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Lasagna Recipe

by on January 22, 2013 · 34 comments

Cheesy Sausage and Beef Lasagna

Lasagna’s been on our mind lately. It seems the moment the weather turns chilly, we dive into casseroles, soups and stews. It’s like a switch. We’ve got lots of favorite lasagna recipes stashed away- it’s such a fun and versatile dish. You can throw just about anything between noodles, top with cheese then bake and make us happy.

In fact, we went so wild for lasagna, we created it’s very own Pinterest board called Lasagna Love. (Beware. It will make you hungry!)

This time, though, we craved a hearty, meaty lasagna recipe. It’s filled with Italian sausage, lean ground beef, cheese and noodles. It’s completely over-the-top and we love it. We’ll have to share a lighter recipe for lasagna soon – maybe with something green.

Lasagna Recipe: Do You Use Homemade or Store-bought Sauce?

Here’s the thing. We like store-bought pasta sauces. In fact, we’ve even preferred them at times. That’s why we 100% believe it is perfectly fine to use your favorite jarred sauce to make lasagna. In fact, that’s what we usually do ourselves. It cuts time and tastes great.

With that said, we also really love dedicating a sleepy Sunday afternoon to homemade sauce. You can relax, read, watch a movie or whatever else while the sauce slowly bubbles away on the stove.

Cheesy Sausage and Beef Lasagna

Below, we’ve shared two versions of our recipe. We love them both. The first is for a meaty tomato sauce from scratch, the second takes a well deserved shortcut  and uses jarred marinara sauce. Choose either one or make both. It’s completely up to you.

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Cheesy Sausage and Beef Lasagna Recipe
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
This is a hearty, meaty lasagna recipe. You have two choices here. If you’re up for it, you can make your own sauce, which takes about 2 hours. Or, to save time, you can substitute your favorite store-bought sauce. We have done both. It’s all up to you. Below in the recipe, you will see our method for homemade sauce as well as a method for store-bought.


Making the sauce requires some hands-on time. This is because we cook the sausage, beef and vegetables separately. We cook the sausage first then then transfer to a clean bowl. Next, the beef is browned and finally we cook some onion and carrot. Even though we cook each part separately, we do it all in the same pot. So, lots of flavor is left in the bottom of the pot, which helps add flavor to our sauce.


One more note, here. Our homemade sauce will make more than what’s needed for one lasagna. Since it takes so long to make the sauce, we always make sure we have enough for a second lasagna or to use, as is, over pasta for another night. You can save the extra sauce in the refrigerator up to 5 days or in the freezer up to 3 months.
Created By:
Yield: 8
You Will Need
FOR Homemade Meat Sauce
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 pound sweet Italian sausage
  • 1 pound lean ground beef
  • 1 cup (150 grams) finely diced onion
  • 1/2 cup (75 grams) finely diced carrot
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 (28-ounce) cans crushed tomatoes
  • 1/3 cup (75 grams) tomato paste
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 2 teaspoons dried basil
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons sugar (depending on taste)
  • 1 to 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
FOR Meat Sauce Using Jarred Marinara Sauce (store-bought)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 pound sweet Italian sausage
  • 1 pound lean ground beef
  • 1 cup (150 grams) finely diced onion
  • 1/2 cup (75 grams) finely diced carrot
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 (24-ounce) jars store-bought marinara sauce
FOR Assembling Lasagna
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 12 unbroken lasagna noodles
  • 16 ounces ricotta cheese (or cottage cheese)
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 pound mozzarella cheese, grated
Directions
FOR the Meat Tomato Sauce
  1. If you have purchased Italian sausages with casings, you will need to remove the casings. To do so, take a knife and cut down the length of the sausage. The casing should peel away easily. If you purchased sausage meat without casings, you can continue to the next step.Lasagna Step 1
  2. Heat a heavy 4 to 5-quart pot over medium heat. Add olive oil then add the sausage meat and cook, stirring occasionally to break up the meat, until browned. About 8 minutes. Transfer to a clean bowl. Next, add the beef with a 1/2 teaspoon of salt and cook, stirring occasionally, until browned. About 8 minutes. Transfer to the bowl with sausage.
  3. Add onion, carrots and a 1/4 teaspoon of salt to the pot and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened and starting to brown. About 8 minutes.
  4. Now, add garlic, basil and oregano to onions and carrot then cook about 1 minute until garlic becomes fragrant. Next, add crushed tomatoes and use a wooden spoon to scrape up the brown bits that are stuck to the pot. Add sausage and beef into sauce and stir.
  5. Add tomato paste, water, 1 tablespoon of the sugar and a 1/2 teaspoon of salt. Bring to a simmer, stir then taste for seasoning. Depending on how acidic your tomatoes are, you may need a little more sugar. You also want to taste for salt. It’s best to add the salt now rather than later, so taste and season as needed.
  6. Gently simmer sauce, uncovered for 1 1/2 hours. (Keep the sauce at a very low simmer).Lasagna Step 2
  7. Skim off any fat floating on top and adjust the seasoning as necessary. Our homemade sauce can be prepared in advance and refrigerated for up to 5 days, or frozen for up to 3 months. This recipe yields about 9 cups of sauce. You will need 4 to 5 cups of sauce for the lasagna. So, either save the sauce for a second lasagna or use to top pasta another day.
HOW to Make Meat Sauce with Jarred Marinara
  1. Cook sausage, beef, onions and carrots as shared above. Add garlic then cook about 1 minute until garlic becomes fragrant. Next, add jarred marinara sauce and use a wooden spoon to scrape up the brown bits that are stuck to the pot. Then, add sausage and beef back to the pan with onions and carrots. Simmer the sauce 20 to 30 minutes until carrots are tender. Skim off any fat floating on top and adjust the seasoning as necessary.
FOR Assembling the Lasagna
  1. Heat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C).
  2. Bring a large pot of salted water with 1 tablespoon of olive oil to a boil. Add lasagna noodles to the boiling water. Return to a boil, stirring frequently. Cook the pasta, according to package directions, this is usually about 10 minutes. Drain.
  3. In the meantime, stir ricotta (or cottage cheese) with Parmigiano-Reggiano and the beaten egg.
  4. To assemble the lasagna, ladle about 3/4 cup of the meat sauce into the bottom of a 13-inch by 9-inch baking dish. Arrange noodles lengthwise and side by side and cover the bottom. (If the noodles are short on one end, you may need to cut an extra noodle and place into dish to cover where the other noodles have not).
  5. Next, spread about half of the ricotta cheese (or cottage cheese ) mixture over the noodles. Sprinkle with a third of the shredded mozzarella cheese then top with about 1 1/4 cups of meat sauce. Add another layer of noodles and repeat. Add a third layer of noodles then top with remaining sauce and a final layer of shredded mozzarella cheese.Lasagna Step 3
  6. Cover loosely with aluminum foil and bake 30 minutes, uncover then bake 20 minutes until cheese is crusty around the edges. Let rest at least 15 minutes.
  7. If making ahead, you can cover and refrigerate, unbaked up to 2 days. When you cover, use parchment or wax paper between the lasagna and aluminum foil. Aluminum foil can react with the tomatoes.
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About the Author

