Who doesn’t love a rich, meaty and cheesy lasagna? I suppose there are some out there who might not, but maybe those people tasted a boring, blah, bland lasagna and didn’t understand what all the fuss was about. I’ve had some pretty ho-hum lasagnas over the years – some of them at pretty pricey restaurants. One of the biggest problems, as I see it, is insuring every layer is properly seasoned. Add to that, using all the right ingredients (regardless of brand name) makes this classic lasagna deliciously rich and savory. Perfect as a make ahead for a regular weeknight supper or a special dinner for company. 😍
The recent invention of no-boil lasagna noodles took half the work out of making a classic lasagna. I can’t tell you how many times I made a lasagna and everything slipped and slid off the pre-boiled noodles on my plate. It wasn’t a pretty square of lovely lasagna layers. Just a pile of ingredients that tasted good, but didn’t look appealing at all. The new noodles absorb the liquid in the other ingredients while baking and the dish sets up perfectly every time. Use your favorite jarred pasta sauce to speed up prep time. There are some really good ones from which to choose these days. My favorite is Mid’s with original Old World Style Ragu a close second.
Let’s get to it!
Easy Classic Lasagna
1 lb. ground beef, browned and drained
1 jar pasta sauce
16 oz. ricotta cheese (or 8 oz.)
16 oz. cottage cheese
4 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
Salt & pepper
1 to 1-1/2 packages no-boil pasta noodles, depending on size of baking dish
Aluminum foil + spray oil
Preheat oven to 375°F.
Add pasta sauce to browned/drained ground beef. Set aside. In a medium-sized bowl, mix ricotta cheese, cottage cheese, and eggs with about a 1/2 cup of Parmesan cheese.
Start with a small amount of meat mixture on the bottom of baking dish. Add a layer of noodles to cover sauce. Carefully break noodles to fit the pan, if necessary. Spread 1/3 of meat sauce over noodles, then spread 1/3 the ricotta mixture over the meat sauce. Sprinkle evenly with salt and pepper. Sprinkle evenly with Parmesan cheese, then sprinkle about 1 cup of mozzarella over all. Begin again with another layer of noodles, meat sauce, ricotta cheese mixture, salt, pepper, Parmesan, and mozzarella. Add one last layer finishing the top with the last two cups of mozzarella cheese.
Pull out a length of foil large enough to completely cover the baking dish. Spray the shiny side with oil then cover the dish tightly with shiny side down. Try not to let the foil rest on the cheese. Bake in preheated oven for 30 minutes.
Carefully remove foil, using a butter knife to remove any cheese from the foil and put it back on the lasagna. Continue baking for another 15 minutes, or until cheese is bubbly and lightly browned.
Remove from oven and let cool for 10 minutes. Cut into squares and serve with garlic bread and a side salad.