There are countless variations of this delicious pasta dish, but there is something special about the “world’s best” lasagna recipe!
This recipe is a true masterpiece that combines layers of tender pasta with a rich, hearty tomato sauce. And a creamy cheese filling!!
Whether you are a seasoned chef or a beginner in the kitchen, this recipe is sure to impress your family and friends and leave them asking for seconds.
So, let’s dive into the world of the “world’s best” lasagna recipe and discover what makes it so special!
History of Lasagna…
I love digging into the history of dishes! Lasagna is deeply rooted in Italian culinary tradition but what’s the rest of the story? It didn’t start out in Italy!
The concept of layered pasta dishes can be traced back to the ancient Greeks and Romans. They prepared a dish called “Laganon,” which consisted of layers of pasta, sauces, and cheese.
The term “lasagna” is believed to have derived from the Greek word “laganon,” which referred to a flat sheet of pasta.
During the Middle Ages, pasta became more prevalent in Italian cuisine. And lasagna continued to evolve. Initially, lasagna was considered a dish for special occasions, often served during religious holidays and ceremonies. With this delightful recipe I can see why!
Over time, different regions in Italy developed their own variations of lasagna. For example, in Emilia-Romagna, a region known for its rich culinary heritage, a version of lasagna called “Lasagne Verdi” was created, made with green spinach pasta sheets and rich béchamel sauce.
Tomato Sauce Addition
The modern version of lasagna, featuring tomato-based sauces, was not common until the introduction of tomatoes to Europe in the 16th century. After the New World discovery, tomatoes were slowly incorporated into Italian cuisine, eventually becoming a staple ingredient in pasta sauces, including those used in lasagna.
Lasagna Around the World!
In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, as Italian immigrants spread across the globe, they brought their culinary traditions with them, including lasagna. As a result, lasagna gained popularity in many countries, becoming a well-known and beloved dish worldwide.
Today, lasagna remains a classic Italian comfort food loved by people from all walks of life. Its versatility allows for various interpretations and adaptations, making it a staple in households and restaurants around the world. The core elements of pasta, sauce, cheese, and layering have stood the test of time, connecting the modern-day lasagna to its ancient origins in a delicious display of culinary history.
Ingredients in “World’s Best” Lasagna Recipe
Creating the “world’s best” lasagna is a matter of personal taste, but I can certainly share a delicious and well-loved recipe.
I’m not going to kid you, there is quite a list of ingredients that you’ll need to gather to make this famous recipe! But it’s so worth it!!!
It’s All About That Sauce, That Sauce, That Sauce!
The sauce for this “World’s Best” Lasagna Recipe is made from scratch using both canned and fresh ingredients!
Meat Portion of the Sauce:
For the meat portion of the sauce you’ll need 2 tablespoons olive oil, 1 large onion (finely chopped), 4 garlic cloves (minced), 1 lb (450g) ground beef, and 1/2 lb (225g) sweet Italian sausage!
Tomato Base Portion of the Sauce:
I’m sure back in old Italy the cooks made the entire tomato base from cooking down vine-fresh tomatoes! If you’re savvy on this process go for it! Otherwise, use the following ingredients to make your tomato base…
You’ll use 1 (28 oz) can crushed tomatoes, 1 (14 oz) can tomato sauce, and 2 tablespoons tomato paste. Added to this will be 1/2 cup red wine (optional, but adds depth of flavor!), 1 teaspoon sugar, 2 teaspoons dried Italian Seasoning, 2 teaspoons dried basil, 1 teaspoon fennel, and salt and pepper to taste!!
Filling Ingredients for the “World’s Best” Lasagna Recipe
The creamy, cheesy filling in this “filling” lasagna dish is made with 16 oz (450g) ricotta cheese, 1 large egg, 1/4 cup fresh parsley (chopped), 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon black pepper!
Other Layering Ingredients
The other ingredients for this “World’s Best” lasagna recipe will be 1 lb (450g) lasagna noodles (pre-cooked according to package instructions), 3 cups shredded mozzarella cheese, and additional chopped parsley and grated Parmesan for topping!
Substitutions You Could Use for “World’s Best” Lasagna Recipe!
There are several substitutes you can use in this lasagna recipe to suit your dietary preferences or accommodate ingredient availability. Here are some common substitutions:
If you prefer a vegetarian or vegan lasagna, you can replace the ground meat with plant-based alternatives like crumbled tofu, tempeh, textured vegetable protein (TVP), or a combination of sautéed mushrooms, eggplant, zucchini, and bell peppers. These options can provide a similar texture and flavor to the traditional meat sauce.
For a dairy-free or vegan version, you can use dairy-free cheeses like vegan mozzarella or dairy-free ricotta made from nuts or soy. Alternatively, you can make a tofu-based ricotta cheese using blended tofu, lemon juice, nutritional yeast, and seasonings.
