The Best Meat Lasagna Recipe – How to Make Homemade Italian Lasagna Bolognese

by Sugar on February 18, 2013 · 50 comments

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Homemade Italian Lasagna Bolognese is the perfect Italian comfort food for Sunday dinner. It feeds a crowd, can be made in advance and  is really one of the most delicious combinations of a delicious homemade bolognese or marinara sauce and pasta. Lasagna (also spelled Lasagne), is literally a meal all by itself. But no Italian dinner would be complete without all of the trimmings of an antipasto, delicious salads, wine and family and friends. Enjoy it anyway you like, but please, make your own.  You’ll be so glad you did. Watch my video to see how to make the best lasagna ever.  The recipe details are below.

Prep time: 1 1/2 hours

Cook time: 1 hour

Total time: 2-3 hours

Makes 12 servings

Ingredients:

For Meat Sauce (Bolognese Sauce)

  • 1 box (1lb.) of dried lasagna noodles, cooked al dente
  • 1 pound of ground beef
  • 1 pound of ground veal
  • 1 pound pork sausage, removed from casing
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 medium-sized onion, chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1 celery stalk, finely chopped
  • 1 carrot, peeled and finely chopped
  • 1 (6oz) can tomato paste
  • 2 (28-ounce) cans crushed tomatoes
  • 1 cup red wine
  • 2 cups beef stock
  • 2 dried bay leaves
  • 1/2 cup fresh chopped basil or 2 teaspoons dried basil
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • Sprinkle of red pepper flakes (optional)

For Ricotta Filling

  • 1 (2 pound) container of whole milk ricotta cheese
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley
  • 2 eggs
  • Salt and pepper

For Topping and Filling:

1 block (16 oz.) mozzarella, shredded

In a medium size pot, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the sausage and sauté with a wooden spoon until crumbled and browned. Add the ground beef and ground pork. Sprinkle with a good amount of salt and pepper. Brown for a few minutes, breaking up the meat with a wooden spoon but leaving it very chunky. Once the meat is brown, add the onions, garlic, celery, and carrots. Give it another sprinkle of salt and pepper. Sauté until all the vegetables are soft, about 3-4 minutes.

Then, turn up heat and add the wine being sure to stir and scrape the brown bits off the bottom of the pan. Simmer for 2 minutes, turn down the heat then add the beef stock, the crushed tomatoes, the tomato paste, fresh basil and bay leaves.

Simmer uncovered over low heat stirring occasionally until the sauce thickens, about 1 hour.

While your sauce is cooking, preheat oven to 350°F

Then, cook pasta in a large pot of salted water for only about 5 min, (making sure it stays al dente). Remove from pot, drain in a strainer and rinse with cold water. Place the pasta in a in bowl and drizzle with olive oil to keep the pieces from sticking to one another. Set aside.

To make filling:

Mix ricotta, eggs, Parmesan, and parsley in a bowl until combined.  Season lightly with salt and pepper.

To Assemble:

Spray a 9 x 13 baking pan with cooking spray.  Spread a thin coating of the meat sauce on the bottom of the baking pan.

Cover with a row of lasagna noodles following the length of the pan and slightly overlapping them (like roof shingles).

Spread 1/2 of the ricotta mixture on top of the noodles, sprinkle with 1/3 of the mozzarella and a light sprinkle of Parmesan cheese.

Repeat with another layer of sauce, then layer the noodles in the opposite direction trimming them to fit into the pan.

Top with the remainder of ricotta cheese mixture and spread to cover the noodles, add 1/3 of the mozzarella, another sprinkle of Parmesan and another layer of sauce. Top the final layer with the noodles running the length of the pan. Top with some more sauce and another sprinkle of Parmesan cheese.

Cover with foil and bake for about 40 minutes or until hot and bubbling. Remove from oven. Uncover and sprinkle the remainder of the mozzarella over the top of the lasagna and put back in the oven for 10-15 minutes until cheese is melted and slightly browned. Remove and allow to cool for 20-30 minutes before slicing and serving.

Cook’s Tips

The sauce recipe will make enough for 2 lasagnas, so you can freeze the remainder of the sauce for some other meal (like pasta with Bolognese sauce), or make two lasagnas by doubling ingredients for the filling and noodles.

Lasagna can be assembled a day or two ahead of time. Don’t bake it just assemble, cover and refrigerate or freeze. When ready to bake, remove lasagna 30 minutes before baking from the refrigerator.  If you freeze the assembled lasagna, remove it 1 hour prior to baking.

Vegetables can be easily chopped in a food processor or with a hand chopper

If sauce seems too thick, add a little more beef stock.  If it’s too thin, allow it to cook longer.

