Oh friends. I’m going to need you to sit down for this.
I have discovered THE ABSOLUTE BEST lasagna recipe known to man.
I know, I know. Big claim right there.
However…I am completely serious.
Ask my special gentleman, he’s literally been joyfully eating the leftovers for BOTH lunch and dinner for the last 6 days running. (Don’t worry, I won’t be feeding him Italian food for a long time after this!) haha
But allow me to quote the guy here: After literally chewing with his eyes closed for 10 seconds, he says, “Wow, this is the best thing you’ve ever made.”
What a compliment!
So don’t take my word for it!
And before I get into the recipe, I’ll let you in on the secrets that make this recipe so good…there are 3 biggies.
First: GET YOUR MOZZARELLA SLICED OFF THE BLOCK AT THE DELI!!! If there is ONE THING that you take away from this recipe, it is to use DELI-SLICED, OFF THE BLOCK mozzarella slices in the recipe. I PROMISE, it makes a huge difference. The bagged, pre-shredded mozzarella cheese is coated with and anti-caking agent that doesn’t allow for optimal melting. When you get it sliced at the deli, not only is it super fresh and great at melting, but it is DRY, too. If you use fresh mozzarella (that comes in a ball) – it makes the lasagna too “wet” and it just isn’t that delicious sturdy tower of pasta we all know and love. (And while we’re talking cheese – use WHOLE MILK ricotta, and freshly grated Parmesan cheese…none of that green canned stuff.
Second: YOU DON’T HAVE TO PRE-BOIL THE NOODLES! And no, I’m not talking about using the “no-bake lasagna noodles.” Frankly, those have a bit of a gummy texture that isn’t pleasant. All you have to do is take your regular ol’ lasagna noodles, and let them soak in hot tap water for at least 30 minutes! Then, they’ll soften up to be baked to perfection! I soaked them in the pan I was going to bake them in. (One less pot to clean! Hooray!)
Third: USE SAN MARZANO TOMATOES! Like I mentioned in my “Top Secret Spaghetti Sauce” recipe, the quality of ingredients matter. And the creme de la creme when it comes to canned tomatoes is….San Marzano tomatoes! Their texture, acidity and sweetness level — are bar none. So use San Marzano Tomato products if you can!
OK, so now let’s get to the recipe!
Here’s what you need: Makes 8 generous servings
1 lb sweet Italian sausage
1 lb lean ground beef (I used grass fed)
1 large white onion, diced
7 cloves garlic, minced
1 (28 oz) can crushed tomatoes (use San Marzano if possible!)
2 (6 oz) cans tomato paste
1 (15 oz) can tomato sauce
1/2 cup white wine (a good one you would drink!)
2 Tbsp white sugar
1/2 cup chopped fresh basil
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
1 tsp fennel seeds
1 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1 lb lasagna noodles
30 oz whole milk ricotta cheese
2 Tbsp chopped fresh parsley
1 large egg
1/2 tsp salt
1/8 tsp ground nutmeg
1 lb thinly sliced mozzarella (from the deli, about 26 slices)
1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese, plus more for serving
TIP: It is helpful to prep/measure out all the ingredients before you begin. In a large stock pot, add the ground sausage and ground beef. Break up the meat into small pieces. Add in the onion and garlic and cook until the meat is well browned, stirring constantly. Then, stir in the sugar, fresh basil, fennel, oregano, 1/2 tsp salt, pepper, and 1/4 cup chopped parsley. Pour in the crushed tomatoes, tomato paste, tomato sauce and wine. Mix well, and bring to a simmer. Reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer for 1-4 hours, stirring occasionally. (I cooked mine for 1 hour because I was pressed for time, but the longer you can let it simmer, the more flavorful it will be!)
Meanwhile, put your lasagna noodles in to a lasagna pan and pour hot tap water over the noodles. Make sure that the noodles are completely covered by the water. Let them soak for at least 30 minutes, then drain and discard the water.
