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How to Make Lasagna

How to make a lasagna
Everything you ever wanted to know about the classic Italian comfort food.
By Natalie Boike

Introduction

Warm and comforting, lasagna is like a hug in a casserole dish. This classic, family-friendly dinner is a hit with just about everyone around the table, and it’s easy enough to make any day of the week. From choosing what to put into your lasagna to foolproof tips on layering it, we have everything you need to make the tastiest lasagna tonight.

Lasagna Basics: What Goes into Lasagna

The brilliant thing about lasagna is it’s really hard to mess up. You can swap in your favorite meats, cheeses and veggies and it’ll (probably) turn out fine. To get started though, there are a couple of key components: noodles, cheese, sauce and filling.

Noodles: Lasagna noodles are large and wide, with curly little edges, and you can find them in just about every pasta aisle. With regular lasagna noodles, some recipes will call for you to boil the noodles before assembly, but you can also buy no-boil noodles, which saves time (and there isn’t much of a difference in taste or texture). You can also make lasagna without noodles at all, by swapping in sturdy sliced veggie layers. Eggplant and zucchini make great noodle substitutes in lasagna.

Cheese: Cheese! What would lasagna be without cheese? Definitely not as good. A standard lasagna recipe will usually have ricotta, mozzarella and perhaps a sprinkle of Parmesan cheese. You can also find recipes that use cream cheese, cottage cheese, provolone and other cheese blends.

Sauce: The sauce is what brings everything together, so choose wisely. Most recipes call for one or two 15 oz. jars of pasta sauce. This could be marinara or Alfredo or whatever you like best. As long as you keep the total amount of sauce in the recipe the same and you like the flavor profile, the sky is the limit.

Filling: This is where you can really make it your own. While spinach, beef and Italian sausage are traditional, you can swap in ground chicken or turkey, use a mix of vegetables or even leftover rotisserie chicken. All meat should be fully cooked before assembling. If you’re using frozen vegetables, they should be thawed and drained first so the casserole doesn’t get watery.

Different Types of Lasagna

Classic lasagna is absolutely delicious, but there are so many ways to customize it with unique flavors.

Mexican Lasagna: Using the same noodle layering method, but swapping in flavors like enchilada sauce, taco seasonings, beans and chiles into your lasagna gives it a tasty Mexican twist. Some recipes even use tortillas in place of noodles.

Chicken Lasagna: Chicken lasagna recipes tend to layer noodles and chicken with white sauces like Alfredo sauce in place of the traditional red pasta sauce and add in even more colorful veggies like broccoli, bell peppers and spinach.

Vegetarian Lasagna: Vegetarian lasagna recipes have no rules except for no meat. The sky is the limit when it comes to ingredients—pack your casserole with bright green spinach leaves or replace the noodles with strips of zucchini or eggplant for an even lighter, flavorful taste.

Pizza Lasagna: Pizza and lasagna: The dinner combo you never knew you needed. But once you try this pepperoni-studded spin on lasagna, you may never go back. Load this casserole with more of your favorite pizza toppings like mushrooms, olives and bell peppers.

How to Make Lasagna

Our Spinach and Beef Lasagna is the perfect make-ahead meal.

What You Need

  • 13x9-inch (3-quart) baking dish
  • 12-inch non-stick skillet
  • Foil

Ingredients

  • 1.5 lbs lean ground beef
  • 1 can (15-oz.) Italian-style tomato sauce
  • 1 bag (1 lb) frozen bell pepper and onion stir-fry, thawed and drained
  • 1 container (15-oz.) ricotta cheese
  • 1 jar (16-oz.) Alfredo pasta sauce
  • 8 uncooked lasagna noodles
  • 1 bag (1 lb) frozen cut leaf spinach, thawed and squeezed to drain
  • 1 cup (4-oz.) shredded mozzarella cheese

Spray 13x9-inch (3-quart) baking dish with cooking spray. In 12-inch nonstick skillet, heat beef over medium-high heat until thoroughly cooked, stirring frequently. Drain. Stir in tomato sauce. Reduce heat to medium; cook 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.

heat beef over medium-high heat until thoroughly cooked

Meanwhile, in medium bowl, combine bell pepper and onion stir-fry, and ricotta cheese; mix well. Spoon 1/2 cup of the Alfredo sauce in bottom of baking dish. Arrange 4 uncooked lasagna noodles over sauce.

