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Best Ever Lasagna

My Best Ever Lasagna – layers and layers of lasagna noodles with ricotta and mozzarella cheeses, Marinara and meat sauce.

My Best Ever Lasagna - layers and layers of lasagna noodles with ricotta and mozzarella cheeses, Marinara and meat sauce. https://www.lanascooking.com/lasagna/

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You may find it strange, but I always enjoy a rainy weekend. It makes me slow down and relax instead of running around trying to do a week’s worth of errands. And, of course, on slow relaxing days like that I always find myself in the kitchen.

Last Sunday was the perfect day to enjoy making something that takes a bit more time. Requires a little more patience. No rushing around. Just enjoying the process and anticipating the outcome.

And what better recipe to make on a rainy Sunday than this lasagna. Layers and layers of pasta, ricotta, mozzarella, marinara and ground beef. Perfect lazy Sunday food.

Now I’m certainly not Italian. In fact, I know that there is absolutely no Italian ancestry in my family. In the days before I started blogging, one of my long-time hobbies was genealogy.

I’ve researched my family tree from here back to the mid-1600’s and I can say with absolute certainty that there is nothing remotely Italian in that lineage. But, wow, do I enjoy Italian food! So, not being Italian, I can’t guarantee that this lasagna is purely authentic, but I can guarantee you one thing – it’s dadgum good.

How to Make Best Ever Lasagna

When I make lasagna I always like to make my own marinara sauce. If you want to take a shortcut, by all means please do so. There are some fine jarred marinara sauces on the market now and any one of them will work beautifully in this recipe. But, if you’re making your own, here’s how you start.

Make the Marinara

Marinara sauce for Best Ever Lasagna

In a deep, heavy pan over medium high heat, saute onion, garlic, celery and parsley until the onion becomes translucent. Add tomatoes and tomato paste.

Bring to a boil, reduce the heat and simmer partially covered for 20 minutes. Use a hand-held blender directly in the cooking pan to create a smooth sauce (If you don’t have a hand-held blender, you can transfer the sauce by small amounts to a blender or food processor and then returned to the pan). Add the basil, oregano, salt and pepper and cook for an additional 10 minutes.

I prefer to use San Marzano tomatoes for my Marinara sauce. And my favorite brand is Cento, but you use whatever you like.

Note: this recipe makes about twice as much Marinara sauce as needed for the lasagna recipe. You can divide the recipe in half you want to, but I always make a big batch. The remainder can be stored in the refrigerator for up to three days or frozen for up to three months.)

Cook the Lasagna Noodles

Cook 12 lasagna noodles according to the package directions. Drain well, rinse with cool water and just set them aside in a colander to drain while you proceed with the recipe.

Make the Meat Sauce

Meat sauce for Best Ever Lasagna

Spray a large skillet with cooking spray and place over medium-high heat. Cook the ground beef until no pink remains. Drain the fat from the beef and return it to the skillet. Season lightly with salt and pepper. Stir one cup of Marinara sauce into the ground beef, mixing well. Set aside. (I don’t know what happened with that photo of the meat sauce. Yikes. I’ll do better next time.)

Ricotta Cheese mixture for lasagna

Make the Ricotta Filling

In a medium bowl, combine the ricotta cheese, egg, parsley, salt and pepper. Mix well.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

Assemble and Bake the Lasagna

Best Ever Lasagna ready for the oven

Spray a 13×9 inch pan lightly with cooking spray. Spread 1 cup Marinara sauce in the bottom of the pan.

First layer – 4 lasagna noodles, 1/3 of the ricotta mixture, 1/2 of the meat mixture, 1 cup Marinara sauce, 1 cup mozzarella cheese.

Second layer – 4 lasagna noodles, 1/3 of the ricotta mixture, 1 ½ cups Marinara sauce.

Third layer – 4 lasagna noodles, remaining ricotta mixture, remaining meat mixture, 1 cup marinara sauce, remaining mozzarella cheese. Top with Parmesan cheese.

Cover the pan with foil and bake 45 minutes. Remove the foil and bake for an additional 10 minutes. Let stand 10 minutes before cutting.

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My Best Ever Lasagna - layers and layers of lasagna noodles with ricotta and mozzarella cheeses, Marinara and meat sauce.  https://www.lanascooking.com/lasagna/
Lana Stuart.

More Questions? I’m happy to help!

If you have more questions about the recipe, or if you’ve made it and would like to leave a comment, scroll down to leave your thoughts, questions, and/or rating!

Thanks so much for stopping by!

My Best Ever Lasagna - layers and layers of lasagna noodles with ricotta and mozzarella cheeses, Marinara and meat sauce. https://www.lanascooking.com/lasagna/

Best Ever Lasagna

Traditional beef lasagna layered with noodles, cheeses and Marinara sauce.
5 from 1 vote
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Course: Pasta
Cuisine: Mediterranean
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 55 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
Servings: 12 servings
Calories: 466kcal
Author: Lana Stuart

Ingredients

For the Marinara Sauce:

  • 6 tblsp. olive oil
  • 2 small onions chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic sliced
  • 1 stalk celery chopped
  • 2 tblsp. chopped Italian parsley
  • 2 28- oz. cans Italian tomatoes
  • 6- oz. can tomato paste
  • 1 tsp. dried basil
  • 1 tsp. dried oregano
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. ground black pepper

For the Lasagna:

  • 12 lasagna noodles cooked according to package directions, drained well
  • Cooking spray
  • 1 lb. ground beef
  • Salt and pepper
  • 15 oz. part-skim ricotta cheese
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cup chopped Italian parsley
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. ground black pepper
  • 2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 5 1/2 cups Marinara sauce recipe above

Instructions

To make the Marinara sauce:

  • In a deep, heavy pan over medium high heat, saute the onion, garlic, celery and parsley until the onion becomes translucent.
  • Add the tomatoes and tomato paste.
  • Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer partially covered for 20 minutes.
  • Use a hand-held blender directly in the cooking pan to create a smooth sauce (If you don’t have a hand-held blender, you can transfer the sauce by small amounts to a blender or food processor and then returned to the pan).
  • Add the basil, oregano, salt and pepper and cook for an additional 10 minutes.

