Have you ever wanted to make a killer lasagna, but you aren’t sure where to start? There are so many options out there, so how do you know which to follow and which will give you the best results? It can be really hard to choose, so we are going to look at the world’s best lasagna recipe and find out some top tips for making great lasagna.
Everyone’s opinion on what makes the best lasagna will be slightly different, but almost everyone can agree on a few common themes: thick, tasty cheese, soft pasta, and a rich, tomato sauce weaving between the other components. Our recipe is going to check those boxes and offer some modification suggestions!
The World’s Best Lasagna Recipe
For the sauce, you’re going to need:➔ 1 pound of ground beef
➔ 1 can of chopped tomatoes
➔ 2 cans of tomato puree
➔ 2 or 3 cans of tomato sauce
➔ 1 onion, finely chopped
➔ 12 sheets of lasagna
➔ 4 cloves of garlic
➔ 1 pound of sweet Italian sausage
➔ 1/2 a tablespoon of sugar
➔ 6 fresh basil leaves, chopped
➔ 1 teaspoon of Italian seasoning
➔ 1 pinch of black pepper
➔ 1 pinch of salt
➔ 5 tablespoons of fresh parsley, chopped
For the white sauce:➔ 1 cup of grated Parmesan
➔ 1 pound of shredded mozzarella
➔ 15 ounces of ricotta
➔ 1 egg
➔ A pinch of salt
Step 1) Start by cooking the garlic and onion over medium heat until fragrant and starting to soften. Add the sausage and the ground beef and then heat until the meat has browned well.
Step 2) Open your cans of tomato sauce, tomato paste, and chopped tomatoes, and stir these into the pan. Be careful not to splash yourself with hot meat. Add about half a cup of water if the sauce seems too thick.
Step 3) Season the pan with the basil, half of the parsley, a pinch of salt, a pinch of pepper, the sugar, and the Italian seasoning. Taste to check if the seasoning balance suits you, and alter the quantities if necessary.
Step 4) Put a lid on the pot and bring to a gentle simmer. Let it simmer for about an hour. Check occasionally, and stir if necessary.
Step 5) When the sauce has finished simmering, in a separate pan, boil the lasagna sheets for about 10 minutes. You may wish to salt the water or leave it plain.
Step 6) Drain the lasagna sheets and rinse them under the cold tap. Preheat your oven to 375 degrees F.
Step 7) Making the white sauce starts with getting a mixing bowl and stirring together the ricotta cheese, the rest of the parsley, the egg, and a pinch of salt.
Step 8) Get out a baking dish and spread a layer of your tomato sauce on the bottom. Arrange one layer of your lasagna sheets on top so that they are almost touching.
If your dish is 9x13 inches, you may find you can get 6 sheets in, but it does not matter if you use a smaller or larger dish, as long as you have enough space to use up your sauce and lasagna sheets.
Step 9) Spread half of the white sauce mixture on top of the lasagna sheets, and then sprinkle a thin layer of shredded mozzarella on top of that.
Step 10) Spoon the other half of the tomato sauce on top of the mozzarella, and sprinkle some Parmesan on this.
Step 11) Repeat this process until you have used up the ingredients and filled your dish, and spread any remaining Parmesan and mozzarella on the very top. This can then be transferred into the oven. Top it with foil if you are worried about the cheese burning, or place it low in the oven.
Step 12) Bake for 25 minutes if you have used foil, and then take the foil off and bake for another 25 minutes. If you have not used foil, check it after 20 minutes. You may wish to turn the oven down and allow it to cook for another 20 minutes, but keep an eye on it so that it doesn’t burn.
Step 13) Serve with garlic bread or salad and a vinaigrette dressing.
Different Cheese Options For Lasagna
So, that was the world’s best lasagna recipe. However, you can of course make alterations and adjustments to suit your tastes, using the same basic recipe and varying the ingredients as it suits you! So, let’s start by looking at some of the great cheese options you have to explore.
Firstly, a lasagna recipe easy with cottage cheese is a great place to start. Cottage cheese tastes very much like ricotta, but it is not so fatty, so it may be a great option if you want to be on a diet.
Try straining your cottage cheese to make its texture more like that of ricotta, or making a mix of half ricotta and half cottage cheese, and increasing the quantity of cottage cheese until you get used to it.
What about a cheese lasagna recipe with ricotta? If you like, you can easily make a lasagna using cheddar cheese for most of the middle layers, and top it with ricotta. This should give you a saltier lasagna, with the rich flavor of cheddar and the creamy softness of ricotta. Any lasagna recipe with ricotta can also be mixed with other cheeses to make the best of both worlds.
And how about a lasagna recipe with meat? Well, we already covered the lasagna with sausage recipe above, but you can reduce the quantity of mince and increase the quantity of sausage if you prefer the flavor. You may find that the sauce does not end up as thick, however.
If you want a lasagna recipe with beef but without the sausage, how about trying one with prosciutto? This adds an extra dash of luxury to the dish and makes it particularly delicious.
