is one of the most famous Italian dishes. The result of any lasagna cheese recipe depends on the meat, among other ingredients.
Choosing high-quality lean ground beef from a trustworthy source like ButcherBox will result in a tasty meal that everyone will devour and enjoy.
ButcherBox sells the most delicious-tasting organic, humanely raised, and hormone-free meat that’s a surefire for an authentic Italian experience.