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Marjorie says:

Hi Sugar,
I stumbled across your video while googling a recipe for parmesean chicken a few months ago.
It is now a family favorite. You make cooking look so uncomplicated. Your instructions are precise and the food turns out just as it does on your video…
Keep cooking!
Marjorie

Sugar says:

Thanks so much for the sweet feedback.

jackeline caban says:

hi sugar i wanted to let u know that i made a lasagna for the first time seeing your video i change some of the recipe because i didn’t have all the items but it was good it wasn’t delicious how i wanted so i just made a list of all the stuff i need to get so i can make it just like you :)

Sugar says:

Oh you are so sweet. Yes do get all the ingredients and give it a try. It makes all the difference. Enjoy!

Kim says:

Hi Sugar,

This looks wonderful…I’m going to deviate from our family recipe and make this for a dinner party. Do you think it would be ok to bake this a couple of hours before guests arrive, then heat it up before serving? I’ll be making it on a boat and it might be easier this way.

Thanks so much!

Kim

Sugar says:

Kim,

That will be just fine. Enjoy it and let me know if they like it.

Sugar :)

Kim says:

It was so wonderful! Thank you so much….I can’t wait to try your other recipes…just stumbled on your site…it’s great!

Kim

Sugar says:

Kim,

Thanks for the sweet feedback. It makes me so happy to have people enjoying my recipes. :)

Karen Kahn says:

Arlene/Sugar,
As my family can attest, I should be on the show “worst cooks in America” ! I’m not proud, my saving grace is that I love to bake, but my family cannot survive on sweets alone!!! I made this lasagna two weeks ago and they have been BEGGING me since to make it again, it was a tremendous hit!!!! Even my husband who is the pickiest of the bunch is salivating waiting for dinner. THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU. I have made many a lasagna in my time, but all have been tasteless, yours is fantastic. I ran out of red wine this time so I am trying it with a little extra beef stock as you had pointed out in an earlier comment. Keep posting these great recipes! My next try will be the spinach/ricotta pie!

Sugar says:

Karen,

You are so sweet for taking the time to write to me. I’m thrilled to know that they loved it. Do try the pie and let me know how that wors out. I make that one all the time so I am sure you will love it too.

XXOO

Katie says:

Hello Sugar,
I recently broke my leg in 3 places falling down the stairs and have now found myself confined to my bed where the closest I get to the kitchen is watching you cook in yours. I just watched your lasagna video and I am even more motivated to get better so that I can get back to cooking your wonderful recipes for my family. The lasagna looks amazing and I am anxious to make it however I do have a question regarding the recipe.

Normally when I cook ground beef there is a lot of liquid fat that I have to drain out. Sometimes I’ll even squeeze extra fat out of meat by pushing down on cooked meat in a colander with a handful of clean paper towels. Its amazing to me how much fat squirts out when i do this. Did you drain fat after cooking all that meat, if not what is your method for getting rid of all the fatty liquid?

Thank you Sugar for sharing such great recipes on such a regular basis. Your a class act………so entertaining, so talented and so absolutely beautiful. Your hard work is so very much appreciated. Sure hope you write a cookbook one day. I’d be first in line here in Huntington Beach , CA to pick it up.
Happy 2013 Sugar
Katie

Sugar says:

Oh Katie I am so sorry to hear that. Hope you get better soon. Yes there can be a lot of fat with ground beef and I should have mentioned that. The beef and veal I used was very lean so you see there was nothing to skim off. If I have a lot of fat in the pan I tilt the pan and place a whole slice of bread in the pan. It soaks up the fan and then I remove it and discard it with a sppon.

I hope you get back in the kitchen soon. XXOO

Sugar

Kimi says:

Is it ok to use the “no boil” lasagna noodles from Barilla?

Sugar says:

Sure you can use the no boil. I do that now and then as well. Lets know how you like it. Enjoy

Kimi says:

Hi Sugar
I tried the recipe with the no boil noodles. Let me start by saying I come from an Italian family and we have generations of recipes that we swear by and don’t share. LOL. Our lasagna recipe is wonderful but I thought it would be fun to try something new. Is that sacrilegious? I tried your lasagna and the family loved it. I also made the cannoli cups and they were a huge hit! Thanks for sharing and I love the videos that you make.

Sugar says:

Kimi,

You are so funny!! I am glad you enjoyed it. Do try my other recipes too and share them with your family and friends as well. Spread some kitchen love. XXOO

Maria Boyer says:

Sugar, this brought me back to my own family and our big Italian gatherings! I am going to try your recipe for sure ;)

Sugar says:

I’m so glad you enjoyed it. Thanks for the sweet feedback. Do be sure to share my site with family and friends. :)

Jacki says:

Sugar-

You are the best for making this video. I’ve been dying to learn how to make lasagna! My hubby and I love your recipes, cocktails, “to die for” crab cakes. I can’t wait to make this! Any you look fabulous!!! How do you do it you do it? We love watching you!

Thanks again.