Try combining 90 grams of prosciutto with 750 grams of minced beef, some tomato sauce, some beef stock, and then a white sauce with mozzarella on top to create a super tasty alternative filling. You can follow roughly the same recipe as above, but use the prosciutto to alter the flavor and give yourself some variation on the meal.
Vegetables are another great way to vary a lasagna, so what are you looking at here? You might want to try a lasagna with zucchini recipe, and these are amazing – you are pretty much guaranteed to love it.
Zucchinis lend a fantastic, flavorful “snap” to the lasagna that it doesn’t otherwise get. If you enjoy the good texture, zucchini is the perfect way to get it. You can add sliced zucchini to your meat mixture while you’re frying it in the recipe above, or you can replace the meat with zucchini entirely.
Some people want a lasagna recipe with zucchini that uses the vegetable to replace the pasta sheets, rather than just as a secondary filling – and that works really well too.
To do this, you will probably want to slice and salt your zucchinis in advance. About half an hour before you want to bake the lasagna, top and tail your zucchinis and then slice them lengthways so you get large, flat pieces of vegetable.
Sprinkle them with salt, and then go back to making your lasagna sauce. The salt will draw the moisture out of the zucchinis, ensuring that your lasagna doesn’t end up watery. You can then layer the tomato sauce with zucchini slices and cheese for a healthier alternative to lasagna.
Of course, you can omit the meat from a zucchini lasagna, and you’ve got a crispy, satisfying meal that’s perfect for vegetarians. Add in some other vegetables like peppers, mushrooms, carrots, and lentils for the best results.
Alternatively, what about a lasagna recipe with spinach? These are excellent too; everyone knows that spinach and ricotta make a great pairing. You just have to cook the spinach with a bit of butter, squeeze out the moisture, and stir it into the ricotta.
This should give you a creamy but healthier twist on the standard lasagna topping, and it is very tasty and satisfying. You may also want to try making a white sauce with flour and butter to mix in with the ricotta so that it doesn’t end up too thick to top the lasagna with.
Gluten Free Recipe
If you’re looking for a lasagna recipe gluten free, then you can use the zucchini recipe above, or find some gluten free lasagna sheets. These should be readily available and can be used in any of the standard lasagna recipes that you might find.
You may want to cook the gluten free lasagna sheets for a little longer, but otherwise, gluten free lasagna is as easy to cook as standard lasagna and can be made vegetarian or meaty, depending on your preferences.
Lasagna Recipe In Crockpot
What about a lasagna recipe for crockpot? This might sound too good to be true. Can you really get a lasagna going before you to leave for work and come home to a piping hot meal that’s ready to eat?
Yes, you absolutely can! You can follow all of the steps above, but don’t cook the lasagna sheets while you are making the sauce, and add a little more liquid to the sauce while creating it. This should give the sheets some liquid to soak up because otherwise, you might end up with a dry lasagna.
A bit of extra water or tomato juice will work fine.
Layer the lasagna in your crockpot just as you would in an oven dish, making sure the lasagna sheets don’t touch the sides. Top with cheese, cover, and then cook on low for up to 6 hours.
Lasagna Recipe Roll Ups
These are fantastic for a party or dinner situation where you don’t want to be trying to cut up messy sheets of lasagna, and finding that one guest got all the cheese, while another got all the pasta. These are like single serve portions!
You can follow the same lasagna recipe, but ensure that your sheets are al dente, and then lay them out on a plate. Spread your ricotta mix on each sheet, and then top this with the sauce and cheese, and roll the sheet up into a tight coil.
Place the sheets in a dish on top of a thin layer of your sauce, add a bit more mozzarella and Parmesan to the top, and put them in a hot oven to bake until they are sizzling. These are gorgeous and very easy to serve!
Top Tips For Making Lasagna
So, what are the best tips for making an amazing lasagna every time?
Firstly, when it comes to boiling your pasta sheets, make sure that the water is boiling and there is plenty of it. This allows the sheets to move around and will help to keep them from sticking together into one mass of gluey pasta.
Don’t overcook the sheets, because they will cook a bit more in the oven, so al dente is best!
Secondly, it’s a good idea to make the sauce wet rather than dry. This is because the sheets will absorb a bit of liquid as they keep cooking, and that leads to a dry lasagna if there is no excess moisture in the sauce. Don’t go overboard, because nobody wants a pool of lasagna, but add a few extra splashes of liquid.
It’s also clever to make a bit of extra sauce, so you can add a bit more when serving if your lasagna has turned out dry. If you don’t use the extra, freeze it for the next lasagna!
Once you’ve learned a great lasagna recipe, it’s easy to adapt and alter it to suit your tastes. Try new ingredients, experiment with pasta alternatives such as zucchini, and play around with your cheese options in the sauce, and you’ll perfect a unique lasagna recipe that is a reflection of all your favorite things.