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How to Assemble Lasagna

Growing up, a lasagna in the oven meant we were celebrating something. It was our go-to special occasion meal. As I got older, I was able to watch — and — learn as my mother, aunt and grandmother went about making a lasagna. These days, I can assemble lasagna in my sleep.

Boiled lasagna noodles, marinara sauce, ground beef, cheese in bowls. Ingredients for beef lasagna recipe close up on kitchen table, woman hands, flat lay.
Photo credit: Adobe Photos.

A good sauce makes a good lasagna

As with most pasta dishes, the key to a great lasagna is the sauce. Our meat sauce recipe is great for lasagna. Just be sure to use plenty of meat and remove any sausage from its casing.

Or, if you’re making a vegetarian lasagna, you can try our marinara sauce recipe.

While I’ve never come across a truly low calorie lasagna, you can cut down on fat by using part-skim ricotta and mozzarella. No one will know the difference.

Standard boxed grocery store pasta is fine with lasagna. If you want to splurge on fresh pasta, or make it yourself, go for it. However if time and money are a bit short, focus on the sauce and cheese. They are the stars here.

Also, you may be tempted to try store-bought, pre-cooked lasagna noodles. Personally, I don’t think they’re worth it. Sure, they make putting a lasagna together faster and easier, because you don’t have to cook the noodles first. But I really feel like the lasagna you get in the end isn’t worth the time you saved. Also, they tend to be much more expensive than regular lasagna noodles.

When it’s time for leftovers, check out our tips for storing and reheating lasagna.

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Italian meat lasagna baked in oven with melted cheese and crust on white plate for dinner with texture macro closeup of red marinara sauce

Lasagna

Here we will learn how to assemble this Italian classic
Prep Time 1 hour
Cook Time 1 hour
Course Main Course
Cuisine Italian
Servings 1 9×11 pan

Equipment

  • 1 9×12 pan

Ingredients
  

  • 4 cups pasta sauce. See our pasta sauce recipe.
  • 12-15 lasagna noodles.
  • 15 oz ricotta.
  • cup good grated Italian cheese such as Parmesan or Pecorino Romano. 1 cup goes in the recipe reserve the other half cup for sprinkling during the meal.
  • 1 lb mozzarella, thinly sliced or grated.
  • 1 egg, beaten.
  • ½ tsp salt.
  • ¼ tsp black pepper.
  • 2 tbsp parsley, chopped.
  • ¼ lb goat cheese, optional.

Instructions
 

  • In a bowl, mix the egg, ricotta, salt, pepper, 1 cup grated cheese and the goat cheese, if you choose to add it.
  • Use one of the following methods to prepare the noodles.
    Boil them as you would any pasta. Once al dente strain and run them under cool water to make them easier to handle.
    or
    Fill a large bowl with hot tap water and soak the noodles for about 20 minutes until they are pliable.
    or
    Make or purchase fresh noodles.
  • In a 9×12 baking pan, ladle about 1 cup of sauce on the bottom of the pan.
  • Cover with a layer of noodles, slightly overlapping (4-5 noodles).
  • Spread half of the mozzarella over the noodles and ladle on a cup of sauce.
  • Cover with a layer of noodles.
  • Spread the ricotta mixture on the noodles and top with another one-cup ladle of sauce.
  • Cover with a layer of noodles.
  • Finally, cover the noodles with the rest of the sauce and a layer of mozzarella.
  • You can cover the prepared lasagna with foil (tent the foil so it doesn't touch the cheese and sauce on top) and store tit in the refrigerator for a day or two until you are ready to serve.
  • When you are ready to serve the lasagna, preheat the oven to 400℉. Bake for about 20-30 minutes, removing the foil after 15 minutes.
  • Remove from the oven and let sit for 15 minutes. Resting helps to minimize runniness.

Disclaimer

Please note that nutrient values, if included with the recipe, are estimates only. Variations can occur due to product availability/substitution and manner of food preparation. Nutrition may vary based on methods of origin, preparation, freshness of ingredients, and other factors.

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