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Classic Italian Lasagna Your Family Will Love

Lasagna is one of those dishes that solves many menu problems and it is for this reason, I turn to lasagna when I think of easy foods. 

One of the rules I live by when planning meals is to make things easy for myself. That's especially true when I'm planning dinner for a crowd. This classic lasagna recipe for a crowd with easy-to-find ingredients is my go-to recipe.

My Classic Lasagna Recipe

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Traditional Italian Lasagna
Yummy Italian Lasagna

Are you feeling like you need hearty comfort food?  Comforting Italian-style lasagna with fresh herbs and spices served with a green salad, and warm garlic bread will certainly fit the bill.  Do you need to feed a group of family and friends this weekend?  Lasagna, a Caesar salad, and some flavorful focaccia bread will easily feed a large group.

Reasons to Love Classic Lasagna

First, this is the best classic lasagna recipe with ground beef and Italian sausage because it is tasty, simple, and uses easy-to-find ingredients.
 
Do you want to have a ready-to-go meal in your freezer for any occasion?  Lasagna is easily reheated in your oven and ready to go when paired with a Caprese salad and warm garlic bread. I love this enameled cast iron pan for my lasagna.  It works perfectly when I'm going from the freezer to the oven with my lasagna.  That's something I do all the time.

Classic lasagna is comforting and hearty. There's something about a classic lasagna that just screams comfort food. It's the perfect dish to warm you up on a chilly day or after a long day at work. With its layers of pasta, tomato sauce, cheese, and meat, it's sure to leave you feeling full and satisfied.

It's versatile. While this classic lasagna recipe includes ground beef and sausage, you can make it your own by using different meats or even veggies. Try adding some spinach, mushrooms, or zucchini to your lasagna for a tasty twist on the traditional recipe.

Lasagna is great for feeding a crowd. Whether you're hosting a dinner party or just feeding a hungry family, cheesy and savory lasagna is a great choice. With its generous portions and delicious flavors, it's sure to be a hit with everyone.

Leftover lasagna is yummy. One of the best things about classic lasagna is that it reheats beautifully. When you make a big batch, you can enjoy it for days to come. Just pop a slice in the microwave or oven and you're good to go.
Classic Italian Lasagna

Are you seeing a pattern here?  Lasagna is the answer to your needs.  Most people love lasagna, so it is a very good option when planning a meal for a group of friends or family.  Making lasagna can feel like an overwhelming exercise, but it doesn't have to feel that way.  If you plan and approach your preparation in steps, you will find it to be well worth your efforts.

My Tips for Making Lasagna

Use the right noodles. It's important to use the right type of noodle for your lasagna. Look for wide, flat noodles that are specifically labeled as lasagna noodles. Avoid using regular pasta noodles, as they won't hold up as well during the baking process.

Cook the noodles properly. Cooking the noodles properly is crucial to the success of your lasagna. Be sure to follow the cooking instructions on the package, but don't overcook them. The noodles should be al dente, or slightly firm, as they will continue to cook during the baking process.

If you want a shortcut with your noodles, use packaged lasagna noodles that don’t require precooking. Another option is to place traditional lasagna noodles in a 13x9 inch pan and cover them with boiling water for thirty minutes. Pat the noodles dry before layering in your lasagna.

Soak Lasagna Noodles in Boiling Water

Layer the ingredients carefully. When layering your lasagna, be sure to spread each layer evenly and cover the entire surface area. Use a spatula or spoon to smooth out each layer before adding the next.

Don't skimp on the cheese. Cheese is a key ingredient in any lasagna recipe, so don't be afraid to use plenty of it. Shredding the mozzarella cheese yourself eliminates any additives used when the cheese is commercially shredded. Be sure to spread the cheese evenly over each layer, as it helps to hold the noodles and other ingredients together.

Let your lasagna rest before serving. After baking your lasagna, it's important to let it rest for at least 10-15 minutes before serving. This allows the ingredients to set and makes it easier to slice and serve.

Baked Lasagna in the oven.


About the Ingredients

Ingredients make a difference.  Choose wisely.

We talked about options for lasagna noodles above.  Classic lasagna is best when made with classic, dry lasagna noodles.  Substitute at your own risk.

Use whole milk mozzarella cheese for the best flavor and melting.  Always shred your own mozzarella cheese for the best results.  

Use whole milk ricotta cheese for its texture and mouth feel. Fresh chopped parsley adds brightness to the ricotta layer.

