Della’s Luscious Lasagna


Della’s incredibly luscious lasagna is to die for! Jimmie and I were dinner guests of a dear family friend a few weeks ago. We stopped to visit with her on our way back from a Mermaids at Heart Gifts upcycle event in Land O’ Lakes. It had been a cold, drizzly, miserable day and Della threw open her door to us, immediately warming our toes and hearts. We enjoyed great conversations while nibbling on yummy appetizers as the delicious smell of her fabulous lasagna baked in the oven. Not even joking here, it was the best lasagna I’ve ever tasted.

Della's Luscious Lasagna - Taken up a magnificent notch from The Pioneer Woman's recipe | Culinary Craftiness

In the Woolard house, homemade lasagna has become the traditional meal on Christmas Eve. Christmas day is always Holiday Ham, the best Cheesy Hashbrown Potato Casserole, and all the crazy good sides as supporting characters. I wanted to share this recipe with you now so you can do the same if the idea strikes your fancy.

This recipe is based on Ree Drummond’s, but with an incredibly savory twist. Sautéd mushrooms! And to achieve the same exact umami flavor I experienced, you’ll have to use the same exact ingredients Della used. In some dishes, the brands you use do make a difference!

But first I must share with you pics of two of the sweetest doggies on planet Earth. Cody is a French Bulldog and loves to snuggle!

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Dutch was not at all interested in having his picture taken! LOL He wanted to snuggle with his momma, too. I love dogs and just want to kiss their adorable noses!

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Della’s Luscious Lasagna

Della's Luscious Lasagna - Taken up a magnificent notch from The Pioneer Woman's recipe | Culinary Craftiness

The sausage is the hot variety of bulk breakfast sausage found in the meat case of your local grocery store. Della used Publix brand. The mozzarella cheese has to be Sargentos sliced. And the canned tomatoes are Tuttorosso from Red Gold. They’re Indiana grown where the best tomatoes in the whole wide world are found. There’s something magical about the soil in that Midwest state. I often tell Jimmie we shall one day have three tri-axle loads of Indiana dirt brought down to our Florida backyard. 😁

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To make this incredible lasagna with less work, Della uses Barilla oven-ready noodles. I love them because they help to make a nice, firm lasagna that lifts out of the pan in a gorgeous serving. Sometimes noodles that are boiled can make for a sloppy lasagna that must be spooned out. Still tastes good, but not so pretty.

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Della's Luscious Lasagna | Culinary Craftiness

Della’s Luscious Lasagna

Della Nugent | Culinary Craftiness
Prep Time 1 hr
Cook Time 1 hr
Total Time 2 hrs
Course Main Course
Cuisine Italian
Servings 12


  • 1.5 lbs ground beef
  • 1 lb Publix bulk hot breakfast sausage
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 14.5 oz Tuttorosso Italian plum tomatoes
  • 2 6 oz tomato paste
  • 2 tbsp dried parsley
  • 2 tbsp dried basil
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 8 oz sliced mushrooms, sauté in butter
  • 3 cups 4% milkfat cottage cheese
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese (not shredded)
  • 2 tbsp dried parsley
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 lb Sargentos sliced mozzarella cheese
  • 1 box Barilla oven-ready lasagna noodles


  • In a large skillet, brown the hamburger, sausage, and garlic.. Drain off the fat. Mix in the tomatoes with their juice, tomato paste, 1/2 teaspoon salt and some pepper. Simmer uncovered for 45 minutes, stirring occasionally. 
  • In another small skillet, sauté the sliced mushrooms in a 3-4 tbsp. butter until fork tender.
  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. 
  • Add half the herbs to the meat mixture. In a bowl, combine the other half of the herbs with the cottage cheese, a 1/2 cup of the Parmesan, and the eggs.
  • In a 9×13 baking dish or pan, cover the bottom with a dab of the meat mixture then cover with a single layer of the lasagna sheets. You might have to carefully break one to get pieces to fit. Spread half the cottage cheese mixture over the noodles. Top with half the mozzarella slices. Spoon half the meat mixture on top of the mozzarella, top with half the mushrooms. Dollop with half the meat mixture and carefully spread. Repeat beginning with a layer of noodles, then cottage cheese mixture, the rest of the mozzarella slices, the mushrooms, and ending with the rest of the meat mixture.
  • Sprinkle the remaining Parmesan cheese on the top and dash on a little more of the parsley and basil. Bake until the lasagna is bubbly, 35 to 45 minutes. Allow to stand 10-15 minutes before cutting into squares.
Keyword Casserole, Entree, ground beef, Italian, Main Dish, Recipe, Sausage

Furthermore, add your favorite salad and some easy toasted garlic bread on the side. Wow your guests like Della wowed us!

Happy eating!

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About Melissa

Melissa is a wife, mother, family cook, and romance novelist. The very first thing she learned in the kitchen was how to scramble eggs in an old cast iron skillet at the age of five. Her great-grandmother put her on a step-stool at the stove and thus began her passion for whipping up great tasting foods.

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