Hearty Meat Lasagna Recipe

a photo of a serving of layered hearty meat lasagna on a white plate topped with melted cheese and chopped parsley


We have been long overdue for an update to this hearty meat lasagna recipe! I have been working on making it the BEST classic lasagna recipe ever, and this is finally it!

We layer this lasagna with our authentic bolognese meat sauce, a creamy bechamel sauce and 2 types of cheese all tucked between layers of lasagna noodles. You’re absolutely going to love this easy lasagna recipe!

It was 2009 when I first posted this recipe…2009…15 years! SO much has changed since then…we’ve expanded our family. We’ve moved (three times). We’ve progressed from toddlers and tantrums to teenagers and still tantrums 🤪. It seems natural that this lasagna recipe should change a little too. It’s now better and bolder and everything a homemade lasagna should be.

a photo of a serving of homemade meat lasagna being removed from a whole pan of lasagna

Ingredients for Hearty Meat Lasagna

I’m going to divide up the ingredients list between the three different parts of this recipe – the meat sauce, the bechamel sauce and the items needed to assemble the lasagna. Here is what you will need:

Meat Bolognese Sauce

  • Butter and Olive Oil
  • Vegetables: Carrots, Celery, Red Onion, Garlic
  • Proteins: Ground Beef and Italian Sausage
  • Tomatoes: Roasted Tomatoes, Tomato Sauce, Fire Roasted Tomatoes (canned)
  • Milk and Heavy Cream
  • Cooking Wine
  • Lemon Zest and Juice
  • Seasonings: Nutmeg, Bay Leaves, Salt and Pepper
a photo of all the ingredients for homemade lasagna, lasagna noodles, meaty tomato sauce, a bowl of mozzarella, bechamel sauce and parmesan cheese

Bechamel Sauce

  • Butter
  • Flour
  • Whole Milk
  • Nutmeg
  • Kosher Salt
  • Pepper

Lasagna Ingredients

  • Oven Ready Lasagna Noodles
  • Fresh Parmesan
  • Mozzarella Cheese

Don’t be alarmed! You did not read ricotta cheese in that ingredients list. We actually found that we preferred the lasagna without it! Keep scrolling to the end of the post for the measurements for each ingredient.

a photo of a rectangular baking dish full of baked homemade lasagna

How to Make Homemade Meat Lasagna

To Make the Meat Sauce

  1. Prepare the bolognese sauce as instructed in that post and set aside.
a photo of a large dutch oven full of meaty tomato bolognese sauce

For the Bechamel Sauce

  1. Melt the butter in a saucepan over medium heat.
  2. Sprinkle in the flour continuously whisking it in until a paste forms and it bubbles a little.
  3. Add in the milk slowing still whisking constantly. Bring to a boil and then reduce the heat and let the sauce simmer until it thickens.
  4. Whisk in the salt, pepper and nutmeg.
a photo of a lasagna being assembled in a baking dish with layers of noodles, meat sauce and a creamy bechamel sauce drizzled on top

For the Lasagna

  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
  2. Prepare the parmesan by pulsing it in a food processor or blender.
  3. Now we will starting assembling the lasagna. Start by pouring a layer of bolognese sauce in a rectangular baking dish. Spread it around so it’s an even layer.
  4. Add a layer of noodles, then add another layer of meat sauce.
  5. Pour some of the bechamel sauce over the top and spread it evenly over the top.
  6. Sprinkle with a layer of parmesan cheese.
  7. Repeat these layers 4 times. When you reach the top layer, add the meat sauce, bechamel then top with all the mozzarella cheese.
  8. Top the baking dish with a sheet of foil that has been sprayed with cooking spray.
  9. Bake for 25 minutes, then remove the foil and bake for another 25 minutes.
  10. Sprinkle with the last of the parmesan cheese and some chopped fresh parsley (optional), then let the lasagna rest before cutting and serving.

These instructions in full detail can be found in the recipe card at the end of this post. You can also print or save the recipe there.

a photo of lasagna being assembled in a baking dish with layers of meat sauce, noodles, and cheese

Can I Use Regular Lasagna Noodles?

Yes, you can definitely use regular lasagna noodles if you have the time. The no boil noodles are so easy to use, however they will absorb a bit more of the sauce so make sure you add a little more if you’re using those noodles. 

To make regular lasagna pasta, bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Cook lasagna noodles in boiling water for 8 to 10 minutes. Drain noodles, and rinse with cold water to they don’t stick together and keep cooking. Then they are ready to start assembling.

a photo of a baking dish of baked meat lasagna with a corner serving cut out

What to Serve with Homemade Lasagna

I consider it a crime to eat lasagna without a really good garlic bread, but if that doesn’t do it for you, I would go with one of the following…

a photo of a serving of homemade meat lasagna sitting in a baking dish

Can Lasagna Be Made Ahead of Time?

