There’s something special about classic Italian dishes. Maybe it’s the vibrant flavors or maybe it’s the sense of comfort they bring to a table. One dish that embodies both of these elements is lasagna – a dish that I can guarantee, will have everyone raving about their grandmothers. In this recipe article, I’ll be sharing Grandma’s Italian Lasagna Recipe – a hearty and classic homemade lasagna recipe that will surely impress your guests.
But why should you try this recipe when there are countless lasagna recipes out there? Well, for starters, let me tell you that grandma knows best. This is why I’m sharing my grandmother’s time-tested and perfected recipe. My Italian grandmother, Ruth, was always known for her delicious lasagna. It was her signature dish that would have family and friends flocking to her dinner table.
This authentic Italian pasta dish may seem daunting to some, but with this recipe, I promise you that it’s easy to make and will taste like it was cooked by an Italian nonna herself. The combination of savory meat sauce, creamy ricotta cheese, and layers upon layers of pasta makes for the ultimate comfort food that everyone loves.
So, if you’re looking for a show-stopping dish that will have everyone coming back for seconds (or thirds), then look no further than Grandma’s Italian Lasagna Recipe. Get ready to indulge in a homemade lasagna that is better than any restaurant version you’ve tasted before!
Why You’ll Love This Recipe
Are you looking for the ultimate comforting and satisfying meal? Look no further than Grandma’s Italian Lasagna recipe. Not only is this classic homemade lasagna bursting with flavor, but it’s also easy to make and perfect for feeding a crowd.
What makes this lasagna recipe extra special is the combination of four different cheeses: parmesan, mozzarella, cottage cheese, and ricotta. These cheeses work together to create layers of gooey, creamy goodness that will have your taste buds singing.
But that’s not all – the beefy and tomato-based sauce is spiced up with oregano, pepper, and garlic to give it a rustic Italian flavor that is simply unbeatable. Plus, with tender pasta layered in-between the meat mixture and cheese blends, each bite delivers a perfect balance of tangy and savory flavors that everyone can enjoy.
But don’t take my word for it; just ask Alex Guarnaschelli who shares her love for this recipe by stating – “Is lasagna better with ricotta or without? In my heart, I know grandma Ruth’s version was better with ricotta, cottage cheese and grated hard boiled eggs.”
So what are you waiting for? Give Grandma’s Italian Lasagna recipe a try and experience a taste of authentic Italian cuisine right at your dinner table. With its rich flavors and cheesy layers, this classic dish will become your go-to comfort food that will leave your guests asking for more.
Here is a list of ingredients you will need to make the best Italian Grandma’s Lasagna recipe:
- 1 lb Ground beef
- 1/2 lb Italian sausage
- 24 oz Tomato sauce
- 16 oz Tomato paste
- 1/4 cup Water
- 2 tsp Minced garlic
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 16 oz Ricotta cheese
- 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
- 1 Egg
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 12 Lasagna noodles
- 4 cups Mozzarella cheese, shredded
- 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
The Recipe How-To
Layer the Meat Sauce and Noodles
- Preheat the oven to 375ºF.
- In a large skillet, cook 1 pound of ground beef until browned. Drain any fat and return the beef to the skillet.
- Add 2 cloves of minced garlic and 1/4 cup of chopped onion to the skillet. Cook for 2 minutes until fragrant and softened.
- Pour in a can of tomato sauce (15 oz.), a can of tomato puree (14 oz.), and a can of diced tomatoes (14 oz). Add 1 teaspoon of oregano, 1/2 teaspoon of salt, and 1/4 teaspoon of black pepper. Stir well to combine.
- Bring the mixture to a simmer, then reduce the heat to low, and let it cook for about 20 minutes.
- Meanwhile, in a large pot of boiling salted water, cook the lasagna noodles according to the package directions until firm-tender (it usually takes around 8-10 minutes).
- After draining the cooked noodles, rinse them under cold running water to prevent sticking.
- In a separate bowl, mix together 1 cup of ricotta cheese, 1 cup of shredded mozzarella cheese, and 1/2 cup of grated Parmesan cheese.
- Spread about one-third of the meat sauce on the bottom of a greased baking dish (approximately 9×13 inches).
- Lay out enough cooked lasagna noodles over the meat sauce to cover it evenly (usually around four or five depending on your preferred thickness).
- Next, spread half of the cheese mixture on top of the noodles.
- Repeat another layer with one-third more meat sauce, another layer with lasagna noodles, and another layer with cheese mixture.
- Finally, arrange one last layer with remaining meat sauce on top and sprinkle with more grated Parmesan or shredded mozzarella cheese as desired.
- Cover lasagna tightly with aluminum foil so that no air can be trapped inside.
- Bake in preheated oven for approximately 25-30 minutes or until bubbly and hot throughout.
