The secret to the most delicious classic lasagna is to start with really, really good Homemade Marinara Sauce that’s been slow simmered until it’s rich and thick, and filling your whole house with the most intoxicating aroma. Stir in plenty of Italian sausage and then layer it up with sheets of pasta and lots and lots of cheese.
- 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 1 lb ground Italian sausage, spicy or mild or a combination of both
- 5 1/2 cups perfect homemade marinara sauce
- 2 cups whole milk ricotta cheese
- 2 1/2 cups grated parmesan cheese, divided
- 1 large egg
- 1 tbsp Italian seasoning
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
- 12 homemade or oven ready lasagna noodles (*see note)
- 16 oz (4 cups) shredded mozzarella cheese
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
- Heat olive oil in a large skillet set over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add the sausage and cook until no pink remains, using the spoon to break the sausage up into small pieces as it cooks. Dump the sausage into the marinara sauce, stir, and set aside.
- Add the ricotta, 1 & 1/2 cups grated parmesan, egg, Italian seasoning, salt and pepper to a bowl and stir to combine.
- Ladle about 1/4 cup of the marinara sauce into a 9 x 13 rectangular baking dish and spread it out so it covers the entire bottom of the dish. Lay 4 lasagna noodles over the sauce, across the bottom of the pan. They will overlap a bit. Spread 1/3 of the ricotta mixture over the noodles into an even layer. Ladle 1 & 3/4 cups of marinara sauce and sausage over the ricotta mixture, spreading it out into an even layer. Top the sauce with 1 cup grated mozzarella.
- Repeat this layering process two more times: 4 noodles, 1/3 of the ricotta mixture, 1 & 3/4 cup marinara sauce, and 1 cup mozzarella cheese. With each layer, gently press the noodles down with your hands or the back of a spatula to compact each layer into the pan.
- Sprinkle the remaining 1 cup of grated parmesan over the final layer of mozzarella cheese.
- Spray a sheet of aluminum foil with non-stick baking spray and loosely cover the pan of lasagna. Set the pan on a baking sheet (to catch any drips) and bake for 35 minutes (*see note). Remove the foil and bake for another 20-30 minutes, until the cheese on the top is completely melted and just beginning to brown and the lasagna is bubbly around the edges.
- Remove the lasagna from the oven and let rest for 15 minutes before serving. Letting it rest is important – it will be “soupy” and difficult to serve straight from the oven.
- If you’re using traditional lasagna noodles, instead of homemade fresh pasta or the oven-ready variety, be sure to toss the cooked noodles with a bit of olive oil so they don’t stick together. Also, be super careful to not overcook them. You want them to be super al dente – tender, but not cooked through. Typically, this means cooking them for only about two minutes.
- The cook time in this recipe is based on using cold marinara sauce. If you’re using hot marinara sauce to assemble your lasagna, this will probably shorten the baking time by 10 – 15 minutes.
- Category: Pasta
- Cuisine: Italian
Keywords: lasagna, Italian food, casserole, Italian sausage lasagna, cheese lasagna, the best lasagna, homemade marinara sauce