Savory, salty, chewy, and ooey-gooey, lasagna is one of the most recognizable Italian dishes on the planet. Besides pizza, lasagna also seems to be the most popular dish. Whether ordering it from your favorite Italian restaurant or buying it in a box at your grocer’s freezer, millions of people enjoy this dish regularly. However, nothing beats a good homemade lasagna.
Though with all of those layers, all of those ingredients, lasagna seems too tricky for a lot of people, so they never try to make it at home. Well, we’re here to tell you that with the right pro tips, you can create a tasty lasagna that’s far better than the stuff made outside of the home.
Start with the best ingredients
The key to a great lasagna starts with the best ingredients. Get the canned tomato sauce that’s name-brand. Get the good cheese. Make sure your beef and sausage are quality. Get fresh peppers, onions, and garlic. Get lasagna noodles that are top quality. Here’s a quick list of some items to pick up for your lasagna.
- A pound each: Ground beef, Italian sausage
- Ricotta cheese (16 ounces)
- Mozzarella cheese
- Canned tomato sauce (2 large cans, plain)
- Quality olive oil
- Lasagna noodles
- A green pepper, onion, head of garlic
- Quality Parmesan cheese
- Italian seasoning (dried is fine)
- Sun-dried tomatoes (small pack)
Make a Homemade Tomato Sauce
That stuff in the jar is just a bunch of sugar and corn syrup with a few Italian herbs on it. For the best homemade lasagna, make a homemade sauce. It’s really quick and simple. Some of the ingredients listed above you may already have at home. If not, they’re all inexpensive ingredients to buy; just make sure you buy the quality stuff. Here’s how you throw the sauce together.
- Start by browning the hamburger and sausage, into small pieces
- Set it aside when cooked
- Dice your veggies (use about 6 cloves of garlic only)
- Add about 1/4 cup olive oil to the pan
- Saute diced veggies until soft, adding some salt
- Dump in your cans of tomato sauce
- Add about a tablespoon of Italian seasoning, salt, and pepper to taste
- Add your meat back in, stir well
- Allow simmering for 20 minutes
That’s it. That’s all there is to it. Now you have a homemade sauce that’s fresh and delicious, and you’re ready to go with this aspect of the dish.
Add a Cheese Layer
The best lasagnas you’ll ever eat, like at a fancy Italian restaurant, have a cheese layer in the middle of the casserole. Making this layer is far easier than making the sauce. It’s just a few ingredients that you stir together. So, get out a large bowl and do this:
- Add your tub of ricotta
- Add in three whole eggs
- Add about 1/2 cup of Parmesan cheese
- Add your sun-dried tomatoes
- Stir well to combine
That’s it! Now you simply cover this and set it aside, or put it in the fridge. When you’re layering your lasagna together, add this cheese mixture in the middle layer, and it will cook up as a luscious, delicious cheese layer that will set your homemade lasagna over the top.
Get the Right Pan
What you want in a lasagna pan is deep enough to accommodate at least three layers. You don’t want to use a shallow glass dish. They’re not deep enough. A roasting pan that’s around 12×9 typically works well here.
Or, if you don’t have one, your local supermarket likely has a disposable aluminum pan for a few bucks, that will even come equipped with a lid, so you can store the leftovers. Just remember it should be deep enough.
Layer it Correctly
Start with a splash of your sauce on the bottom, then a layer of noodles, topped with your red meat sauce. After another layer of noodles, then your cheese mixture goes in the middle. After covering with another layer of noodles, finish with a heaping portion of your red sauce, sprinkle it with Parmesan, then wrap your pan tightly with foil and bake at around 375 degrees for an hour.
Put the Cheese on Near the End
Don’t put the mozzarella cheese on just yet! We want that to just melt uncovered and to get slightly brown. There’s a lot of milk in this cheese. If you let it cook for an entire hour, it could turn into a soupy mess with a hard crust on the top.
Instead, allow your lasagna to cook covered for an hour. Then carefully remove the foil, load it up with your cheese, and let it go for 20 minutes, a few minutes under the broiler to finish if you like that brownness.
Let it Rest a While Before Slicing
Not only is the cheese layer delicious, but it’s also a big part of what holds your lasagna together. Those eggs in there set up and create a solid layer, like a cheesecake, and if you let your lasagna rest for 20 minutes or so, you’ll be left with perfect squares that you can easily pull out. This makes for a beautiful presentation.
That’s all there is to create a delicious lasagna. Once you try this recipe, you’ll never want to eat it outside of the home again.