This classic homemade lasagna recipe doesn’t require boiling or soaking lasagna sheets beforehand nor using any special technique like some pasta recipes suggest – just mixing all ingredients together! Perfect for beginner cooks who love Italian pasta but are intimidated by authentic Italian ricotta lasagna recipe!
Substitutions and Variations
If you’re looking to change up your Grandma’s Italian Lasagna Recipe or don’t have all the ingredients on hand, there are a few substitutions and variations you can try. Here are some suggestions to help you customize this classic dish to fit your tastes:
– Pasta: If you don’t have lasagna noodles available, you can substitute them with other pasta shapes like rigatoni or penne. Just make sure to follow the cooking instructions of the pasta.
– Meat: Ground beef is the traditional meat used in this recipe, but you can also try using ground pork or a combination of ground beef and Italian sausage for an added depth of flavor.
– Cheese: While there are several cheeses used in this recipe, you can swap out some of them depending on what you have in your fridge. If you don’t have ricotta cheese, cottage cheese is a great substitute with a similar texture. You can also use more parmesan or mozzarella cheese if you prefer.
– Vegetables: If you prefer a meatless lasagna or want to add more vegetables to your dish, try incorporating sautéed zucchini, eggplant, bell peppers, mushrooms or spinach into the dish. These additions will add both nutrients and flavor.
– Spices and Herbs: Feel free to play around with the herbs and spices used in the recipe. Instead of oregano, you can try using basil or parsley. Adding a pinch of red pepper flakes can add some heat or smoked paprika can give the dish a different dimension.
With these simple variations, the possibilities for customizing Grandma’s Italian Lasagna Recipe are endless! Don’t be afraid experiment and find what works best for your palate.
Serving and Pairing
Once your classic homemade lasagna is bubbling out of the oven, you’ll want to serve it immediately. Italian pasta dishes are hearty and filling, so I suggest serving smaller portions with a salad, garlic bread, or some roasted vegetables on the side. The garlic bread complements perfectly with the zesty taste of the marinara sauce, and the veggies provide a refreshing break from the rich layers of beef, cheese and noodles.
If you’re looking for wine to go with your lasagna recipe, a full-bodied red such as Chianti or Barolo will do nicely. Both wines are known for their rustic character, which can hold its own against this meaty dish. If you prefer whites, opt for a crisp Sauvignon Blanc or Pinot Grigio to cut through the richness of the cheese and meat.
Lasagna is an all-time favorite comfort food; it’s perfect for sharing among friends and family at big gatherings or cozy dinners at home. With its authentic Italian flavors and heartiness, this best lasagna recipe from grandma Ruth will take your dinner party to the next level.
Make-Ahead, Storing and Reheating
As an experienced home chef, I know that making your dish ahead of time can eliminate the stress of trying to complete everything right before the party starts. That’s why I’m happy to say that Grandma’s Italian Lasagna Recipe can be made ahead and stored for later use, with minimal prep beforehand.
Preparing this recipe in advance allows time for all the flavors to meld together, making it even more delicious. Additionally, leftovers of this hearty dish taste just as wonderful reheated.
To make-ahead, go through all the steps of the recipe, layering the meat sauce and cheese mixture between the lasagna noodles until you’ve used everything up. Instead of baking right away, put it in the fridge for up to 24 hours.
If you’d like to store any leftovers, transfer them into an airtight container and place them in the fridge for up to 3-4 days. When reheating, preheat your oven to 350°F (175°C), then take out your lasagna from the fridge and let it sit at room temperature for about 30 minutes before putting it back in the oven for 5-10 minutes.
It’s not necessary to re-bake the lasagna; you are simply trying to warm it through. If you’re just reheating a single serving size portion of reheated lasagna in the microwave, place it on a microwave-safe plate and heat covered for about 1-2 minutes on high until warmed thoroughly.
And there you have it! With these simple tips and techniques, you can enjoy all of the flavors of Grandma’s Italian Lasagna Recipe without any last-minute cooking stress while impressing all of your guests with its authentic Italian taste.
Tips for Perfect Results
Cooking lasagna can be a real challenge, but with a few tips and tricks, you can make your grandma’s Italian lasagna recipe like a pro. Here are some pointers that will help you achieve that perfect result every single time.
Firstly, to get the cheese mixture just right, use a combination of cottage cheese, ricotta cheese, and parmesan cheese. There are some variations out there that call for mozzarella, but this combination lends itself best to the classic homemade lasagna recipe. Mix grated parmesan cheese into the ricotta-cottage blend until it is creamy and smooth.
Another key tip when making meat sauce is to not overcrowd the pan. If too much ground beef is added to the pot at once, the meat will steam rather than brown, resulting in flavorless sauce. To avoid this, follow my Italian grandmother’s lead by browning 1/2 pound of ground beef with 1/2 pound of Italian sausage in a heavy-bottomed skillet or Dutch oven before adding onions and minced garlic.
