Every cook should have a lasagna recipe ready for whenever the mood or need strikes. It actually took me many years to put together one that wasn’t complicated AND that the kids loved. There are some odd flavours added to some lasagna recipes, like nutmeg and fennel seeds.
No. Just no. I’ve made them. None of us liked them. Even modifying those other recipes to exclude them left us with another blah lasagna.
So I cut out all the crap and started with the basics and built up. Meat. Cheeses. Tomato. Seasonings. Lasagna Noodles.
Meat? This is one of the easiest choices. Ground beef and/or pork, with or without whatever your favourite bulk sausage is. In general, if you’re going to add sausage, include it at about 1/4 the rest of the ground meats. Most sausages will overwhelm the rest of the sauces too much.
Cheese! Gotta have LOTS of cheese. You can turn out ok lasagna with just cottage cheese and mozzarella, but if you include ricotta and parmesan, the flavour jacks up another notch.
Tomatoes. The sauce needs to be thick to keep those layers in tact and it took me a long time to let go of the notion that I needed to add diced tomatoes. Just tomato sauce and tomato paste here.
Seasoning! No surprise here, my spaghetti sauce seasonings work just right in my lasagna. If there’s no need to reinvent the wheel, don’t.
And for the lasagna noodles, just plain normal noodles that you have to cook in a pot of water first. I tried the ones that cook in the pan and no version turned out right. Time your noodles to be done after the sauce and cheeses are ready and you only have to drain them and use, no worry about rinsing them off so they don’t stick before they can be used.
Let us know if you tried this recipe and what you thought below!
Meat Sauce Ingredients
- 2 lbs lean ground meat beef, pork, or sausage
- 1 tbsp minced garlic
- 1-2 tsp sugar
- 1 tsp italian seasoning
- 1 tsp dried basil
- 1 tsp dried oregano
- 1 tsp dried thyme
- ½ tsp pepper
- 1 tsp salt
- 3 cans tomato sauce 398ml/14oz each
- 2 cans tomato paste 156ml/5oz each
Cheese Mixture Ingredients
- 3 eggs large, beaten
- 3 cups cottage cheese see notes
- 1 cup ricotta cheese see notes
- ½ cup parmesan cheese grated or small shreds
- 2-3 tbsp dried parsley
- 9 lasagna noodles
- 4-6 cup mozzarella cheese grated, divided
Meat Sauce and Noodles
- Start approximately 5 quarts of water in large pot to boil on high heat.
- In a separate skillet, brown ground meat(s) on medium heat, breaking it up as finely as possible (much love for our Starfrit Meat Chopper here!).
- Add all the seasonings and mix to coat the ground meat.
- Add the tomato sauce and tomato paste.
- Simmer on low to medium low heat while preparing the other ingredients.
- When water starts to boil, add 9-10 lasagna noodles (I like to add an extra in case one tears apart too badly to really use). Use a long handled cooking utensil to occasionally move the noodles around so they don't stick. Cook for time indicated on package.
- Combine the beaten eggs, cottage cheese, ricotta cheese, and parmesan cheese, then mix in the dried parsley. Set aside.
- Preheat oven to 375°f
- In a deep 9x13" baking dish, spread about 1 cup meat mixture and place 3 lasagna noodles over the sauce.
- Carefully spread about ½ of the cheese mixture (about 2 cups) on top of the noodles, followed by spreading approximately 1-2 cups mozzarella cheese over the cheese mixture.
- Lay 3 more noodles on the mozzarella, followed by 2 cups of the meat sauce. Carefully spread the remaining Cheese Mixture over the meat sauce, then 1-2 more cups of mozzarella cheese.
- Layer with remaining 3 noodles, remaining meat sauce, and the rest of the mozzarella cheese.
- Cover with aluminum foil and bake for 50 minutes.
- Remove foil and cook for another 25 minutes, or until bubbly throughout and cheese is browning.
- Remove from oven and cool on stovetop of trivets for about 15 minutes, before cutting.