Next, in a mixing bowl, combine the ricotta cheese with your egg, 2 Tbsp parsley, 1/2 tsp salt and nutmeg. Refrigerate until you’re ready to assemble the lasagna.
Preheat the oven to 375. Grease a lasagna pan with butter.
To assemble: spread 1 cup of meat sauce in the bottom of the greased lasagna pan. Place four noodles on top. Spread with 1/3 of the ricotta cheese mixture. Top with 1/4 of the mozzarella cheese slices. Then, spoon 1 1/2 cups of the meat sauce over the mozzarella. Sprinkle that with 1/4 cup parmesan cheese. REPEAT those layers two more times to create three complete layers. To finish, place a final layer of pasta, topped with another 1 cup of meat sauce to cover the pasta. Top with the remaining mozzarella slices and Parmesan cheese. Cover loosely with aluminum foil. (You will have extra sauce and noodles left over. That’s okay — the sauce freezes well for future pasta dishes!)
Bake for 25 minutes. Then, remove the foil and bake and additional 25 minutes to allow the cheese to brown.
Let rest for about 10 minutes before serving.
OK. Let’s talk turkey…or, meat sauce, rather.
This sauce is literally liquid gold.
The combination of the fresh herbs with the fennel and the deep rich tomato flavor from the tomato paste is absolute perfection.
Then lovingly simmering it low and slow for that time, really allows the flavors to marry and come together. You just can’t replicate that in a jarred sauce you buy at the grocery store.
BUT THE CHEESE.
Can we just talk about that cheese pull for a second?! THAT, friends…that glorious cheesy stringiness is all thanks to……DELI SLICED MOZZARELLA! You just won’t get that with the preshredded variety, no ma’am!
It’s rich, it’s perfectly saucy and luxuriously cheesy, with just the right kiss of herbiness, complimented by a finishing sprinkle of chopped fresh basil. Mario Batali, eat your heart out! 😉 Juuuuust kidding 🙂
So do yourself a favor and MAKE THIS LASAGNA! It is truly the world’s best. 😉 Just ask my special gentleman…he just finished the pan, after a week of glorious leftovers!
“This is what the Lord says to these bones: I will make breath enter you, and you will come to life.” Ez 37:5
SIGN UP BELOW FOR MY FREE NEWSLETTER!
GET MY DAILY VIDEOS, RECIPES AND POSTS DELIVERED STRAIGHT TO YOUR INBOX!
Here was yesterday’s video! https://youtu.be/8pmp4ZI968A
MAGIC TOOTHPASTE? Yes! I am in love with this superior whitening toothpaste. It keeps my smile sparkling, without sensitivity or bleach! I made a website where you can directly order this miracle product! So if you want to give it a try, you can go ahead and grab a tube for yourself. I promise, your smile will thank you!Get a tube!
Be sure to check out my affiliate, Audible. Listening to audiobooks while I cook is literally my new favorite thing. And just for you, they’re offering a Free 30-Day Trial Membership. And with this free membership, you’re going to get 2 free audiobooks! Literally. Free. It is the best deal ever. And if for some reason, you decide it’s not for you, you can cancel within those 30 days and it’s zero money out of your pocket, plus, you get to keep the 2 audiobooks. Soooo…it’s pretty much a no brainer. Plus, it’s a free and easy way to support this blog! So thank you!!
@beauty.beyond.bones – Instagram
For Podcast versions of my posts, please check out Patreon! It’s only $2 a month!! You make this blog possible 🙂
And really quickly, I’ve had several questions concerning my Amazon link (amazon.com/shop/beautybeyondbones) — You do not need to buy one of my specific highlighted products on my page, in order for it to “credit” my account. Any purchases that you search or make from anywhere on Amazon, after first visiting my Amazon page, will credit this blog and help support this blog ministry. I am truly so grateful and appreciative to those of you wanting to do so! So thank you! Again, it is an absolutely free, and easy way for you to help keep this blog going!