Additionally, make sure you give yourself enough time to assemble the lasagna. The pasta should be cooked until it’s slightly firm because it will continue to cook during baking. Boil 4-6 cups of water per pound of pasta so that it has enough space to move around while cooking. Add salt and a splash of extra-virgin olive oil to infuse the noodles with flavour while cooking.
Finally, layering techniques are crucial to ensure even distribution within each slice of lasagna. Use hard-boiled eggs or provolone on one layer or mix in fresh basil, depending on your guests’ preferences.
By following these simple tips and tricks for your grandma’s Italian lasagna recipe, you will impress everyone at your next dinner party with an authentic Italian pasta dish that shines through with each bite.
Now that you’ve learned how to make Grandma’s Italian lasagna recipe, it’s time to answer some common questions about the dish. It’s understandable to be curious before trying out a new recipe, especially one that’s been passed down through generations of an Italian family. So, in this section, we’ll answer frequently asked questions about this classic homemade lasagna recipe, and hopefully alleviate any concerns you may have about making this delicious dish.
Is lasagna better with ricotta or cottage cheese?
When it comes to the question of whether to use ricotta cheese or cottage cheese in lasagna, there is no one right answer as it is purely a matter of personal preference. Both cheeses can be used in homemade lasagna with great results. If you prefer a lighter texture, cottage cheese may be your choice, while ricotta cheese will lend a thicker and more indulgent texture to your lasagna. Ultimately, the decision comes down to your taste preferences.
Does Italy use ricotta in lasagna?
Italian lasagna is known for its various regional variations. In the southern part of the country, lasagna is typically prepared using dried pasta sheets. These are layered with a decadent meat ragú, as well as creamy ricotta and salty mozzarella cheese.
Should sauce for lasagna be thick or thin?
One thing to keep in mind when making this dish is to ensure that the white sauce has a thick consistency. If the sauce is too watery, it may soak into the layers and affect the texture of the dish.
How many layers of lasagna is best?
For this recipe, you’ll require a total of four layers of noodles. It’s recommended to begin and end with wider layers. In case you have less than 16 noodles, you can always use the extra ones in the top or bottom layers for the best results.
As a food enthusiast and a writer, I cannot help but admire the art in Italian cuisine, especially the authentic Italian grandma’s lasagna recipe. This classic homemade lasagna recipe is perfect for any occasion or dinner party as it is a crowd-pleaser.
From the varying cheese options to the flavorful ground beef and tomato sauce, this dish is nothing short of amazing. Even with the various substitutions and variations that you can make, this recipe is still sure to leave you and your guests wanting more.
So what are you waiting for? Whether you’re an experienced cook or just starting out in the kitchen, this grandma Italian lasagna recipe is one you don’t want to miss out on. With easy-to-follow instructions and simple steps, anyone can make the best lasagna ever. So go ahead and enjoy your delicious homemade lasagna just like grandma used to make!
Grandma’s Italian Lasagna Recipe
- 1 (1 lb) can tomatoes
- 2 (10 1/2 ounce) cans tomato puree
- 1 (8 ounce) can tomato sauce
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 1/4 teaspoon pepper
- 1 1/2 teaspoons oregano or 1 1/2 teaspoons italian seasoning
- 1 teaspoon onion salt
- 1 cup chopped onion
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- 1/4 cup vegetable oil
- 2 lbs ground beef
- 1/2 lb lasagna noodle
- 1 lb cottage cheese or 1 lb ricotta cheese
- 9 slices mozzarella cheese
- 1/2 cup parmesan cheese
- In large skillet combine tomatoes, tomato puree, tomato sauce, 1 t. salt, pepper, oregano, and onion salt. Simmer, uncovered.
- Meanwhile, in second skillet sauté onion and garlic in oil until lightly brown.
- Then add ground beef and rest of salt. Cook until meat loses its red color. Drain.
- Add meat mixture to tomato mixture and simmer, uncovered, at least 2 hours or until thickened.
- Cook lasagna noodles according to package directions. Drain and rinse with cold water.
- Place several spoonfuls of sauce in bottom of 12”x8”x2” baking dish, enough to cover bottom of dish.
- Top with crisscross layers of lasagna noodles, then alternate the cheeses using half of each of the ricotta or cottage cheese. Repeat layers having same amount of ingredients. End with the remaining 3 slices of mozzarella cheese on top.
- Bake at 350* F for 40 to 50 minutes or until bubbly. Remove from oven and let stand 10 to 15 minutes, then cut in squares.
- The tomato sauce mixture is better if cooked a long time. This sauce may be frozen ahead of time, or can be kept in the ice box for a few days. The complete dish may be made ahead of time and frozen.
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Anna is a culinary expert who specializes in grilling delicious BBQ dishes. She also enjoys sharing her recipes and experiences with her foodie community on her blog. She’s the total package for any backyard barbecue!