Cheese. Pasta. Sausage. That’s right, I’m talking about lasagna! I know you might have been thinking I was describing heaven, but this is a close second.
I’m a huge lover of pasta in general, whether that’s pasta in a cheese sauce, pesto, cream sauce, red sauce, garlic sauce… I think you get the picture!
I’ve made a shortcut to lasagna using ravioli, which is super delicious, but I really wanted to make an actual lasagna with the perfect layers of meaty red sauce, gooey cheese, and perfectly cooked lasagna noodles! The desire to make my own lasagna came from a lasagna dinner I had cooked by a close friend of mine! I should also mention he’s like 75% Italian so you know his lasagna recipe was pretty legit!
He helped me bake my own lasagna, but of course, I had to add a couple of twists of my own! His recipe did not add the ground Italian sausage, his had ground beef instead. I know, you probably expected that to be the other way around. However, I prefer ground sausage over beef, because there’s a lot more flavor in the meat itself. A lot of times, Italian sausage has flavors like fennel seed, paprika, Italian seasoning (naturally), and garlic, and onion! With the meat already having a ton of spices in it, it helps for a more flavorful meat sauce, in my opinion! If you prefer to have ground beef, or any of meat of choice, feel free to substitute that in! This lasagna is so delicious, the meat is not going to make or break this dish!
One helpful tip I learned from my friend’s recipe was the criss-cross layering technique of the noodles. One the first layer of lasagna noodles, I placed them going horizontally. For the second layer, I placed then vertically. When it came to the third layer, I placed them horizontally again. My friend wasn’t sure of the exact reasoning behind this, only stating that his dad did it that way, which who am I to mess with tradition!? Although, he did say that he thinks it helps with the structural integrity of the lasagna, which I have to agree with that theory.
2 boxes of ready-to-bake lasagna noodles
2 jars of your favorite spaghetti sauce
2 bags of shredded mozzarella cheese
3/4 cup of parmesan
1 package of ground sausage or beef
1 carton of button mushrooms
1 medium yellow onion
1 and 1/2 teaspoons of oregano
1 teaspoon of ground garlic
2 tablespoons of olive oil
Begin by chopping the onions and mushrooms. Then, pour 2 tablespoons of olive oil into a pan and saute the onions for a couple of minutes. You want them to be slightly golden and begin to shrink in size. Then add in the mushrooms. Cook for another 3 minutes. Add in your sausage and seasonings. I added oregano, garlic powder, salt, and pepper. But you can add other spices like Italian seasoning, dried basil, or even a little hint of nutmeg. After the meat has been fully cooked and browned, add in the two jars of pasta sauce. Fill on jar up with water and then pour that water into the pan as well. You want the extra liquid so the pasta noodles get cooked fully and don’t get crispy in the oven.
Now, we can begin layering the lasagna! I cooked my lasagna in about a 9 by 15 pan, so I got about layers of noodles, however, you might be able to get more based on your pan size. First, add about two to three full ladles of sauce to the bottom of the pan, then place down your noodles. You might have to break a few to get them to fit. Then add another layer of sauce, about a third of the mixture. Top with a 1/4 cup of parmesan and then cover with mozzarella cheese. Add another layer of noodles, but this time, make sure they go in the opposite direction of the noodles you first put down. This helps the lasagna hold it’s shape when you cute slices out! Add another 1/3 of the sauce mixture. Top with 1/4 cup of parmesan cheese and about half a bag of mozzarella. This is a lasagna after all, and the cheese layer is my favorite part! Complete this process one more time, with the noodles going in the opposite direction as the second layer!
Bake in a 375-degree oven for 45 minutes, covered with foil. When the 45 minutes are up, uncover and bake for an additional 15 minutes, or until the cheese is brown and bubbly!
I suggest waiting about 10-15 minutes for the lasagna to set up a bit before slicing, but this step is optional!
Serve with some garlic bread or a glass of wine, or both!
This lasagna is absolutely wonderful! I honestly don’t have anything bad to say about it! I love all the cheesy layers with the meaty sauce! It it a little perfect square of happiness! Plus, the leftovers are even better!