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Classic Lasagna Recipe

Comfort foods are the best foods.  I guess that’s why they’re called comfort foods in the first place, right? Anyway,  when I’m looking for something that’s warm, filling and delicious, I usually turn to some type of pasta recipe. When I have the time, that pasta recipe will be a lasagna recipe. I’ve been making versions of this classic lasagna recipe for years and finally took the time to document it and share it with you.

Classic-Lasagna-Recipe

While this recipe takes just about as long to prep as it does to cook – actually a little longer to prep, it’s well-worth the time and effort that you’ve got to expend for it. As with all good things, making a lasagna from scratch takes time and patience. Fortunately we live in a world of “no boil” noodles so at least we no longer need to worry about that part of it! Life just got a smidge easier!  Let’s just into it, shall we?

We start this lasagna recipe with an herby Italian red sauce. As always, I suggest using whole canned tomatoes instead just tomato sauce from cans. It’s easy enough to use an immersion blender to get the desired saucy consistency. I prefer to use both ground pork and ground beef in my classic lasagna. I like the way the pork tastes and it adds a little variety.  Just remember – you want to puree the sauce BEFORE you add the meat. That’s super important.

Classic-Lasagna-Recipe-Tomato-Sauce-Stages

What’s great about this recipe is that while your red sauce is simmering away on the stove, you’ve got more than enough time to brown the meats, prepare the ricotta/egg mixture and finish getting everything ready for the assembly. Assembly is a very important part of making a lasagna and using proper proportions is the key to success.

Most 9″x13″ baking pans can handle a four layer lasagna. This means you need to think of your cheeses, noodles and sauce in four layers and your ricotta mixture in three layers (I don’t use ricotta on the top layer since it’s meant for structure). Frankly, you can just eye-ball the proportions.  However if you feel strongly about being super precise, go ahead and measure everything in fourths and thirds… but it’s not an exact science so do what makes you most comfortable.

Classic-Lasagna-Recipe-Layering-Steps

Once the lasagna is layered and ready for the oven, I recommend placing the dish on a rimmed baking sheet. This will allow you to catch any sauce that might bubble over the edges but most importantly, it is much easier to remove from the oven when you have a wider and flatter surface to grab on to. My baking dish is ceramic, and I’m so paranoid about dropping it and breaking it.

So there you have it – a classic lasagna recipe that easy to make and pays off big in the flavor department. I made this for Jeremy a couple of months ago and he LOVED it.  I had to go out-of-town for the weekend and I think he ate most of it while I was gone. Which is awesome because I made it all for him anyways…

Classic-Lasagna-Recipe-Slice

Now that you need some lasagna in your life, let’s get on to the recipe!!

Yield: 8-10 servings

Classic Lasagna Recipe

This classic lasagna recipe features an herby Italian tomato sauce with both ground pork and ground beef. It's the ultimate comfort food!

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup light olive oil
  • 2 cups diced onions (about 1 large or 2 small onions)
  • 1 cup diced celery
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 2 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 3-28 ounce cans of whole tomatoes
  • 2 tablespoons dried basil
  • 2 tablespoons dried oregano
  • 2 tablespoons dried thyme
  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon onion powder
  • 1 tablespoon celery salt
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 pound ground pork
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1-15 ounce whole milk ricotta cheese
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 tablespoon dried basil
  • 1-16 ounce box of "no boil" lasagne noodles
  • 6 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 1 cup shredded Parmesan cheese

Method:

Tomato Sauce:
  1. In a soup-sized pot, heat olive oil over medium high heat.
  2. Add onion, celery, salt, and cayenne and cook for about 10 minutes, until onions are softened and translucent. Stir often to prevent sticking.
  3. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, about one minute.
  4. Next add the canned tomatoes and herbs/spices (basil, oregano, thyme, garlic powder, onion powder, celery salt). Stir well to fully incorporate all of the ingredients.
  5. Cover the pot, reduce heat to low, and cook for 20 minutes. Stir a few times to prevent sticking.
  6. After 20 minutes, remove from heat and use an immersion blender to puree the sauce.
  7. After pureeing the tomato sauce, add the browned meats to the sauce.
While the sauce is cooking, do the following:
  1. Brown both meats in a large skillet with the one teaspoon of kosher salt. Just cook the meat until it's no longer pink. Drain off the excess fat then set aside until sauce is done.
  2. In a small bowl, combine the ricotta cheese, 2 eggs and 1 tablespoon of basil. Set aside until ready to assemble.
  3. If needed, shred the cheeses and place in bowls. Keep the Parmesan cheese separate from the Mozzarella.
  4. Right before you start assembling, pre-heat the oven to 350 ºF.
Assembly:
  1. In a large rectangular baking dish, line the bottom with a thin layer of sauce.
  2. Add a layer of pasta noodles on top. Cover this noodle layer with a quarter of the remaining sauce, a third of the ricotta mixture and a quarter of the mozzarella cheese.
  3. Repeat this process three more times ending with a sauce layer topped with remaining mozzarella and the parmesan cheese. (You will likely have lasagna noodles left over).
Baking:
  1. Place the baking dish on a rimmed baking sheet and place into oven. This will help catch any sauce overflow and also will make it easier to put the dish into the oven and remove it as well.
  2. Bake uncovered for one hour.
  3. Allow to cool for about 20 minutes to let the dish settle before cutting.

Prep time includes the time to cook the sauce.

Prep:1 hour, 15 minutes

Cook:1 hour

Total:2 hours, 15 minutes

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