I’m half Italian, (Sicilian, to be precise) I love to eat and I love to cook. I’ve tasted a ton of lasagna recipes and I think this is the best lasagna recipe ever. It’s flavorful, hearty and will satisfy your culinary soul. (And also, your children.)
Before we get started, DO NOT BE AFRAID OF THE NUMBER OF INGREDIENTS. There are quite a few, but prep time for this bubbly, cheesy goodness is only about half an hour. And really…? As far as recipes go, I tend to think it’s the amount of prep time that is a killer, not the number of ingredients… So now, I give you:
Viv’s Best Lasagna Recipe.
1.5 lbs (or so) Hot Italian Sausage (slit casings with a knife, remove sausage, throw away casings. Crumble into bits.
In a large stock pot, brown:
The crumbled sausage
1.5 lbs ground beef (ground turkey works too)
Spoon off as much fat as possible. Add:
1 large yellow onion, diced (about 2 cups)
4 big cloves of garlic, minced
Then add in:
2 Tbsp tomato paste (don’t forget this handy tip for portioning and freezing tomato paste)
2 tsp each of dried basil, thyme & oregano
1 tsp red pepper flakes
1 or 2 bay leaves
Stir well, then sauté about 5-10 minutes, until onion is soft.
¾ cup beef broth
4, 14.5oz cans Italian style diced tomatoes, 3 drained, 1 not
2 Tbsp balsamic vinegar (Tip: even store bought, jarred sauce will taste better if you add in a splash of balsamic vinegar.)
Pinch of salt.
Simmer until most of the liquid has evaporated. (About 20 minutes)
Meanwhile, make the Béchamel Sauce
In a large saucepan over medium high heat, saute:
¼ cup (half a stick) unsalted butter
1/2 large yellow onion (about 1 cup)
¼ tsp cayenne pepper
Pinch of nutmeg. (Yes, nutmeg)
Stir constantly to prevent scorching, about 2 minutes. Add:
1/3 cup flour
Stir to coat everything with the flour and cook about 2 minutes.
3 cups of milk (I use would not use anything with a fat content lower than 2%)
2 6.25oz containers of Alouette or Boursin “garlic & herb” cheese spread.
Whisk until smooth. Set aside 1 cup of the béchamel sauce to top off the lasagna.
Cool the remaining sauce for about 5 minutes, then whisk in:
1 egg, beaten
1 8oz package of chopped, frozen spinach, thawed, with the water squeezed out and drained
Lightly grease a 13×9 pyrex (I use an olive oil spray), then smear a very thin layer of béchamel, just enough to lightly coat the bottom. Then layer, in this order:
a little béchamel sauce
3 lasagna sheets (I use the Barilla No-Boil kind)
Fresh mozzarella slices
Shredded parmesan cheese (not the grated in the canister kind)
Keep layering until you get to the top of the pan. Put down 3 lasagna sheets on the top and pour the reserved béchamel over them. Sprinkle with more Parmesan and a little mozzarella. Bake, uncovered at 400 until it smells good and the top looks golden and bubbly (about 35 minutes). Let stand about 20 minutes before cutting.
Do not think about the calories and fat. Just enjoy.
Oh, and serve with a nice bottle of wine.
Chi mangia bene, vive bene.
This sounds awesome, Viv! I have pinned it and will definitely be trying it. I was thrilled that you used no-cook noodles because that is the part I hate most about making lasagne! My NY’s resolution is to actually MAKE some of the recipes I have been saving over the years and I am actually doing pretty well! This will definitely be one DH and his little Italian tummy will love.
LeAnne, this is soooooo yummy! Enjoy!
Linda Meyerson says
Yummy. You make incredible dishes
This is really good. Id say the best that ive had And not that stuffy flavor that I’m sure you’ve had. Thanks for sharing.
Glad you liked it! 🙂 Mangia!
Regarding the ingredient
“4 cans Italian style diced tomatoes, 3 drained, 1 not”
What brand of canned tomatoes are you using and how many ounces of tomatoes come in the can?
This recipe may not come out well for some because people may get too little or too many tomatoes and liquid in their meat sauce depending on what brand and quantity of canned tomatoes they buy. The brand and ounces of canned tomatoes aren’t listed.
Hi Natasha, I’ve updated the post to specify the standard size cans of store bought canned tomatoes (14.5 oz cans) and there is no preference for brand of tomato. I have used everything from generic store brand, to Hunts, to Del Monte, to Muir Glen organic. Doesn’t make a difference to the finished dish. This recipe is very forgiving and leaves lots of room for ad-libbing, so to speak.
CATHY SCHOCKOW says
This is by far the BEST LASAGNA EVER- I HAVE PASSED THIS RECIPE OUT AT WORK TO MANY, WHO CLAIM AS WELL, IT’S BEING THE BEST. THE BOURSIN MAKES THE Bechamel sauce!!
THANKS FOR SHARING. FIVE STAR!
This totally made my day! Thank you! 🙂
DenIse Gerst says
HOw much cheese? The parm and mozZ
(Fyi all lower case in my email address
Angela prior says
i waS looking for a lasagnA recipe that was smaller, some feed 15 and theres only 2 of us.. i did one pound each of sausage and mince. You cannot get italian sausage in uk So i used some hot sausage from butcher.
I used 2 cans of tomatoes, drained one and a half.. 2 cups of milk etc. (Roughly a third less of all ingreidients). It turned out great, as You said its quite forgiving. We loved it. I covered the remaining tightly with foil and Reheated and rested it for the same time the following evening. Again lovely and not dry at all.
Making it again tomorrow..
Can i make this aheas of time? Bake it? Or SET in fridge then bake rhe next day?
Hi Jen, I have tried it both ways. I do not recommend baking it the next day. You’re much better off baking it, then reheating the next day. When I reheat it, I put it in the michrowave, then add a bit more cheese over the top and pop it back into the oven for a few minutes.
Can i make this mid morning anD then bake in the evening?
Hi Jodi, If you try and make this mid-morning, I recommend making a little extra bechamel sauce. I’ve prepared them in advance and baked later and it turned out “OK” but the top was a little dried out. (It’s like those no-boil noodles soak up the sauce and then they’re a little chewy.) Reserve some of that extra bechamel and pour over the top layer right before baking. Good luck!
Raymond Root says
This is our go to
Not cheap for the size that we make half sheet 3 to 4 inches thick
No beating it
Hands down the best
That’s awesome, Raymond! Glad to hear it!