Arrange 4 uncooked lasagna noodles over sauce.

Top with half each of the ricotta mixture, spinach, beef mixture and mozzarella cheese. Repeat with remaining noodles, ricotta mixture, spinach and beef mixture. Spoon remaining Alfredo sauce over top; sprinkle with remaining mozzarella cheese.

sprinkle with remaining mozzarella cheese

Spray sheet of foil with cooking spray; place sprayed side down on baking dish and seal tightly. Refrigerate at least 4 hours or overnight. Heat oven to 350°F. Bake covered 45 minutes. Uncover; bake an additional 20 to 25 minutes or until bubbly and thoroughly heated. Let stand 5 to 10 minutes before serving.

Bake covered 45 minutes. Uncover; bake an additional 20 to 25 minutes
How to make a lasagna

Alternative Methods for Making Lasagna

From lasagna-stuffed crescents to roll-ups and even soup, here are a few ideas for lasagna outside the box… err, casserole dish!

How to Make Slow-Cooker Lasagna

No need to pre-cook noodles or prep ahead of time. This Easy Slow-Cooker Lasagna makes dinner a breeze.

What You Need

  • Large skillet
  • 4- to 5-quart slow cooker

Ingredients

  • 1 lb. lean ground beef
  • 1 (26 to 28-oz.) jar tomato pasta sauce
  • 1 (8-oz.) can no-salt-added tomato sauce
  • 1/2 (9-oz.) pkg. (about 8) no-boil lasagna noodles
  • 1 (16-oz.) jar Alfredo pasta sauce
  • 1 12 oz. (3 cups) shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

First, brown the ground beef in a large skillet over medium-high heat until thoroughly cooked, stirring frequently. Drain.

brown the ground beef

Next, spray a 4 or 5-quart slow cooker with nonstick cooking spray. Spread 3/4 cup of the tomato pasta sauce in the bottom of the sprayed slow cooker. Stir the remaining tomato pasta sauce and other can of tomato sauce into the ground beef.

Stir the remaining tomato pasta sauce and other can of tomato sauce into the ground beef.

Layer 3 lasagna noodles over the sauce in the slow cooker, breaking the noodles as necessary. Top with 1/3 of the Alfredo pasta sauce, spreading evenly. Sprinkle with 1 cup of the mozzarella cheese. Top with a 1/3 of the ground beef mixture, spreading evenly. Repeat this layering process twice, using 2 lasagna noodles in the last layer. Sprinkle Parmesan cheese on the top.

Layer 3 lasagna noodles over the sauce in the slow cooker

Cover and cook on the low setting for 3 1/2 to 4 1/2 hours. Cut into wedges to serve.

Cut into wedges to serve.

How to Make Lasagna Pasta Pot Pies

Get your lasagna and side bread all in one simple dish with this easy, kid-friendly recipe.

Pasta Pot Pies

How to Make Lasagna Soup

This speedy soup delivers on all the great flavors of lasagna without any of the fuss. It’s ready in just 35 minutes!

Lasagna Soup

How to Store Leftover Lasagna

Lasagna makes the best leftovers! There’s a reason people bring lasagna to new parents or new homeowners—it’s so easy to store, freeze and reheat in a pinch.

How to store lasagna in the fridge: First cover the cooled casserole dish with foil or plastic wrap. If you don’t have too much lasagna left, you could also transfer it to another airtight container. Lasagna will keep in the refrigerator for up to 3 to 5 days.

How to store leftover lasagna in the freezer: You can freeze individual portions wrapped in plastic wrap. Once the pieces are frozen solid, move them into a large freezer bag so they take up less space and don’t get freezer burn.

How to reheat lasagna: Use the oven. Sure, you can reheat it in the microwave, but it’s just not the same. If you’ve frozen your lasagna, make sure it is thawed overnight in the fridge before you reheat it. Preheat an oven to 425°F and put the lasagna portion(s) into an oven-safe dish if it isn’t already in one. If your lasagna is looking particularly dry, add a tablespoon or two of water or extra marinara to the pan. Cover the dish with foil and bake for 20 to 30 minutes until hot and bubbly. The internal temperature should read 165°F using a meat thermometer.

Are you getting excited for this pasta party? Us too. Here are some more pasta bakes we love.


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