Today’s Classic Lasagna recipe is from my husband Jack’s recipe collection! It’s a delicious adaptation that marries an old family lasagna recipe with a version that he used to make many years ago during his food service career. This is a wonderful, classic lasagna recipe – nothing too fancy, just layers of pasta, meat sauce, a ricotta cheese mixture, and mozzarella – and it’s one that everyone should have in their own recipe collection!
Jack and I are both ‘old-school’ when it comes to making lasagna – we both prefer using the traditional dry ribbon noodles that need to be partially cooked before assembling all of the layers of the dish! While we agree that you can’t beat the convenience of the pre-cooked lasagna noodles (or in food service, the frozen pasta sheets) – we both think that the best tasting lasagna with the best texture comes from using the dry pasta. (You may, of course, use the pre-cooked noodles if you prefer!)
We also use a mix of meats in our sauce – but if you’d prefer to keep things more simple, just use all ground beef or whatever combination of meats you like best. Lasagna is a very forgiving dish – so you can adjust the meats, seasonings and even the proportion of cheeses and sauce used in each layer of this wonderful dish to make it exactly how your family likes it!
We took a couple shortcuts for this recipe by using store-bought marinara and boxed pasta sheets. It saves a ton of time without sacrificing any flavor. We think it’s absolutely perfect as-is, but also understand some people are looking to make sauce from scratch. If that’s the case for you, try out our best homemade spaghetti sauce—simple in ingredients and rich in flavor, it’ll never let you down.
Regardless of the route you choose to go down, make sure to follow these tips—We’ve reworked this recipe based on user comments to make it even better with more meat, more sauce, and more cheese!
2 lbs. ground beef
1 medium onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, chopped
1 Tbsp olive oil
2 15 oz cans tomato sauce
1 15 oz can water
1 12 oz can tomato paste
1 tsp oregano
1 tsp basil
16 oz mozzarella cheese, grated
16 oz cottage cheese, small curd, (or ricotta cheese)
½ cup grated Parmesan cheese
Salt and Pepper
1 16 oz box lasagna pasta
First, preheat the oven to 350, and then, get a big pan, adding in the chopped onions, the olive oil, and the garlic, sauteing this until it’s translucent and smoothed out.
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Put the ground beef in there cooking it until it’s fully browned, and then drain the fat, putting it back in the pan.
Add in the tomato paste, tomato sauce, oregano, water, the salt, and the pepper.
Boil this, and then lower the heat, and then cook this for about 15-20 minutes until you start to notice it have a sauce like texture.
Cook the lasagna noodles based on the instructions, and then, rinse this and set it to the side. You can add a teaspoon of oil to the water so that the pasta doesn’t stick together to one another.
Get a baking dish, and from there, put the meat at the bottom. Add the lasagna noodles over the top of them (usually around 5-6 since they will start to overlap)
Take half of the cottage cheese over the pasta, and then, add more of the meat on top of that.
Add the parmesan cheese, and then add a bit of the mozzarella cheese to top it. Then, top this with another pasta layer.
From there, repeat this as follows: pasta mixture, the cottage cheese, the mixture of meat, the parmesan, and then the mozzarella
For the last pasta layer, top it with the rest of your meat mixture, and what’s left of the cheeses that you have.
Cover the top of this with a bit of cooking foil, and from there place it in your oven. Then, bake it for about an hour.
When finished, serve it right away, cutting it up so that there are even slices for everything. Serve this with a side salad of your choice, or some garlic bread if you’re interested in doing that, and from there enjoy your amazing mixture, and definitely see what else you can make with this. It’s a simple pasta dish, and while it doesn’t reinvent everything, it still tastes great, and it’s perfect for people who love pasta and want something classic today.