The absolute best lasagna recipe — easy to make, layered up with the most delicious flavors, and so incredibly cozy and comforting. See notes above for potential ingredient variations.
- 1 ½ pounds ground Italian sausage (or you can do half sausage + half ground beef)
- 1 medium white or yellow onion, peeled and diced
- 6 large garlic cloves, peeled and minced
- 3 tablespoons tomato paste
- 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
- 1/2 cup dry red wine (or beef stock)
- 3 (15-ounce) cans whole tomatoes*, drained
- 1/2 cup diced roasted red peppers
- 2 teaspoons dried oregano
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 teaspoon fine sea salt
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly-cracked black pepper
- 2 (15-ounce) containers ricotta cheese (part-skim or whole milk)
- 1 cup freshly-grated Parmesan cheese
- 1 cup tightly-packed fresh basil leaves, roughly chopped
- 1 egg
- 4 cups (1 pound) shredded mozzarella
- 15 no-boil lasagna noodles (or however many needed to make three layers in your pan*)
- optional toppings: extra basil, Parmesan cheese and/or crushed red pepper flakes
- Make the sauce: In a large sauté pan or stockpot, cook the sausage and onion over medium-high heat until the sausage is completely browned, crumbling it with a wooden spoon as it cooks. Add the garlic, tomato paste and crushed red pepper flakes and sauté for 2 more minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in the wine, using a wooden spoon to scrape up any of the browned bits that have stuck to the bottom of the pan. Add the tomatoes, roasted red peppers, oregano, bay leaf, salt and pepper, and stir to combine. Use the wooden spoon to break up the tomatoes into small pieces as the sauce continues to cook. Once the sauce reaches a simmer, reduce heat to medium to maintain the simmer. Then let the sauce continue to simmer and reduce down for about 10-15 minutes, or until about half of the juices have evaporated. (You still want the sauce to be fairly juicy, just not overly so.) Discard bay leaf. Remove pan from heat and set aside until ready to use.
- Make the cheese mixture: Meanwhile, in a separate mixing bowl, stir together the ricotta, Parmesan, basil and egg until combined.
- Prep the oven and baking dish: Heat the oven to 375°F and mist a 9 x 13-inch baking dish with cooking spray.
- Assemble: Next, it’s assembly time!
- First layer: Spread 1.5 cups of the sauce mixture evenly along the bottom of the pan. Then add on a layer of lasagna noodles (so that the surface of the pan is covered, more or less), followed by 1/3 of the ricotta mixture (which I recommend adding in small spoonfuls, which you can then spread out into an even layer), followed by 1 cup of the shredded mozzarella.
- Second layer: Evenly layer 1/3 of the remaining sauce, 1 more round of lasagna noodles, 1/2 of the remaining ricotta mixture, and 1 cup shredded mozzarella.
- Third layer: Evenly layer 1/2 of the remaining sauce, 1 more round of lasagna noodles, all of the remaining ricotta mixture.
- Fourth layer: Evenly layer all of the remaining sauce, 1 cup shredded mozzarella.
- Bake: Loosely tent aluminum foil to cover the pan (try to avoid touching the cheese). Transfer pan to the oven and bake for 45 minutes. Remove the aluminum foil and bake for 15-20 more minutes, until the sauce is bubbly around the edges and the top of the cheese starts to bubble and turn golden. Transfer the pan to a wire baking rack and cool for 5 minutes.
- Serve: Sprinkle with your desired toppings, slice, serve warm and enjoy!
Italian Sausage: Feel free to use whatever kind of sausage you prefer — hot, mild or sweet.
Tomatoes: If available, I recommend buying the cans of fire-roasted tomatoes for extra flavor.
Lasagna Noodles: Just use however many lasagna noodles are needed to fully cover your pan in three layers. Different brands vary in size/shape, so the number 15 is just an estimate. If using classic (not no-boil) noodles, you will need to submerge and soak the noodles in hot (not boiling) water for 30 minutes before adding them to the lasagna.
Source: Recipe adapted from Epicurious.