Use Italian sausage in classic lasagna.  Use your choice of sweet, hot, or a combination.  Choose based on who will be eating your lasagna and their preferences.  Half sausage and half ground beef is a good, flavorful mix.

Assembling lasagna layers in the pan.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Can I make lasagna ahead of time?
A: Yes, you can definitely make lasagna ahead of time. In fact, many people prefer to make it a day ahead and then reheat it for dinner. Just assemble the lasagna as directed in the recipe, cover it tightly with plastic wrap or foil, and refrigerate until you're ready to bake it. You may need to add a few extra minutes to the baking time if it's cold from the fridge.

Q: Can I freeze lasagna?
A: Yes, lasagna freezes very well. Just make sure to assemble it in a freezer-safe dish, cover it tightly with plastic wrap or foil, and freeze it for up to three months. When you're ready to bake it, thaw it in the fridge overnight and then bake it as directed in the recipe.

Q: What can I use instead of ground beef in lasagna?
A: You can use a variety of other meats or even vegetables in your lasagna. Some popular options include ground turkey, Italian sausage, or chopped mushrooms. You can also try adding spinach, zucchini, or eggplant for vegetarian lasagna.

Q: How many layers should my lasagna have?
A: This is really up to personal preference, but most lasagna recipes have between three and four layers. Just be sure to use enough sauce, cheese, and filling to cover each layer evenly.

Q: Can I make lasagna without ricotta cheese?
A: Yes, you can definitely make lasagna without ricotta cheese. Try using cottage cheese instead, or skip the cheese layer altogether and just use extra mozzarella cheese on top.

Lasagna Ready to Bake
Lasagna Ready for Baking

I encourage you to make this recipe your own. We like lots of seasoning, so make adjustments as you see fit.

Classic Lasagna Recipe


meat lasagna, sausage lasagna, Italian lasagna
dinner
Italian
Yield: 12
Author: Donna Urso
Classic Lasagna

Classic Lasagna

A classic recipe for lasagna made with ground beef and hot sausage. It's a delicious make-ahead recipe for your next family gathering.
Prep time: 30 MinCook time: 45 MinTotal time: 1 H & 15 M

Ingredients

Instructions

  1. In a 5-quart Dutch oven over medium-high heat, cook ground beef and hot sausage until all the pan juices evaporate.
  2. Add the diced onion and cook until soft. Add the garlic and cook one minute more. Your beef mixture should be well-browned. This is important to the flavor of your lasagna.
  3. Return the meat mixture to the pan. Add the crushed tomatoes, tomato sauce, sugar, salt, bay leaf, and dried herbs, crushed between your palms. (Note: I don’t always add sugar. I taste the tomatoes to see how acidic they taste and add the sugar, if necessary.)
  4. Heat the sauce to boiling, reduce heat, cover and simmer for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Taste for seasoning and make adjustments. Discard the bay leaf and remove from heat.
  5. Prepare your lasagna noodles as the package directs, or use one of the tips I mentioned above.
  6. Put a thin layer of sauce in the bottom of a 13 x 9-inch heavy pan. If using traditional lasagna noodles, arrange four noodles in the pan, overlapping to fit. For oven-ready noodles, use three. Combine the eggs, ricotta cheese, and chopped parsley.
  7. Spoon 1/3 of the ricotta mixture over the noodles, spreading thinly. I use either a spoon or an offset spatula to spread the layers.
  8. Top with 1/4 of the mozzarella cheese, a sprinkle of the Parmesan cheese, and 1/4 of the sauce. Repeat two more times.
  9. Finish with a layer of noodles, sauce and then cheese. Cover the prepared lasagna with plastic wrap and then aluminum foil. Let it cool on your counter and then either refrigerate or freeze until ready to bake.
  10. Bake the lasagna in a 375°F oven for 45 minutes or until bubbly and heated through. Remove from the oven and let stand for at least 20 minutes before serving.

Nutrition Facts

Calories

508.93

Fat (grams)

27.01 g

Sat. Fat (grams)

12.83 g

Carbs (grams)

31.82 g

Fiber (grams)

3.28 g

Net carbs

28.54 g

Sugar (grams)

6.94 g

Protein (grams)

34.78 g

Sodium (mg)

1496.68 mg

Cholesterol (grams)

123.43 mg



Lasagna makes my life easier at any time of year.  Make it.  Freeze it.  You'll be happy you did!

You might also like to try this lasagna that uses eggplant and zucchini slices in place of lasagna noodles.

Vegetable Lasagna

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Enjoy!

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