There is nothing better than a delicious homemade lasagna. This Easy Lasagna Recipe will become one of your family’s favorites – it’s loaded with layers of meat, marinara, cheese, and pasta, all seasoned and cooked to perfection!
A Simple Lasagna Recipe That’s Mouthwateringly Good!
Lasagna is a crowd-pleaser, and everyone should have a good recipe for it that they love. Over the years, I’ve tried a number of recipes. Some versions took all day, complete with making a homemade, slow-simmered sauce. Others were fancy, gourmet lasagnas that cost a small fortune in ingredients. I have made several vegetarian recipes, too.
All of those were good, but this one won out in the end! I will probably make some of those again, but this easy recipe is so darn simple and completely delicious. The meat sauce is hearty and flavorful, and is not only great for lasagna but great over any pasta. (Pro tip: make extra and freeze it for later – or freeze the whole lasagna. More on that in the sections below!)
The Ingredients You’ll Need
This recipe is a winner because it has the best ingredients that are really good quality, but also easy to find and easy to cook. Let’s take a look:
- Meat: A combination of ground chuck and ground Italian sausage makes the best lasagna! Take any casings off of the sausage before you cook it. Alternatively, use just ground chuck.
- Onion: Peel it and dice it up.
- Garlic: Minced, fresh garlic is my favorite, but you can also use garlic from a jar, or garlic powder, for an even easier prep.
- Seasonings: Dried oregano, basil, salt, and pepper.
- Tomato Ingredients: You’ll need canned diced tomatoes, canned tomato paste, and a couple of cans or jars of marinara (like Schiavone’s Marinara with Basil Sauce).
- Cheese: Small-curd cottage cheese and grated Parmigianno-Reggiano make the cheesy filling, while shredded mozzarella goes on top for a melty, stretchy cheese topping.
- Chopped Fresh Parsley: This adds freshness and color to the cheese filling mixture.
- Eggs: Large, whole eggs give the cheese filling extra structure and richness.
- Lasagna Noodles: I love using oven-ready lasagna noodles, but you could use traditional lasagna noodles and boil them first according to the package directions.
Is Ricotta or Cottage Cheese Better in Lasagna?
This is a matter of taste. Ricotta cheese and cottage cheese are both fresh cheeses, which are moist and light and not aged like cheddar or Parmesan. Either one will be great in your lasagna. I like to use cottage cheese, which has a more tangy taste, but ricotta has a lovely mild creaminess that’s equally beloved.
How to Make This Easy Lasagna Recipe
That ingredient list might look a little bit lengthy, but you’ll be happy when you see this list of instructions – short and super easy! Step by step, this a simple recipe that anyone can follow.
- Brown the Meat. Before you start cooking, make sure to preheat the oven to 350F so that it will be ready to go when the lasagna is ready to bake. Then take a large saucepan, and combine the meat, onions, and garlic. Cook over medium heat until the meat is all browned, crumbling it and breaking it up as you go. Drain any excess grease.
- Make the Sauce. Add the seasonings, diced tomatoes, tomato paste, and marinara to the pan. Bring this to a boil, and then turn the heat down and simmer it for 30 to 45 minutes.
- Make the Cheese Filling Mixture. While the sauce is simmering, combine the cottage cheese, Parmesan, parsley, and eggs in a small bowl. Mix these ingredients with a spoon.
- Create the First Lasagna Layers. Take your sauce, noodles, and cheese filling, along with a large (13×9) baking pan. Spoon a quarter of the sauce into the bottom of the pan. Place three of the noodles on top – don’t overlap them, just lay them over the sauce. Then spread a third of the cheese filling over the noodles. Add another ¼ of the sauce, and sprinkle ⅓ of the mozzarella over the top.
- Add the Second Set of Layers. Repeat the layers again, ending with the sauce. Reserve the last ⅓ of mozzarella.
- Bake! Place the lasagna in the oven, and bake it for 45 minutes. Then take it out, top it with the last of the mozzarella cheese, and bake for 15 minutes more, or until the dish is hot and bubbly.
- Rest. This step is crucial! Let the lasagna rest for at least 10 minutes before you cut it and serve it, so it doesn’t just fall apart.
- Enjoy! Serve the lasagna warm with your favorite side dishes.
Does It Matter How You Layer Lasagna?
It does matter how you layer a lasagna, but you don’t have to be too concerned about getting it perfect. A few guidelines will help you get that perfect slice.
- Start with Sauce. First, you want to start with sauce, so that the pasta has something to steam and simmer in. If you start with noodles, they’ll stick. Start with cheese, and it will stick, too.