To create the lasagna:

  • Cook lasagna noodles according to the package directions. Drain and rinse with cool water. Set aside.
  • Spray a large skillet with cooking spray and place over medium-high heat.
  • Cook the ground beef until no pink remains. Drain the fat from the beef and return it to the skillet.
  • Season lightly with salt and pepper.
  • Stir one cup of Marinara sauce into the ground beef, mixing well. Set aside.
  • In a medium bowl, combine the ricotta cheese, egg, parsley, salt and pepper. Mix well.
  • Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

Assemble the lasagna:

  • Spray a 13×9 inch pan lightly with cooking spray.
  • Spread 1 cup Marinara sauce in the bottom of the pan.
  • First layer – 4 lasagna noodles, 1/3 of the ricotta mixture, 1/2 of the meat mixture, 1 cup Marinara sauce, 1 cup mozzarella cheese.
  • Second layer – 4 lasagna noodles, 1/3 of the ricotta mixture, 1 ½ cups Marinara sauce.
  • Third layer – 4 lasagna noodles, remaining ricotta mixture, remaining meat mixture, 1 cup marinara sauce, remaining mozzarella cheese.
  • Top with Parmesan cheese.
  • Cover pan with foil and bake 45 minutes.
  • Remove the foil and bake for an additional 10 minutes.
  • Let stand 10 minutes before cutting.

Notes

Note: the Marinara recipe makes about twice as much sauce as needed for the lasagna recipe. You can divide the recipe in half you want to, but I always make a big batch. The remainder can be stored in the refrigerator for up to three days or frozen for up to three months.

Nutrition Information

Serving 1 | Calories 466kcal | Carbohydrates 40g | Protein 26g | Fat 23g | Saturated Fat 8g | Polyunsaturated Fat 13g | Cholesterol 74mg | Sodium 1087mg | Fiber 6g | Sugar 12g

Nutrition information is calculated by software based on the ingredients in each recipe. It is an estimate only and is provided for informational purposes. You should consult your healthcare provider or a registered dietitian if precise nutrition calculations are needed for health reasons.

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23 Comments

  1. Thank you so much for sharing this recipe!!! I made it for dinner tonight, and everyone loved it!! It is so great to have another favorite, go to recipe!!

    1. I’m so glad to hear that you enjoyed the lasagna! Please visit again.

  2. Nancy@acommunaltable says:

    It’s been too long since I’ve made lasagna – this is very similar to my mom’s recipe – I’ve been making one that subs italian sausage for half the beef and I add fresh basil to the ricotta. Oh man, now I want lasagna!!

  3. Wow this looks awesome!! I haven’t had lasagne in ever :)

  4. A favorite comfort food for winter. Your sauce looks really hearty and good.
    We have had so much sunshine this winter I can hardly believe it’s winter, I just love it, enjoy the sunshine :)

    1. Thanks, Suzanne. It has been very cool, gray and wet here but still lots milder than a normal winter. Not even a hint of snow so far and we usually have at least a few light flurries.

  5. I’m with you on the sunshine! What a downer it’s been, so when it popped out here yesterday it was like a breath of fresh air again. Lovely lasagna!

    1. It was, wasn’t it? I was just so glad to feel the sunshine on my face for a little while. Rain’s coming back tomorrow, though.

  6. Simply Tia says:

    This lasagna looks so wonderful and delicious! Definitely something that will warm ones heart and soul! Good stuff!

  7. Steffazia says:

    Hi i ‘m 100% italian, this lasagna is very different from a real italian lasagna (lasagne in italy) but It looks delicious too. Enjoy it!

    1. Oh, I’m sure it’s very different, Steffazia. But it is quite typical of the way it’s made in the U.S. How is real Italian lasagna different?

  8. Okay you are awesome! I love that you make homemade sauce, and I love how creamy the sauce looks, simply delicious! My husband and I adore lasagna, but I never make homemade sauce. I need to in the future though, love how your lasagna looks, Beautiful! Hugs, Terra

    1. Terra – this recipe for Marinara is so easy and you can adjust it to suit your family’s tastes. Another plus – you know it’s free of preservatives! I hope you’ll try it sometime.

  9. Looks WONDERFUL. Wish I could be there when you serve.

  10. Never tried marinara sauce before but this looks like an easy dish! I might try this some time. Can I use fresh tomatoes instead of the canned kind?

  11. Cookin' Canuck says:

    Ah yes, I’ve lasagna on my mind (and in my oven) this week too, Lana. I truly don’t think there is a better wintertime meal. I love that first photo, full of sun and the promise of spring.

    1. We’ve had two days of sunshine but the rain comes back tomorrow. That’s okay, though, we really need it to replenish the lakes.

  12. Heather | Farmgirl Gourmet says:

    Looks fantastic Lana! I love lasagne! Now I’ll be craving it all day long!! :)

  13. Love lasagna! This looks de-lish. And I wish I had it ready for dinner
    tonight! ;)

    1. Wish I could send you one, Katrina!

      1. When I make the lasagna meat sauce it seems to come up short. Any ideas on why this would happen?