Instead of traditional lasagna noodles, you can try using no-boil lasagna noodles, whole wheat lasagna noodles, or gluten-free lasagna noodles if you have dietary restrictions or preferences.
While the classic marinara-based sauce is a favorite, you can experiment with different sauces. For instance, you can try a creamy Alfredo sauce or a pesto sauce for a unique twist on lasagna.
Enhance the nutritional value and flavor by adding various vegetables to the layers. Spinach, kale, roasted red peppers, and sliced tomatoes work well and add more color and nutrients to the dish.
If you’re looking to reduce the fat content, opt for lean ground meat, part-skim ricotta cheese, and reduced-fat mozzarella.
While dried herbs are used in the recipe, you can also incorporate fresh herbs like basil, thyme, or rosemary for a more vibrant flavor.
Remember to adjust the seasoning and flavors as needed when making substitutions to ensure the lasagna remains delicious and balanced. Feel free to get creative and tailor the recipe to your taste preferences and dietary needs!!
Making the “World’s Best” Lasagna Recipe
Good things come to those who wait! And it’s the same with making this mouth-watering lasagna!!
You’ll want to dedicate a few hours for making this delicious meal!!!
Prepare the sauce:
In a large saucepan, heat the olive oil over medium heat.
Add the chopped onions and sauté until translucent.
Stir in the minced garlic and cook for another minute until fragrant.
Add the ground beef and sweet Italian sausage.
Cook until browned, breaking it up with a spoon as it cooks.
Transfer meat to a large soup kettle.
Pour in the crushed tomatoes, tomato sauce, and tomato paste.
Stir in the red wine (if using), sugar, dried oregano, dried basil, salt, and pepper.
Turn stove heat on low.
Cover the pan.
Simmer the sauce for about 90 minutes, stirring occasionally, to allow the flavors to meld together. Your whole house will smell amazing!!
Adjust the seasoning to your taste.
Prepare the cheese filling:
Before you begin to prepare the filling, preheat your oven to 375°F (190°C).
Spray a large, deep baking dish with baking spray to prevent sticking!
In a mixing bowl, combine the ricotta cheese, egg, chopped parsley, grated Parmesan cheese, salt, and black pepper. Mix well until smooth.
Assemble the lasagna:
In a large baking dish, spread a thin layer of the meat sauce on the bottom.
Place a layer of pre-cooked lasagna noodles on top.
Spread a third of the cheese filling over the noodles, followed by a third of the shredded mozzarella cheese.
Repeat this layering process two more times, finishing with a final layer of meat sauce and shredded mozzarella.
Sprinkle some additional grated Parmesan cheese on top.
Cover the baking dish with aluminum foil, making sure it’s not touching the cheese to prevent sticking. I also spray the inside of the aluminum foil with a little cooking spray to help prevent sticking!
Bake the lasagna in the preheated oven for about 25 minutes. Then, remove the foil and continue baking for an additional 20-25 minutes or until the cheese is bubbly and golden brown.
Once done, take the lasagna out of the oven and let it rest for 10-15 minutes before slicing and serving.
This recipe will yield a fantastic lasagna with layers of rich flavors!
Feel free to customize it to your taste, adding veggies like spinach or mushrooms or using different types of cheeses.
Enjoy your homemade lasagna masterpiece!
Wondering What to Serve With This “World’s Best” Lasagna Recipe?
This lasagna is a hearty and flavorful dish, so you’ll want to complement it with some delicious sides! Here are a few options that pair well with lasagna!
A classic choice that goes perfectly with lasagna. You can make it with store-bought or homemade baguette or Italian bread, slathered with garlic butter and toasted until golden and crispy.
Garlic breadsticks are a great side too!!!
A refreshing Caesar salad with crisp romaine lettuce, croutons, grated Parmesan cheese, and a tangy Caesar dressing is a great accompaniment to the richness of lasagna.
Roasting a mix of seasonal vegetables like zucchini, bell peppers, cherry tomatoes, and eggplant with some olive oil, salt, and pepper adds a healthy and colorful side dish.
A simple and elegant Caprese salad made with fresh mozzarella, ripe tomatoes, basil leaves, drizzled with balsamic glaze and olive oil.
Create a platter with an assortment of Italian cold cuts, cheeses, olives, pickles, and marinated vegetables. It’s a delightful option for sharing with guests.
Green Beans Almondine:
Sautéed green beans with toasted almonds and a touch of lemon juice make for a light and flavorful side dish.
Fresh tomato bruschetta on toasted baguette slices is a great appetizer or side to accompany your lasagna.
Seasoned with olive oil, salt, and pepper, grilled asparagus is a tasty and nutritious choice.
