I know, I know, best ever? Lasagna? Is this real life?
You may not think you can improve on lasagna and honestly I thought the same thing up until a measly 72 hours ago. It’s pasta, meat, cheese and sauce all baked together until the top is crunchy and the rest is kind of a saucy mess.
This. THIS, is nothing like that.
You may think that there is some type of secret ingredient that makes this lasagna better than the next, but there isn’t. The ingredients are the same (short of the homemade pasta) it’s just the method that is different. Normally when you make a lasagna, you have your meat sauce and your ricotta mixture and the noodles, maybe some spinach or other veggies in there as well, and then it’s all topped off with melty cheese, but in the end everything ends up kind of muddled together. You can’t taste the separate layers on their own, which was part of the reason I was never a huge fan of lasagna. Not to mention it can be kind of heavy and a lot of times the top layer ends up being the texture of cheese covered crunchy cardboard.
Not tasty at all.
This lasagne is light and flavorful, it stays together when you cut it into pieces and best of all, you can taste everything that went into it!
I posted the recipe and step by step for the homemade pasta yesterday, but if you are short on time you can always grab those pasta sheets that they sell in the refrigerated section of your grocery store. Those would work just fine.
I think I might go crazy with two step by steps in a row! You guys are lucky that I kind of like you
Start with a large skillet over medium high heat and add about a tablespoon of olive oil.
Heat that up a bit and then add about 1/2 a cup of diced onion.
Saute for a moment until it softens slightly and then add in 2 cloves of minced garlic.
Let that get to know each other in the pan for a minute or two. Meanwhile grab yourself some regular ground beef. Yes, people, I said regular, not lean, not extra lean, just plain old fatty regular ground beef.
Now, lop that into the pan with the other goods.
Break it up with a wooden spoon or spatula, until it is in smaller chunks and combined with the onion and garlic.
Now just let it cook over medium high heat.
When it’s almost cooked through, season generously with salt and pepper, this is all that’s going into the meat layer, so you want it to be flavorful.
Ooh, steamy! Now add about a tablespoon of dried oregano.
Now just let it cook through.
As soon as it is done, just turn off the heat and leave it alone. You don’t want it to get overcooked and dried out!
Now you’re going to make the ricotta mixture. Plop a container of ricotta (about 2 cups) into a mixing bowl, then crack an egg right into the bowl as well.
Season this mix with salt and pepper. Nothing special here, folks.
Mix it all together until it is light and creamy.
Now set it aside.
Get your pasta sheets ready by cutting them to size.
Use your baking pan as a measurement, you’ll want to use a 9×12 inch baking pan. Cut them as close as possible and keep the leftover pieces to fill in any gaps!
Now it’s time to assemble the lasagne! First you’re going to spread some of your favorite marinara sauce in the bottom of your baking pan.
I used some of my mom’s homemade marinara which is quite thin and I think the extra liquid worked well to cook those noodles! You can always thin yours with a little water if it is a bit of a thicker sauce.
This layer of sauce will stop the pasta from sticking to the bottom of the pan.
Top with a layer of your fresh noodles
Make sure the noodles are overlapping a bit and covering as much of the bottom of the pan as possible.
Now add the meat mixture.
Now fight the urge to drench this in sauce! Just trust me on this one.
Add another layer of noodles.
Then more sauce.
Then the ricotta mixture.
Smooth it out with a spatula so it is nice and even.
And then more noodles.
Notice how we’re only putting one thing per layer! That’s the secret my friends.
Now more sauce!
Then top it with lots of freshly grated mozzarella.
And Parmesan, cause it just feels right.
Oh my heavens, this is all kinds of sinful.
Now cover it will foil and pop it into a preheated 375 degree oven. You’ll want to bake it with the foil on for about 30 minutes. After the 30 minutes is up, remove the foil and let it bake for another 15-20 minutes until nice and golden and bubbly!
How good does that look?
Now remove it from the oven and let the lasagna set for about 10-15 minutes. This step is important because it lets it set back up so it doesn’t fall apart when you try to slice it.
No one said it would be an easy 10 minutes…
but be strong, it’s worth it!
Now slice it up. I did 12 squares but you could do 9 if you’re really hungry. Or even, dare I say…6?
Take it out and serve that up with a yummy salad and some crusty bread.
It looks like regular old lasagna but trust me, this is really something special.
I think this is all I need in life.
- 1 recipe homemade pasta, rolled and cut into 8 sheets (or 8 sheets of store bought fresh pasta)
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1/2 cup diced onion
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 lb regular ground beef
- 2 tbsp kosher salt (divided)
- 2 tsp freshly ground black pepper (divided)
- 1 tbsp dried oregano
- 2 cups ricotta cheese
- 1 whole egg
- 3 cups of your favorite marinara sauce (try using a thin sauce or thin your favorite with a bit of water)
- 3 cups freshly grated mozzarella cheese
- 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
In a large skillet over medium high heat, add the olive oil and heat until glossy. Add the diced onion and saute for 1-2 minutes until softened, add the minced garlic and again cook until softened and fragrant. Add the ground beef and use a heatproof spatula or wooden spoon to break up the meat into smaller pieces and combine with the onion and garlic. Once the meat is almost cooked through, season with 1 tbsp kosher salt, 1 tsp pepper and the dried oregano. Finish cooking through and immediately turn of the heat, do not try to brown the meat, just cook it through and leave it! Set that aside for a moment.
In a mixing bowl add the ricotta cheese mixture, an egg, and the remaining salt and pepper. Mix together until smooth and creamy and set aside for a moment.
Preheat your oven to 375 degrees and position a rack in the middle oven position.
Now grab a 9×12 inch baking pan, add about a cup of the sauce at the bottom of the pan and spread it out evenly. Top with a layer of pasta, making sure the pasta noodles are overlapping and filling in any gaps with extra scraps of pasta.
Now add the ground beef layer, add all the ground beef at once and even it out. Top with another layer of noodles.
Top the noodles evenly with another cup of the sauce, then add another layer of noodles.
Now add the ricotta mixture, making sure to spread it evenly. Now add the last layer of noodles and the last of the sauce. top with with mozzarella cheese and then the Parmesan cheese.
Cover with foil and bake for 30 minutes, remove the foil and bake for another 15 minutes until bubbly and browned. Allow to sit for 10-15 minutes before slicing.
You could make this up to the point of baking it and instead just cover with plastic wrap followed by aluminum foil, then freeze the whole dish for an easy weeknight meal when you need it!