My Italian family recipe...this is the best homemade lasagna!
What better way to bring in the holidays than a Homemade Italian Lasagna?! What's even better is we made this with homemade lasagna noodles which are easier to make than you would think. Seriously, does it get any better than this?
What's the key to the best homemade lasagna?
Want to know the key to a great lasagna? The noodles. The sauce. And the filling.
Homemade noodles are the best. I've had the boxed noodles and I've made my own noodles and it's easy to tell the difference. If you have the chance to make your own for the holidays this year...do it! You'll appreciate it in the end!
The sauce. I got ya covered here too. Follow my Italian Meat Sauce and you'll be all set. Just remove the meat from the sauce before you start layering it with it so your lasagna doesn't get soggy.
Finally, the filling. An easy mixture that's full of flavor. What's a homemade lasagna without the filling?
How do you make the best homemade lasagna filling?
I get it...it can be an intimidating thing making the lasagna filling. But it's really super easy.
The lasagna filling is just a mixture of ricotta cheese, mozzarella, Parmesan cheese (or Parmigiano-Reggiano), egg, parsley, salt and pepper.
Here's the key to the ricotta mixture...add a little bit of the sauce to it. When you're ready to layer it, the sauce makes it easier to spread so you don't pull up any of the lasagna noodles. Don't say I never did anything for you 🙂
What order do you make lasagna?
The best part about making homemade lasagna is the layering. Here's the order to follow:
First add a thin layer of sauce to the bottom of a lasagna pan. Sprinkle some Parmesan cheese.
Then add a layer of lasagna noodles.
Now a layer of the ricotta mixture.
Now add another layer of lasagna. And a layer of meat too.
Now...repeat! More lasagna. Now ricotta. More lasagna. Now meat.
Finish with a layer of meat and top it with some more sauce (so it doesn't dry out) and a layer of grated cheese.
Bake it at 350 degrees, covered, for 20 minutes and then remove the foil and bake for an additional 10 minutes.
Do I need to boil the lasagna noodles before I bake them?
It depends what type of lasagna noodles you use. If you're making your own homemade noodles, you don't have to boil them beforehand. But if you absolutely want to, you can for 2-3 minutes, but I never boil my homemade noodles before I put them in the oven.
For those of you who buy regular boxed noodles, you will have to boil them beforehand, but the oven ready ones you can just pop right in the oven. If you do boil them first, make sure they're al dente. You don't want to bake fully cooked lasagna noodles.
Whichever you choose, you'll love this family Italian recipe and the best homemade lasagna around.
Tools I used in this recipe:
- Lodge 7.5 Quart Dutch Oven
- Misen Chef's Knife
- J.K. Adams Butterfly Cutting Board
- Disposable Lasagna Pans
Best Homemade Lasagna
- 12 cup Meat sauce see my recipe for Italian Meat Sauce; you can use more or less but I always like to have more on hand
- 2 lb lasagna noodles fresh, boxed, oven ready
- ½ cup Parmesan cheese or Parmigiano-Reggiano grated
- 8 oz fresh mozzarella cheese shredded
Make Your Sauce (Gravy)
- Follow my recipe for Italian Meat Sauce (Gravy) to see how to make it. Then remove the meat from the tomato sauce and set aside.
Make the Ricotta Mixture
- In a large mixing bowl, combine the ricotta cheese, mozzarella, grated parmesan, egg, parsley, and salt and pepper. Mix until thoroughly combined. Add a ladle or two of the sauce to the mixture to allow it to spread easily when layering the lasagna.
Make the Lasagna
- Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. If you're boiling your noodles - boil a large pot of salted water and cook the pasta to al dente. Once cooked, remove and set aside to cool. If you're using ready to bake or fresh noodles - grab a lasagna tray and pour a thin layer of sauce just to cover the bottom of the tray. Add some grated parmesan cheese as well.
- Add one layer of lasagna on top of the sauce.
- Then add a layer of the ricotta mixture. Spread over the noodles until fully covered.
- Then another layer of lasagna noodles.
- Then a layer of the meat. Spread over the noodles until fully covered.
- Then another layer of lasagna.
- Keep alternating the lasagna with the ricotta, and then the meat and finish with a layer of lasagna noodles with some meat on top. Add some gravy to keep the top from drying out. Finally add the ½ cup of parmesan cheese and the 8 oz of shredded mozzarella.Bake in the oven covered for 20 minutes and then remove the tin foil for the final 10 minutes of cooking. Let sit for 10 minutes before cutting.