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Classic Italian Lasagna with Ricotta Cheese

piece of layered meat lasagna with ricotta on a white plate in front of a white dish

5 from 3 reviews

This classic italian lasagna with ricotta cheese is layered with oven ready noodles, a hearty meat sauce and two different kinds of cheese. A tasty comfort food classic, this homemade lasagna is perfect for a cold winter night or Sunday dinner with the family.

Ingredients

Units Scale

Meat Sauce

  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 pound ground pork
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 5 cups marinara

Ricotta Cheese Filling

  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 medium white onion, diced
  • 1 Tablespoon chopped garlic
  • 2 Tablespoons Italian seasoning
  • 32 ounces whole milk ricotta cheese
  • 3/4 cup shredded parmesan cheese
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper

Lasagna Layers

  • 3 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 3/4 cup shredded parmesan cheese
  • 9 oven ready lasagna noodles

Instructions

Meat Sauce

  1. Preheat the oven to 375˚ and heat a large skillet or pot over medium heat. 
  2. Add olive oil, ground beef, ground pork, salt, and pepper. Cook the meat, stirring occasionally until browned and cook through. 
  3. Add in the marinara and stir to combine. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for 10 minutes while the ricotta cheese filling is made.

Ricotta Cheese Filling

  1. Heat a medium skillet or pan over medium heat on the stovetop. Add the oil and diced onions and cook while stirring occasionally for 3 minutes until softened.
  2. Add the garlic and Italian seasoning and continue to cook, while stirring for an additional minute. 
  3. Remove the pan off of the heat and place into a mixing bowl. Add the ricotta cheese, parmesan cheese, eggs, salt, and pepper. Stir together the ingredients thoroughly until they are well combined. 

Lasagna Layering

  1. In a small bowl, mix together the parmesan and mozzarella cheese. 
  2. In a 9x13 baking pan, spread approximately 1 cup of the meat sauce over the entire bottom of the pan. 
  3. Place three of the lasagna noodles over the sauce and top with one third of the ricotta mixture. Spread the mixture around to cover most of the noodles. Top the ricotta mixture with one third of the shredded cheese mixture and then top that with half of the remaining meat sauce.
  4. Repeat the process for the next layer with 3 more noodles, the second third of the ricotta mixture, the second third of the shredded cheese, and the remaining meat sauce.
  5. To complete the third layer, add the last three noodles, the final third of the ricotta mixture, and the final third of the shredded cheese. 
  6. Cover the pan tightly with foil and place in the oven on the middle rack to bake for 1 hour. Remove the foil for the last 10 minutes of cooking time to allow the cheese to brown. 
  7. Remove lasagna from the oven and let rest for 10-15 minutes before slicing and serving. 

Notes

  • Make sure to use a deep-sided baking dish to ensure you have enough room for all of the layers.
  • Place a sheet pan on the rack below the lasagna to catch any drips during the baking time.
  • To brown the cheese on the lasagna even more, turn on the broiler for a minute or two at the end.

Substitutions and Variations

  • Meat Sauce - Both ground beef and pork are cooked and simmered with the marinara to make a rich and hearty meat sauce. For a vegetarian version of this lasagna, omit the meat and just use plain marinara instead.
  • Shredded Cheese - Both mozzarella and parmesan cheeses are used in layering this lasagna. The mozzarella adds a creamy, melty texture, while the parmesan cheese adds a nice sharpness and saltiness. Other cheeses that could be included in the mix could be provolone or romano cheese.
  • Lasagna Noodles - Oven ready lasagna noodles make this lasagna quick and easy. Regular noodles or even homemade pasta could also be used. 
  • Gluten Free - Try gluten free noodles in this recipe to make this lasagna gluten free.
  • Extra Veggies - Fresh spinach or kale leaves can be cooked with the onions and garlic to add some extra veggies to the ricotta cheese mixture.
  • Spicy - Use spicy Italian sausage instead of ground pork for an extra zesty dish!

Make Ahead Instructions

  • Fridge - Wrap the fully assembled lasagna in plastic wrap and store it unbaked in the refrigerator for up to 2 days. Remove the lasagna from the refrigerator 30-60 minutes prior to cooking time to allow it to come to room temperature. Remove plastic wrap, cover in foil and bake as directed.
  • Freezer - Wrap the fully assembled lasagna in plastic wrap and foil and store it unbaked in the freezer for up to 2 months. Allow the lasagna to fully defrost in the refrigerator. Remove the thawed lasagna 30-60 minutes before cooking time to allow it to come to room temperature. Remove plastic wrap, cover in foil and bake as directed. 

Storage Suggestions

Leftover cooled lasagna will keep in the refrigerator in an airtight container for 3-5 days and in the freezer for up to 1 month. Frozen baked lasagna should be completely thawed in the refrigerator. Leftovers can be reheated in the microwave or oven.

Keywords: Classic Italian Lasagna, Homemade Lasagna with Ricotta Cheese, Italian Lasagna with Ricotta Cheese