The entire lasagna can be assembled 1 day in advance. Just keep it in the refrigerator until baking. You will probably need to add a few minutes to the baking time since you’ll be baking it from cold.

If you want to spread out the prep, the bolognese can be made up to 4 days in advance or made and frozen. The bechamel can be made up to 3 days in advance or frozen.

a photo of a serving of meaty lasagna being removed from the corner of a baking dish

How Long Will Lasagna Keep?

Lasagna leftovers will keep for 3-5 days in the refrigerator. To store left over lasagna, cover tightly with foil or place in an airtight container.

Lasagna also freezes quite well. Let it cool completely then wrap it in plastic wrap followed by aluminum foil. It can be frozen as a whole lasagna or cut into individual pieces. It will keep in the freezer for up to 3 months.

Lasagna is best reheated in the oven. Remove the plastic wrap and cover the top with foil and reheat in the oven at 350 degrees for 20-30 minutes or until heated through. Single servings can be reheated in the microwave.

Can You Freeze Lasagna Before Baking?

You can prepare and freeze lasagna to be used at a later time.

Assemble the lasagna in a freezer safe container and freeze for up to 3 months.

a photo of a baked meaty lasagna with the corner cut into

It might have been 15 years in the making, but we have nailed the perfect hearty meat lasagna recipe! The meat sauce is bold in flavor and the cheeses are perfection, but it’s that bechamel sauce is totally does it for me. You are going to love this comforting lasagna recipe!

a photo of the corner of a baking dish full of baked meat lasagna

More Comforting Italian Pasta Recipes:

Servings: 8

Prep Time: 30 minutes

Cook Time: 55 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour 25 minutes

Description

We have been long overdue for an update to this hearty meat lasagna recipe! I have been working on making it the BEST classic lasagna recipe ever, and this is finally it!

Prevent your screen from going dark

For the Bechamel Sauce

  • Melt the butter in a saucepan over medium heat.

    4 Tablespoons Butter

  • Sprinkle the flour in while whisking and cook, stirring constantly, until the flour paste cooks and bubbles a bit to cook out the flour taste.

    4 Tablespoons Flour

  • Slowly add in the milk while whisking continuously. Bring this mixture to a boil and then turn to a steady simmer on medium low to allow the sauce to thicken. Add in the salt, pepper and nutmeg. Reduce to low heat, and cook, stirring, 2–3 minutes more. Remove from the heat and set aside.

    2 1/2 Cups Whole Milk, 1 Teaspoon Kosher Salt, 1/4 Teaspoon Pepper, 1/4 Teaspoon Nutmeg

For the Lasagna

  • Heat oven to 375 degrees F.

  • Pulse the parmesan in a blender or food processor until you have 1 1/2 cups. Set aside 1/4 cup for the topping.

    1 1/2 Cups Fresh Parmesan

  • Cover the bottom of a 9×13 with 1 cup of the meat sauce (avoiding large chunks of meat).

  • Place 3 noodles on the bottom of the dish, two vertical and one horizontal at the end usually works best.

    1 Box Oven Ready Lasagna Noodles

  • Spoon 1 1/4 cups of the meat sauce evenly over the noodles followed by 1/4 of the bechamel sauce. Use an angled cake knife or spoon to spread the two sauces evenly over the pasta.

  • Top with a heaping 1/3 cup fresh parmesan and repeat the layers 4 times.

  • On the top layer, add the sauce, bechamel, smooth everything out and add the mozzarella.

    2 1/2 Cups Mozzarella Cheese

  • Spray foil with nonstick spray and place over lasagna.

  • Bake 25 min then remove the foil and continue to bake until the cheese is bubbly and spotty brown, about 25 min.

  • Sprinkle with leftover parmesan cheese, allow to rest 10-15 min and serve!

  • Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Cook lasagna noodles in boiling water for 8 to 10 minutes. Drain noodles, and rinse with cold water to they don’t stick together and keep cooking.
  • The bolognese can be made up to 4 days in advance or made and frozen.
  • The bechamel can be made up to 3 days in advance or frozen.
  • The entire lasagna can be assembled 1 day in advance. 
  • The no boil noodles are so easy to use, however they will absorb a bit more of the sauce so make sure you add a little more if you’re using those noodles. 

Serving: 1gCalories: 744kcalCarbohydrates: 45gProtein: 43gFat: 45gSaturated Fat: 20gCholesterol: 148mgSodium: 970mgPotassium: 718mgFiber: 4gSugar: 8gVitamin A: 2573IUVitamin C: 29mgCalcium: 550mgIron: 3mg

Author: Sweet Basil

Course: 100 + BEST Easy Beef Recipes for Dinner

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