This is the best lasagna recipe in the humble opinion of my household. As with every recipe that we keep recurring in our dinner menu, we have tried to perfect it over time. I have different cheeses and I have finally landed on my preferred flavors. We make this lasagna recipe with freshly grated parmesan, fresh mozzarella instead of shredded, and ricotta.
What makes this the best lasagna recipe?
I think a delicious lasagna is a combination of the following guidelines:
- A good brand of pasta noodles. If you REALLY want to go all out, try making your own. I've heard the flavor is unbelievable.
- Whisking egg, fresh Italian parsley, and freshly grated parmesan into the ricotta to make it creamy.
- Allowing your sauce to soak in the fridge overnight.
- Top your dish with freshly grated mozzarella from a fresh ball instead of part-skim shredded.
This lasagna recipe looks intimidating, but the key is to make your sauce the day or two days before. It takes me about 30 minutes to make the sauce, then I place it in the fridge until I am ready to assemble my dish. Once you are ready to make your pan of lasagna, it just takes another 30 minutes to assemble. Allowing the sauce to soak is the biggest time-consuming part of lasagna for me. However, once it's in the fridge, it works on its own.
The best thing about this recipe, and probably any lasagna, is that you can make the entire dish ahead of time. You make the sauce, assemble the dish, and place it in the fridge for up to 1 to 2 days. Once you are ready to bake and serve it, you place it in the oven and it's ready to serve once it's baked.
We pair our lasagna with a loaf of french bread and mixed green salad with this lemon vinaigrette recipe by Love and Lemons.
- 1 lb of ground turkey meat
- 1 small onion, diced
- 4 large garlic cloves freshly minced
- (2) 14.5 oz cans of plain tomato sauce
- (1) 6 oz can of tomato paste
- 3/4 cup of water
- 1 tablespoon of fresh Italian parsley, chopped
- 1 tablespoon of fresh basil, chopped
- 2 eggs
- (1) 16 oz whole milk ricotta cheese
- 1 cup freshly grated Parmesan
- 1 cup fresh mozzarella, patted dry and grated
- 1 box Lasagna noodles
- Kosher salt + pepper to taste
- Olive oil
- In a crockpot or large pot, add your two cans of tomato sauce on low.
- Add the tomato paste along with 3/4 cup of water to the pot.
- Add the chopped herbs and stir to combine. Let sit in the heat while the pot warms. If using a crockpot, you can allow it to sit on low. If you are using a large pot on the stove, bring the mixture to a simmer then turn it to a low heat setting.
- In a pan over the stove, add 1 tablespoon of olive oil along with a dash of kosher salt and freshly grated pepper. You can add this to your preferred taste. I usually do about a teaspoon of salt and pepper.
- Once the pan is hot, but not smoking, add the garlic and let it cook until fragrant about 1 minute being careful not to burn.
- Add the onions and allow them to cook an additional minute with the garlic.
- Add the turkey meat and stir to combine the ingredients.
- Cook until the meat is no longer pink and use a wooden spoon to chop the meat into small pieces.
- Remove from the heat and pour into your tomato saucepot. I don't drain my turkey because I typically don't have a lot of excess grease. If you do, then I recommend draining it before adding it to the sauce.
- Stir the mixture up and allow it to cook on low for several hours. I typically make my sauce the day before and throw the lasagna together the next day. It makes it an easier process with more preparation ahead of time and less to do the day of. If you are using a crockpot, let the mixture sit for 4-6 hours. If you are using a pot on the stove, let it sit for 3-4 hours on low. The longer the sauce sits the better, even in the fridge overnight the turkey meat will absorb the sauce.
- Meanwhile, use a mixing bowl to mix 1/3 cup of the Parmesan cheese, 1 tablespoon of fresh parsley, and the container of ricotta cheese.
- Add each of your eggs 1 at a time, whisking in between.
- Set the ricotta mixture into the fridge until you are ready to assemble your lasagna pan.
- When you are ready to make your lasagna pan, preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
- Cook the noodles according to the box direction. I do not use oven-ready as I don't prefer the taste. I have tried it with this recipe and it changed the texture for me. I don't make the entire box, I make about 8 noodles with 1-2 extra in case one falls apart in the boiling process.
- Once the noodles are done, arrange them in a single layer in the bottom of a rectangular oven-safe dish. My dish is a 9x13 ceramic dish. The one in the photos is a smaller dish that I used for a small batch that I made.
- Scoop 1 cup of your sauce onto the layer of noodles and spoon around to cover the noodles.
- Add 1/3-1/2 of your ricotta mixture on top of the sauce. The exact amount will depend on how many layers you are making. For 2 layers in a smaller pan, I do 1/2 of the ricotta mixture. When I use my larger 9x13 pan I typically make 3 layers and use 1/3 of the ricotta mixture per layer.
- Spoon the ricotta around to cover the sauce.
- Add a few sprinkles of Parmesan cheese over the ricotta for extra flavor between the layers if desired.
- Repeat the layering process until you have all of your desired layers to fill your pan.
- Top your last layer with your freshly grated mozzarella. It's important that you pat the mozzarella dry before adding it to the pan to remove excess liquid from the cheese.
- If you have sauce leftover, you can use it for spaghetti or your choice of pasta later in the week.
- Place your pan in the oven for 35-45 minutes or until the top layer of cheese has turned golden brown.
- Once the lasagna is done, carefully remove it from the oven and let it cool for 30 minutes. This is a great time to serve salad or a light appetizer to compliment the dish.