The Best Lasagna is here! Layered with a rich meat sauce and a creamy parmesan white sauce, plus the perfect amount of mozzarella cheese! NO ricotta cheese needed!
The Best Lasagna…
My mama’s famous lasagna recipe is hands down the best lasagna I have ever had in my life. She learnt her ways from her Italian friends when she lived in New York City, adjusting the recipe through the years to perfect it…and every single person that tries her recipe comes back for seconds, thirds and leftovers for the next day!
Just LOOK at that CHEESE!
I blame this post all on her. This recipe is not exactly ideal to look at and salivate over in a month that we are all on our low carb, Keto, paleo, weight watchers, cabbage soup, low fat, low carb, rabbit food diets. But…It’s Lasagna. And I DO know that many of us still have to cook ‘normal’ foods for our families.
Why do I blame her? Long story short, she made me do it:
“You don’t have a lasagna recipe on your blog! WHY?”
“Ummm, I don’t know? But I can’t do one right now because I can’t eat it. Don’t make me suffer.”
“So? What does that have to do with your blog?”
“Ugh. OKAYYYY FIIIINE. You cook, I’ll shoo…” banging and clanging going down in my kitchen, wooden spoons flying around everywhere, fridge door screaming to be closed before I could finish my sentence. Ah…the chaos.
How To Make Lasagna Meat Sauce
The most important part of this whole things is her sauce. It’s rich with flavour and texture.
- Our sauce is made with a mix of ground beef and pork. This is OPTIONAL. If you don’t like pork you can definitely use beef to replace it, but the pork does add a traditional lasagna flavour to the sauce.
- Most sauces use crushed tomatoes as a base, however we love mixing in a bottle of Passata (or American tomato sauce) to add richness.
- Using tomato paste results in a thick and rich sauce. Don’t skip this ingredient! We love using one with garlic and herbs, but plain is also fine.
The Best Lasagna White Sauce
This is where things go from yeah, it’s okay TO oh-my-god-this-is-so-good! We don’t use any ricotta cheese in our lasagna. Not because we don’t like ricotta (mmm….could go a Spinach and Ricotta Grilled Cheese right about now), but because white sauce makes it so much more flavourful. Especially her parmesan white sauce. It’s SO GOOD you’ll want to put this Béchamel on EVERYTHING!
You need only 4 ingredients to make this Béchamel happen:
- Parmesan cheese. If you don’t like parmesan, replace it with Gruyere, Romano, Asiago, Manchego, or more Mozzarella.
Dry Or Fresh Lasagna Sheets
We prefer fresh lasagna pasta sheets which are found in the refrigerator section of most grocery stores. If you can’t find or don’t have access to fresh, you can use dried.
No Cook or Instant Noodles can be used without pre-boiling (check the packet instructions first). You can assemble as normal. To ensure the pasta has enough liquid to cook through while the lasagna is baking, we normally add about 1/2 cup of water to our sauce when using INSTANT.
Pre Boil Or Pre Cook Pasta Sheets need to be boiled first before assembly. Follow the instructions on the packet. Add a couple of tablespoons of olive oil into the water to prevent the sheets from sticking together and stir them occasionally with a wooden spoon. Transfer each cooked lasagna sheet carefully into a large bowl or pot filled with cool water to help stop the cooking process. Leave them in there until ready to use. This helps prevent them from sticking together or drying out. You can do this while the meat sauce is gently simmering away so all elements are ready at the same time.
Once you’ve layered your lasagna, you need to make sure you last layers (or top layers) finish with pasta > meat sauce > white sauce > mozzarella cheese. Yeah, that order results in a golden, crunchy and cheesy top with a layer of juicy meat sauce underneath.
Crispy edges, a gooey, cheesy centre, perfectly cooked fresh lasagna pasta sheets in between a creamy parmesan white sauce and an abundance of cheese.
Lord, help me.
For more lasagna variations, you might like these: Easy Slow Cooker Lasagna Soup | Spaghetti Squash Lasagna Boats | Easy Lasagna Stuffed Burritos | Beef And Pumpkin Lasagna | Chicken Pumpkin and Ricotta Lasagna!
Mama's Best Lasagna
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 onion, (finely chopped)
- 1 carrot, (finely diced)
- 4 cloves garlic cloves, (minced)
- 24 ounces (700 grams) ground beef mince
- 10 ounces (300 grams) ground pork mince, (or beef)
- 24 ounces (700 grams) Passata
- 14 ounces (410 grams) crushed tomatoes
- 3 heaped tablespoons tomato paste, ((I use garlic and herbs flavoured))
- 2 beef or vegetable bouillon cubes, (crushed)
- 1 teaspoon each dried oregano and basil
- 1/2 teaspoon sugar, ((if desired))
- Salt and pepper, (season to your tastes)
White Sauce (Béchamel):
- 4 tablespoons butter
- 4 tablespoons flour, (all purpose or plain)
- 4 cups milk, ((I use low fat))
- 1 cup fresh shredded parmesan
- 13 ounces (375 grams) fresh lasagna sheets*
- 17 ounces (500 grams) fresh mozzarella cheese, (shredded)
- 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh parsley
- Heat oil in a large pot over medium heat, then add in the onion and carrots and cook for 8-10 minutes, or until softened. Add in the garlic and sauté for about 1 minute, until fragrant.
- Add beef and pork (if using) and cook while breaking it up with the end of your spoon, until browned.
- Pour in the Passata, crushed tomatoes, tomato paste, crushed bouillon and dried herbs. Mix well to combine and bring to a gentle simmer. Season with desired amount of salt and pepper (I use about 3/4 teaspoon each) and sugar if needed. Cover and cook for about 20-30 minutes, occasionally mixing, until the sauce has thickened slightly and meat is tender.
- Adjust salt, pepper and dried herbs to your taste.
Parmesan White Sauce:
- In a large pot, melt butter over medium heat. Remove from hot plate; add the flour and whisk for about 30 seconds, or until well blended.
- Place pot back onto stove, reduce heat down to low and slowly whisk in 1 cup of the milk until well combined. Once well blended, add the remaining milk in 1 cup increments, mixing well after each addition, until all the milk is used and sauce is free from lumps.
- Increase heat to medium and continue cooking sauce while stirring occasionally until it thickens (about 6-7 minutes) and coats the back of your wooden spoon.
- Add in the parmesan cheese and remove from heat. Season with salt and pepper and mix until the cheese is melted through.
- Preheat oven to 350°F | 180°F.
- Spoon about 1 cup of meat sauce on the base of a 9x13-inch baking dish, then cover with lasagna sheets. (Trim sheets to fit over the meat if needed.) Layer with 2 cups of meat sauce (or enough to cover pasta), 1 cup of white sauce and half of the mozzarella cheese. Repeat layers (leaving the remaining cheese for the top).
- Pour the remaining meat sauce and white sauce over the last layer of lasagna sheets and top with the remaining mozzarella cheese. Bake for 25 minutes or until golden and bubbling.
- Garnish with parsley and let stand for about 10 minutes before slicing and serving.ENJOY!