Classic Lasagna

Sometimes I don’t want to try something new. Sometimes I want to make a classic comfort food that requires no recipe. For me, lasagna is one of those items. It’s very easy to make and can be as simple or as elaborate as you want. Typically I keep it pretty simple with the basics: noodles, sauce, cheese and meat… plus some added spices. Of course even just last year I never bothered to spice it up. Now I play around with the spices and even the level of heat each time I make it. I don’t think spices make or break lasagna at all so if you don’t have everything, skip it. You really can’t mess up lasagna.

If you’re up for a non-traditional lasagna in both shape and ingredients check out this lasagna pie. It was not only fun to make, because of it’s shape but the ingredients made it different from the norm as well. I promise, it smelled amazing as any lasagna does and had a nice combination of flavors.

But… if you want a basic lasagna you may want to give this recipe a try. It’s pretty quick, taking maybe a little over an hour start to finish including bake time. It doesn’t require any super oddball ingredients. You can spice it up or not. So even though I opted to add red pepper flakes for some added heat and flavor, that can very easily be left out if you are not a fan of spice. Even omitting the red pepper flakes would give you a wonderfully flavored dish. Another great thing about lasagna, this or any variety, it’s great for a weeks worth of lunches or perfect for a gathering. Maybe you have a potluck coming up this month and are wondering what to bring, this would be an easy item to whip up and take along.

Classic Lasagna

Classic beef and cheese lasagna. A family classic and a comforting must make meal!
Prep Time25 mins
Cook Time45 mins
Total Time1 hr 10 mins
Course: Main Course
Servings: 10

Ingredients

  • 1 - 1 1/2 lbs ground beef
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp dried oregano
  • 1/4 tsp dried basil
  • 1/4 - 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes optional
  • 1 pkg lasagna noodles
  • 8 oz jar tomato sauce
  • 15 oz ricotta cheese
  • 2 C mozzarella cheese shredded

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 350°F. Fill a large stockpot with water, cover and begin heating. In a large skillet, cook ground beef. When it appears half done, drain any fat. Sprinkle meat with pepper, salt, oregano, basil and the optional red pepper flakes. Toss and stir until fully cooked. Transfer beef to a medium bowl. Pour roughly a third of the tomato sauce into the bowl, stir to coat well. Set aside.
  • Cook pasta according to package directions. When your noodles are done, pour into a strainer or carefully pour hot water out and refill slowly with warm water. Repeat this step a few times to cool down the pasta and pan. Keep pasta just barely covered with water so the noodles don't stick together.
  • Lightly coat a large casserole dish with olive oil.
  • Lightly coat the bottom of the pan with pasta sauce of your choice.
  • Cover the sauce with noodles, enough to make one layer. Trim pieces as needed.
  • Lightly spoon some sauce over noodles and spread evenly. Add roughly a quarter of your meat over the noodles and sauce.
  • Making large dollops, drop a total of half of the ricotta cheese over your current layer. Then press down gently with the spoon to spread it out a bit.
  • Cover with more noodles. Spoon sauce over noodles and top off with another 1/4 of the meat. Sprinkle with a third of the cheese. Repeat layers two more times, using up all of the meat and ricotta while reserving a spoonful or two of sauce and a third of the shredded mozzarella. After you have made four layers, top off with an additional layer of noodles. Spoon remaining sauce and spread it out gently. Sprinkle with remaining cheese.
  • Bake for 40-45 minutes or until cheese is fully melted and turning lightly golden in spots.
  • Let sit for at least 5 minutes before slicing into and serving. Store covered in the fridge for up to one week or freeze wrapped well and labeled.

Notes

An original recipe from Baked by Rachel
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