A hearty vegetable soup with beans and pasta is an excellent starter or side for a lasagna dinner.
You can mix and match these options! Or choose a couple that you think will complement the lasagna best!!
Enjoy your meal!
How to Store and Reheat Leftover “World’s Best” Lasagna Recipe
Storing leftover lasagna properly is important to maintain its freshness and prevent the growth of harmful bacteria. Here’s how to store leftover lasagna:
Let it Cool
Allow the lasagna to cool at room temperature for about 1 to 2 hours after it comes out of the oven. This helps prevent condensation from forming inside the container, which can make the lasagna soggy.
Cut into Portions
If you have a large pan of lasagna, consider cutting it into individual portions. This makes it easier to store and reheat only the amount you need.
Use Airtight Containers
Transfer the leftover lasagna into airtight containers or wrap it tightly with plastic wrap or aluminum foil. Make sure the container is tightly sealed to prevent air from getting in.
Place the containers in the refrigerator within two hours of cooking. Bacteria can grow rapidly at room temperature, so it’s essential to refrigerate the lasagna promptly.
Store in the Refrigerator
Leftover lasagna can be safely stored in the refrigerator for up to 3 to 5 days.
When you’re ready to enjoy the leftover lasagna, you can reheat it in the microwave or oven.
If using the oven, cover the lasagna with aluminum foil to prevent it from drying out. Reheat until it reaches an internal temperature of 165°F (74°C) to ensure it’s safe to eat.
If you have more leftovers than you can consume within a few days, you can freeze the lasagna for longer storage.
Wrap individual portions tightly in plastic wrap or aluminum foil and place them in a freezer-safe container or resealable freezer bags. Label with the date for easy tracking.
Frozen lasagna can last for about 2 to 3 months.
When reheating frozen lasagna, it’s best to thaw it overnight in the refrigerator before reheating to ensure even heating.
Always use your best judgment and follow food safety guidelines to avoid foodborne illnesses. If the lasagna looks or smells off, it’s better to discard it rather than risk eating spoiled food.
“World’s Best” Lasagna Recipe
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For the Sauce:
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 large onion finely chopped
- 4 garlic cloves minced
- 1 lb 450g ground beef (you can also use a combination of beef, pork, and veal)
- 1/2 lb Sweet Italian sausage
- 1 28 oz can crushed tomatoes
- 1 14 oz can tomato sauce
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 1/2 cup red wine optional, but adds depth of flavor
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 2 teaspoons dried Italian Seasoning
- 2 teaspoons dried basil
- 1 teaspoon dried fennel seed
- Salt and pepper to taste
For the Filling:
- 16 oz 450g ricotta cheese
- 1 large egg
- 1/4 cup fresh parsley chopped
- 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- 1 lb 450g lasagna noodles (pre-cooked according to package instructions)
- 3 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
- Additional grated Parmesan for topping
- Prepare the sauce:
- In a large saucepan, heat the olive oil over medium heat.
- Add the chopped onions and sauté until translucent.
- Stir in the minced garlic and cook for another minute until fragrant.
- Add the ground beef and sweet Italian sausage.
- Cook until browned, breaking it up with a spoon as it cooks.
- Transfer meat to a large soup kettle.
- Pour in the crushed tomatoes, tomato sauce, and tomato paste.
- Stir in the red wine (if using), sugar, dried oregano, dried basil, salt, and pepper.
- Turn stove heat on low.
- Simmer the sauce for about 90 minutes, stirring occasionally, to allow the flavors to meld together. Your whole house will smell amazing!!
- Adjust the seasoning to your taste.
- Prepare the cheese filling:
- Before you begin, preheat your oven to 375°F (190°C).
- Grease a large baking pan.
- In a mixing bowl, combine the ricotta cheese, egg, chopped parsley, grated Parmesan cheese, salt, and black pepper. Mix well until smooth.
- Assemble the lasagna:
- In a large baking dish, spread a thin layer of the meat sauce on the bottom.
- Place a layer of pre-cooked lasagna noodles on top.
- Spread a third of the cheese filling over the noodles, followed by a third of the shredded mozzarella cheese.
- Repeat this layering process two more times, finishing with a final layer of meat sauce and shredded mozzarella.
- Sprinkle some additional grated Parmesan cheese on top.
- Cover the baking dish with aluminum foil, making sure it’s not touching the cheese to prevent sticking. I also spray the inside of the aluminum foil with a little cooking spray to help prevent sticking!
- Bake the lasagna in the preheated oven for about 25 minutes. Then, remove the foil and continue baking for an additional 20-25 minutes or until the cheese is bubbly and golden brown.
- Once done, take the lasagna out of the oven and let it rest for 10-15 minutes before slicing and serving.