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The Ultimate Homemade Lasagna

  • Author: Vanessa | Maple + Mango
  • Prep Time: 30 min
  • Cook Time: 60 min
  • Total Time: 90 min
  • Yield: 1 large lasagna (8-12 servings) 1x
  • Category: Main Course
  • Method: Oven
  • Cuisine: Italian

Description

This is the ultimate lasagna recipe!  Layers of noodles, hearty Bolognese Sauce, creamy Bechamel, ricotta and a mixture of cheeses all baked until gooey and delicious.  This is crowd-pleasing comfort food at its finest!


Scale

Ingredients

Bolognese Sauce

Bechamel Sauce

  • 3 tbsp butter
  • 3 tbsp flour
  • 1 1/2 cups whole milk
  • Pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
  • Himalayan or sea salt + freshly ground pepper, to taste

Ricotta Mixture

  • 16 oz (454 g) whole milk ricotta cheese
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • 2 tbsp – 1/4 cup chopped fresh basil
  • Himalayan or sea salt + freshly ground pepper, to taste

Other Ingredients

  • 1 box lasagna noodles (1lb / 500g) – need 16 noodles but make entire box in case a few break (use traditional noodles)
  • 45 cups shredded cheese (3 cups shredded mozzarella + 1 – 2 cups other cheeses like Parmesan, provolone, fontina)
  • Optional: Finely chopped basil or parsley to garnish
  • Deep 9 x 13 inch lasagna pan

Instructions

Prep All The Components

  • Reheat the Bolognese Sauce:  Make the Bolognese Sauce ahead of time to significantly cut down on prep time.  Simply reheat before assembling the lasagna so that it spreads more easily.
  • Make Bechamel Sauce:  Melt the butter in a small pot over medium heat.  Whisk in the flour for 1 minute to create a roux.  Slowly whisk in the milk and simmer until thickened.  Whisk in the nutmeg, salt and pepper.
  • Prepare Ricotta Mixture:  Mix the ingredients together in a bowl and place in the fridge until ready to use.
  • Shred Cheeses:  Freshly shred your cheeses for the best texture.  Using a food processor with a shredding attachment makes this quick and easy.  Once all shredded, place in a bowl to evenly mix the cheeses.  My preferred ratio is: 3 cups shredded mozzarella + 2 cups shredded mixture of Parmesan, provolone and fontina cheeses.  However, you can use 3 cups shredded mozzarella + 1-2 cups of your favourite cheese.
  • Boil Lasagna Noodles:  Cook noodles slightly under package directions (take 1-2 minutes off the recommended cook time so that the noodles are very al dente since they will also be baked).  Drain and rinse with cold water.  Then lay out flat on dish towels to prevent them from sticking together.

Assemble The Lasagna

  • Spread 1 cup of Bolognese Sauce on the bottom of the lasagna pan.
  • Layer 1:  Place 4 noodles on top, slightly overlapping.  Spread over half the Bechamel Sauce, 1/3 of the remaining Bolognese Sauce and 1 cup shredded cheese mixture.
  • Layer 2:  Place 4 more noodles on.  Spread over the ricotta mixture and 1 cup shredded cheese mixture.
  • Layer 3:  Place 4 more noodles on.  Spread over the other half of the Bechamel Sauce, another layer of Bolognese Sauce and 1 cup shredded cheese mixture.
  • Layer 4:  Place 4 more noodles on.  Spread over the remaining Bolognese Sauce followed by a generous scattering of shredded cheese (remaining 1-2 cups).

Bake

  • Preheat oven to 375F / 190C (or 350F convection).
  • Cover lasagna with foil and place on a baking sheet to catch any sauce that bubbles over.
  • Bake in preheated oven for 45 minutes.  Then remove the foil and bake for an additional 15-20 minutes or until the cheese on top is golden (can also pop under the broiler for a minute at the end).
  • Let it rest, uncovered, for 15-20 minutes.  Garnish with chopped basil or parsley.  Slice and serve!

Notes

  • My dish isn’t deep enough!  No worries – just use 3 layers of noodles if your lasagna pan isn’t deep enough to fit all 4 layers.
  • How to keep the cheese from sticking to the foil:  It is horrible when this happens.  Some people spray the foil with oil first to prevent this.  However, my trick is to poke 9 toothpicks evenly around the top of the lasagna, pushing in halfway and then placing the foil on top.  This prevents the foil from touching the surface of the lasagna.  Remove the toothpicks when you remove the foil to brown the top.
  • Make Ahead Tips:  Regardless, I recommend making the Bolognese Sauce in advance.  I usually make a double or triple batch so that I can serve one batch for dinner that night and put the remainder in the fridge or freezer until I am ready to make lasagna.  To take it further, you can also prep the Bechamel Sauce, ricotta mixture and shredded cheeses up to a day in advance.  Then all you need to do is cook the noodles and layer (my personal preference!).  Or you can prep the entire lasagna up to 1 day ahead of time and place in the fridge.  Just add an additional 15 min to the covered cook time.
  • Add Veggies:  Some of my favourites are mushrooms sauteed in garlic or super thin slices of tomatoes with oregano or basil.  I like to add veggies onto the ricotta layer.  Another great option is to add chopped spinach into the Bechamel Sauce or ricotta mixture.
  • Leftovers:  They will keep in the fridge for 3-5 days.  To reheat, cover with foil and place in a 350F/177C oven until warmed through.
  • How To Freeze Uncooked Lasagna:  Assemble lasagna in a freezer safe dish.  Cover tightly with a layer of plastic wrap followed by a layer of foil.  Freeze for up to 3 months.  To reheat:  First thaw in the fridge for 24 hours.  Remove plastic wrap and cover back up with foil.  Bake according to instructions, adding an extra 10-15 minutes to the covered cook time.
  • How To Freeze Cooked Lasagna:  Let the lasagna cool completely.  If freezing whole, wrap the same way as outlined above.  Or slice into servings and store in containers.  Freeze for up to 3 months.  To reheat:  Thaw in fridge for 24 hours.  Before baking, remove plastic wrap and cover with foil.  Bake at 350F/177C for 30-35 min or until heated through.  Remove foil and bake 5-10 min longer.  Tip:  To make it taste fresh, add a bit of marinara sauce and cheese on top before baking.

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