- Space the Noodles Carefully: Second, add both sauce and cheese between each layer of noodles. You want them spaced apart with cheesy, saucy goodness – but don’t add too many layers between the noodles or they’ll slide and fall apart when served.
- Save the Last Layer of Cheese: Since the lasagna has to bake for quite a while, save the last layer of cheese until the dish is almost completely done. That way you won’t end up with overcooked or burned cheese on top.
More Tips for a Great Dish
What else should you know about this easy lasagna recipe? Great question! Here are some helpful tips for substitutions and adjustments. Enjoy!
- Use the Right Noodles: Some recipes call for using plain lasagna noodles (not the no-boil kind), and placing them directly in the lasagna without cooking. I really don’t recommend this, since the pasta will “cook” but it won’t be as tender and lush. My recommendation is to use oven-ready pasta, or traditional pasta that you cook before using.
- Add Veggies: Don’t be afraid to sprinkle in extra veggies here, like spinach, mushrooms, or even broccoli florets! Add them to the sauce while it cooks, or add them in their own layer in the lasagna. If you do add them as a separate layer, cook them and drain them first.
- Meat Options: Ground chuck and Italian sausage are a magical combo in this recipe, but feel free to use just one or the other (caution: using all sausage might make this dish extra rich or spicy). You can also substitute ground turkey for the beef, and ground breakfast sausage instead of Italian sausage. Each substitution will have its own flair.
To serve this easy lasagna recipe, all you have to do is add an easy side dish or two. Need some side dish ideas? I’ve got you covered.
- Crostini: Garlic bread is popular to serve with lasagna, but I like the crunch of baked crostini. These Pepper Mushroom Onion Crostini bring extra vegetables to the meal, as well.
- Salad: Make a leafy garden salad, or try this Cannellini Bean and Radicchio Salad – it’s got a complex, satisfying flavor and texture you’ll crave!
- Apricot Appetizer: A touch of sweetness might be just what you need to bring out the more subtle flavors of the sausage and pasta – this appetizer of Apricots with Goat Cheese and Almond is one of the best ways to serve a fresh, sweet side.
How to Store and Reheat the Leftovers
You can store any leftover pasta for 4 – 5 days in the fridge, well-covered. Cover the entire pan with foil, or transfer the lasagna to an airtight container.
I like to reheat lasagna in the oven at 350°F until it’s warmed through. You can also reheat it in the microwave for 15 seconds or so at a time.
Can I Freeze This for Later?
If you plan on freezing, let the lasagna cool and then place it in the refrigerator to chill for one or two hours. Then wrap the whole dish in foil really well – we don’t want freezer burn down the road. Mark it with the date, and freeze it for up to 3 months.
To reheat the frozen lasagna, take it out of the freezer the night before and store it in the refrigerator to start the defrost. (Confession: I usually put it out on the countertop the morning I plan to reheat). Set the oven to 350F, and when the lasagna is thawed, remove the foil and reheat for 30 – 40 minutes.
Easy Lasagna Recipe
- 1 1/2 lb ground chuck
- 1 lb ground Italian sausage
- 1 onion
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 2 teaspoon ground oregano
- 2 teaspoons dried chopped basil
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon pepper
- 1 14.5-ounce can diced tomatoes
- 2 15-ounce cans tomato sauce (I used Schiavone’s Marinara with Basil Sauce)
- 1 6-ounce can tomato paste
- 1 1/2 cup small curd cottage cheese
- 1 5-ouncepackage grated Parmigianno-Reggiano
- 2 tablespoon freshly chopped parsley leaves
- 2 large eggs lightly beaten
- 9 oven ready lasagna noodles
- 2 8-ounce packages shredded mozzarella
- Preheat oven to 350°F.
- In a large saucepan, combine ground chuck, sausage onion and garlic. Cook over medium heat until meat is browned and crumbled; drain.
- Return meat to pan and add oregano, basil, salt and pepper. Add tomatoes, tomato sauce and paste. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer 30 to 45 minutes.
- In a small bowl, combine cottage cheese, Parmesan, parsley, and eggs.
- Spoon 1/4 of sauce into bottom of a 13 by 9 by 2-inch baking pan. Place 3 uncooked lasagna noodles on top of sauce. Do not overlap noodles.
- Spread 1/3 of cottage cheese mixture over noodles. Use an of-set knife or butter knife to spread evenly over noodles.
- Top with 1/4 of sauce and 1/3 mozzarella cheese. Repeat layers, ending with sauce, reserving 1/3 of mozzarella cheese.
- Bake 45 minutes. Top with remaining cheese and bake 15 minutes or until hot and bubbly. Let rest 10 minutes before serving.