Sugar says:

Jacki,

Thank you honey for the super sweet comments. It thrills me to know that you are making my recipes. I cook with a whole lot of love and that is what makes it all taste good. It’s great to hear feedback like yours. XXOO

Sugar

Virginia says:

Hi, Sugar!
Enjoyed watching you make your lasagna and hope mine comes out just as good.
I did notice, though, that you didn’t put any of the ricotta mix on the last layer of noodles, only the sauce.

Is this the way you would normally make it, with no ricotta on the final layer?

Thanks,
Virginia

Sugar says:

Hi,

So glad you enjoyed the video. Yes the top layer just gets the noodles and sauce with some cheese. Then the sprinkle of mozzarella at the end. If you make it please be sure to tell me how you like it.
:)

Ann says:

How do I find just the recipe for the lasagna without the pics. Looks so good….

Sugar says:

You can go to the bottom of the photo on the recipe where you see Sharing is Caring. The last icon is print friendly. Go there and click the option of printing without the photos. :) Enjoy!

Ann says:

Thanks, you’d think I would have remembered that since I printed the Mini Cannoli recipe last year ..lol….Tough when you’re 75 and forget “computer” stuff….looking forward to more goodies….

Sugar says:

Oh Ann no problem honey. :)

you are the best sugar, i would love to meet you in person. do you have a receipe for a jumboloti cake, probably incorrect spelling.

Sugar says:

Mary Jane, Thanks for the feedback. I am not sure what that cake is. Probably the wrong spelling. Give me more info on what it is and maybe I do know what it is we just call it something else.
:)

liv says:

hi Sugar,

YOU HAVE NO IDEA HOW IM WAS HOPING YOU’D MAKING A LASAGNA VIDEO!!! Like I’ve mentioned in previous comments I’m a newlywed and I have no idea when it comes to cooking and you have made my life so much EASIER and my husband and I enjoy every single recipe of yours. THANK YOU SO SO MUCH YOU ARE AMAZING I GREATLY APPRECIATE YOUR HARD WORK!!! YOU MAKE EVERYTHING SEEM SO SIMPLE BY YOUR EXPLANATIONS. BY THE WAY YOU ARE SO PRETTY, HOW DO YOU KEEP IN SUCH GREAT SHAPE??? PLEASE SHARE YOUR TIPS

Sugar says:

OK Liv honey you made my day. I will walk around with a smile on all day, just because of you. :) XXOO My goal with my website has been to help women just like you. I’m so excited that you are enjoying my recipes and making your hubby happy. My husband and I have been together since we were 13. One of my secrets is to keep his belly happy. LOL!! Men love it when you cook for them so keep it up. As for how I stay in shape, check out my skinny chicken soup video and my egg over salad video. I eat very clean during the week and get exercise. On the weekends and holidays I enjoy cake, wine, pasta, all in moderation. That is the key.

http://www.cookingwithsugar.com/skinny-chicken-vegetable-soup-a-recipe-for-weight-loss-and-fitness/

http://www.cookingwithsugar.com/breakfast-salad-for-health-and-weight-loss-start-your-bikini-body-for-summer-now/

I am working on a series of videos for women just like you with tips and ideas to a happy and healthy marriage. Do you think that is a good idea? I would love to get your feedback. Email me at info@cookingwithsugar.com

XXOO Sugar

Paula says:

PLEASE WE WOULD LOVE TO SEE YOUR VIDEO’s!! Don’t stop the good you do for all women–Thank you!!

Sugar says:

Paula,

Thanks for the sweet feedback. I will keep doing as many videos as I have time for. It does take a lot of work but my husband and I enjoy it so much. He makes it super fun. When you see me laughing it is always at him. We joke when I’m cooking and we do have a great time. XXOO

Lisa says:

Hi Sugar!! I am going to give my parents a 50th wedding anniversary party at my house. I am definitely making this!! And I was wondering if you could help me plan the rest of the menu?

Sugar says:

Lisa,

I would love to. How can I help. Email me and let me know. :)

Fadwa says:

Hello there,
I saw this one as a video, and I got to tell you, it’s so beautiful. Actually I’m on a diet now, so I can’t really come two meters near any one of my favorite foods, but as soon as I get the day to rest, I’ll be sure to try this one.

Oh, But is there a substitute for Wine? Cause I can’t use it. That is the only question I have. Other than that I’m happy with this video. I used to do this recipe with Béchamel sauce as a filling, but I’ll try the one you did soon :)

Love your Recipes!
Fadwa-

Sugar says:

Fedwa,

Hi,

Thank you for the lovely feedback. You can use chicken or beef stock in place of the wine. Enjoy and good luck with your diet. :)

Mark says:

What a wonderful video! It makes me wish I were part of a big Italian family.

Oh, and the lasagna looks delizioso!

<3

Sugar says:

Mark,

Thanks for the sweet feedback. XXOO

Sugar