On this episode of Keep It Simple, Chef Jon Ashton shows us how to make the Best Lasagna EVER! This simple Italian-style dish has the same depth of flavor that you find in a classic, homemade lasagna recipe, but with a secret technique that means you don’t have to spend hours preparing a sauce.
Restaurant-style lasagna is one of the most delicious pasta dishes you can order, but it seems like it would take hours upon hours to prep and make at home. Not true. With this easy lasagna recipe, you’ll learn how to make a simple meat sauce, creamy cheesy layer (that’s a million times less complicated than bechamel sauce) and how to prevent lasagna noodles from sticking.
Hungry yet? Keep reading for the ultimate layered lasagna recipe anyone can master.
Ingredients Needed to Make Lasagna
• Vegetable oil spray
• 1 box curly lasagna noodles (17 sheets)
• 1 tablespoon kosher salt
• 16 ounces fresh mozzarella cheese, grated
• 1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
• 1 cup breadcrumbs
• 1/2 cup milk
• 1 pound 90 percent lean ground beef
• 1/2 pound Italian sausage
• 3/4 teaspoon salt
• 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
• 1 yellow onion, finely chopped
• 4 garlic cloves, minced
• 1 (32-ounce) marinara sauce
Creamy cheese layer:
• 1 cup cottage cheese
• 2 cups grated parmesan cheese
• 1 cup heavy cream
• 2 garlic cloves, minced
• 2 teaspoons cornstarch
• 1/4 teaspoon salt
• 1/4 teaspoon pepper
Equipment You’ll Need to Make Lasagna
- Rimmed baking sheet
- 13 x 9 baking dish
- Large Dutch oven
- Wooden spoon
- Aluminum foil
How to Make Lasagna
1. Pre heat oven to 375 degrees F. Using vegetable oil, spray a rimmed baking sheet and 13 by 9-inch baking dish. Bring 4 quarts water and 1 tablespoon salt to boil in large Dutch oven. Add noodles and
cook, stirring frequently until al dente, 7-9 minutes.
2. Drain noodles and transfer them to prepared oiled baking sheet. Using tongs, gently turn noodles to coat lightly both sides with oil spray.
3. Mix breadcrumbs and milk in bowl until smooth. Add both meats, salt, and pepper and knead with your hands or wooden spoon until well combined; set aside.
4. Heat oil in now-empty Dutch oven over medium heat until shimmering. Add chopped onion and cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Add minced garlic, and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add beef mixture, using a wooden spoon to break meat into small pieces, and cook until meat is no longer pink, about 4-6 minutes.
5. Stir in marinara sauce, and bring to simmer, scraping up any browned bits that may have formed on bottom of pan. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer until flavors have melded, about 5
6. To make creamy cheese layer, whisk all ingredients in bowl until combined. Lay 3 noodles lengthwise in prepared dish.
7. Spread 1 1/2 cups meat sauce over noodles, now dollop a 1/2 cup of cream sauce over the meat sauce and finally sprinkle 1/2 cup grated mozzarella over.
8. Repeat layering of noodles, meat sauce, cream sauce, and mozzarella 3 more times, using all the meat sauce on 4 layers.
9. Lay 3 noodles over top. Spread all the remaining cream cheese sauce over noodles, followed by remaining grated mozzarella cheese. Sprinkle parmesan over top.
10. Spray sheet of aluminum foil with oil spray and cover lasagna. Set lasagna on rimmed baking sheet. Bake for 25 minutes. Remove foil and discard. Continue to bake until top layer of lasagna is spotty brown, 25 to 30 minutes longer. If you see it’s not evenly browning, place under broiler for a couple minutes.
11. Let lasagna cool for 30 minutes. Slice and serve.
Best Lasagna Tips
- Using cottage cheese gives you a better texture for the cream sauce compared to ricotta cheese.
- Don’t overcook the meat so it doesn’t dry out (just have it go beyond pink).
- If you find it’s not evenly browned when it cooks, finish it in the broiler for 2 minutes.
How Do You Keep Lasagna Noodles From Sticking Together?
Cook lasagna noodles in salted water, drain them, then coat them in oil. This method keeps them from sticking together while cooking in meat sauce.
What This Beef Mixture Do for Lasagna?
Meat often dries out. By making the panade, the meat doesn’t dry out.
Why Use Cornstarch Instead of Egg?
Cornstarch is used a thickening agent for the cheese sauce—particularly since we’re not using ricotta cheese (which often becomes grainy).
How Long Should You Bake Lasagna?
What’s the Best Pan to Use for Lasagna?
A 13 x 9 glass dish.
Can I Make This Lasagna Vegan or Vegetarian?
Yes, just swap the ground beef for imitation ground beef or use finely diced veggies (squash, eggplant, zucchini).
Should You Use Dry or Fresh Lasagna Noodles?
Dry, but cook them al dente to make sure you get a good mixture.
Should I Use Pre-Cooked Noodles?
Always cook the noodles beforehand—otherwise the uncooked noodles will absorb too much water/flavor from the meat and sauce when baking.
Best Lasagna Recipe (Video)
Other Lasagna Variations
Every week we’re making recipes easy on Keep it Simple. Follow along with Jon Ashton as he shows you how to level up your home cooking, and subscribe for new videos every Thursday!