Best Ever Lasagna

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Many years ago, during a family gathering at my neighbour’s home, I stumbled upon a dish that changed the way I perceived Italian cuisine. My neighbour, Mrs. Bianchi, was a warm-hearted Italian woman, who had just returned from her trip to Naples. She regaled us with stories of her journey and, more importantly, introduced us to a lasagna recipe that had been passed down her family for generations. It was meaty, cheesy, and every bit delicious. Today, as I share this meaty loaf recipe with you, reminiscent of Mrs. Bianchi’s tales of old Naples, it’s my hope that you cherish it as much as I do.

For those seeking recipes on meatloaf or recipes with meatloaf, it might surprise you to know that Lasagna, in essence, is an evolved form of a loaf meat recipe. Its layers packed with rich flavours often remind me of the intricate layers in which stories and memories are built, much like Mrs. Bianchi’s stories from her travels.

How to Prepare Best Ever Lasagna

Ingredients for Best Ever Lasagna:

  • 1 pound sweet Italian sausage
  • 3/4 pound lean ground beef
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped onion
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 (28 ounce) can pureed tomatoes
  • 2 (6 1/2 ounce) cans of savory tomato sauce
  • 2 (6 ounce) cans tomato concentrate
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 4 tablespoons freshly chopped parsley, divided
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons dried basil
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt, divided
  • 1 teaspoon aromatic Italian herbs
  • 1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 12 lasagna sheets
  • 16 ounces creamy ricotta cheese
  • 1 egg
  • 3/4 pound sliced mozzarella cheese
  • 3/4 cup shredded Parmesan cheese

Directions for Best Ever Lasagna:

  1. Organize all ingredients in your workspace.
  2. In a Dutch oven or a large pot, brown the sausage, beef, onion, and garlic over medium heat.
  3. Mix in pureed tomatoes, savory sauce, tomato concentrate, and water. Infuse with sugar, 2 tablespoons parsley, basil, 1 teaspoon salt, Italian herbs, fennel seeds, and black pepper. Let it simmer with a lid on for about 1.5 hours, stirring intermittently.
  4. Boil a pot of salted water and cook the lasagna sheets for 8-10 minutes. Drain and cool with cold water.
  5. Mix ricotta cheese with egg, 2 tablespoons of parsley, and the remaining salt in a separate bowl.
  6. Preheat your oven to 375°F (190°C).
  7. Start layering your lasagna: Begin with 1 1/2 cups of the meaty sauce at the base of a 9×13 baking dish. Place 6 sheets of lasagna on top, followed by half the ricotta mixture. Add 1/3 of the mozzarella slices, another layer of meaty sauce, and sprinkle with 1/4 cup Parmesan. Continue layering in the same order, and finish off with the remaining cheeses on top.
  8. Cover with foil (tip: apply a light spray of cooking oil on the foil to prevent sticking) and bake for 25 minutes in the preheated oven. Remove the foil and continue baking for an additional 25 minutes.
  9. After baking, let the lasagna settle for 15 minutes before serving. Enjoy!

Why is my lasagna so runny?

Lasagna can become runny if there’s too much moisture. This can be due to watery ricotta, not letting the sauce simmer long enough, or not draining the noodles properly. Always ensure that ingredients like ricotta are not too watery and let your sauce reach a thick consistency by simmering it for the right duration.

Can I freeze my lasagna?

Yes, you can freeze lasagna. Ensure you cool it completely, then wrap in cling film followed by foil to prevent freezer burn. It can be stored in the freezer for up to three months.

How do I reheat my frozen lasagna?

For best results, thaw the lasagna in the refrigerator overnight, then bake at 350°F for about 30 minutes or until heated thoroughly. If reheating from frozen, increase the baking time accordingly.

What’s the best cheese to use for lasagna?

Traditionally, lasagna recipes use a combination of ricotta, mozzarella, and Parmesan cheeses. This trio provides creaminess, meltiness, and a sharp flavor, respectively, making the dish well-rounded and delicious.

Can I use other meats in my lasagna?

Definitely! While this recipe uses Italian sausage and lean ground beef, you can experiment with ground turkey, chicken, or even a vegetarian meat substitute based on your preferences.

How do I ensure my lasagna layers don’t stick together?

Ensure each layer, especially the noodles, is generously covered with sauce or cheese. Additionally, using a cooking spray on the foil covering during baking can prevent the cheese from sticking to it.

How long can I store leftover lasagna?

Leftover lasagna can be stored in the refrigerator for 3-5 days. Ensure it’s kept in an airtight container to maintain freshness.

Can I make lasagna without boiling the noodles first?

Yes, there are no-boil lasagna noodles available in stores, designed to be used straight from the package. If using regular noodles without boiling, ensure your sauce is a bit watery to provide the necessary moisture for the noodles to cook during baking.

Best Ever Lasagna

Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 2 hours 30 minutes
Total Time 3 hours
Course Main Course
Cuisine American
Servings 7


  • 1 pound sweet Italian sausage
  • 3/4 pound lean ground beef
  • 1/2 cup minced onion
  • 2 cloves garlic crushed
  • 1 28 ounce can crushed tomatoes
  • 2 6 1/2 ounce cans canned tomato sauce
  • 2 6 ounce cans tomato paste
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 2 tablespoons white sugar
  • 4 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley divided
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons dried basil leaves
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt divided, or to taste
  • 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • 1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 12 lasagna noodles
  • 16 ounces ricotta cheese
  • 1 egg
  • 3/4 pound mozzarella cheese sliced
  • 3/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese


  • Gather all your ingredients.
  • Cook sausage, ground beef, onion, and garlic in a Dutch oven over medium heat until well browned.
  • Stir in crushed tomatoes, tomato sauce, tomato paste, and water. Season with sugar, 2 tablespoons parsley, basil, 1 teaspoon salt, Italian seasoning, fennel seeds, and pepper. Simmer, covered, for about 1 1/2 hours, stirring occasionally.
  • Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Cook lasagna noodles in boiling water for 8 to 10 minutes. Drain noodles, and rinse with cold water.
  • In a mixing bowl, combine ricotta cheese with egg, remaining 2 tablespoons parsley, and 1/2 teaspoon salt.
  • Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F .
  • To assemble, spread 1 1/2 cups of meat sauce in the bottom of a 9x13-inch baking dish. Arrange 6 noodles lengthwise over meat sauce. Spread with 1/2 of the ricotta cheese mixture. Top with 1/3 of the mozzarella cheese slices. Spoon 1 1/2 cups meat sauce over mozzarella, and sprinkle with 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese.
  • Repeat layers, and top with remaining mozzarella and Parmesan cheese. Cover with foil: to prevent sticking, either spray foil with cooking spray or make sure the foil does not touch the cheese.
  • Bake in the preheated oven for 25 minutes. Remove the foil and bake for an additional 25 minutes.
  • Rest lasagna for 15 minutes before serving.
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