Adam

I'm Adam Gallagher and alongside my wife, Joanne, I photograph and share favorite recipes from our kitchen. Sharing our recipes began as a hobby, turned into a dream and now has become our business. I just love that.

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34 Comments

1 Bev @ Bev Cooks January 23, 2013 at 11:28 am

WOOOOOOOW. omg.

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2 Sharon January 23, 2013 at 6:49 pm

I’m not usually a make ahead person so I was wondering if this whole thing would freeze well? It looks fantastic.

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3 Joanne January 24, 2013 at 11:48 am

Hi Sharon, Yes. We usually freeze after baking the lasagna, but you could freeze before baking (after assembly). To freeze lasagna, if you have baked it, set it aside for about an hour to cool. Then, cover with a piece of parchment paper or plastic wrap then cover with foil and freeze. It should keep up to 3 months. You could also freeze in smaller portions.

Then, remove from freezer and leave overnight in the refrigerator to thaw and bake until thoroughly heated.

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4 Ronja @ a dash of faith January 24, 2013 at 10:02 am

Looks fantastic! Lasagna is definitely on my mind, now, too.

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5 randi January 27, 2013 at 5:14 pm

Don’t know if I just don’t see it on my small screen but what temp do you suggest? Just made this and put in the oven at 375. looks delicious so far!

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6 Joanne January 29, 2013 at 11:05 am

Thank you for pointing this out. We didn’t have the oven temp in the recipe. We suggest 375 degrees F.

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7 randi January 29, 2013 at 11:09 am

Made this on Sunday. It is now our favourite lasagna recipe. The sausage changes everything. Making your sweet chili wings tomorrow.

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8 Faye February 18, 2013 at 7:33 am

This looks real chunky and delightful. I’m not a huge lasagna but I love my mom’s recipe and finding the right recipe has been so difficult because the sauce, meat, and cheesy ingredients have to be well balanced.

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9 Chick Copp April 20, 2013 at 10:12 am

Yummmo, will you adopt me? I followed the steps and blow me down if it didn’t come out delishus, bravo! I made it with English pork and caramalized onion flavour bangers

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10 rjames May 8, 2013 at 12:58 pm

Hi there! The recipes calls for 2lbs of lasagna noodles. Do I use two boxes? It seems too much but I thought I’d check.

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11 Joanne May 8, 2013 at 2:41 pm

Hi — Yes, we made a mistake (sorry!). You will only need 12 unbroken noodles (just over 1/2 a 1-pound box). The recipe is fixed now.

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12 Brenda June 5, 2013 at 11:46 am

We have used this homemade sauce before with the lasagna recipe and it was the BEST we have ever made… Just wondering would this sauce taste well over penne (like as a mostaccoli)?

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13 Joanne June 5, 2013 at 12:54 pm

Definitely! We do that all the time.

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14 Kay June 13, 2013 at 5:19 pm

What size baking pan do I use?

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15 Joanne June 13, 2013 at 7:15 pm

A 13 x 9 inch baking dish (or slightly larger) will work best.

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16 J clarke June 28, 2013 at 5:22 pm

What if u have oven ready lasanga noodles? How much water would u recremend to use

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17 Adam July 6, 2013 at 6:03 pm

Use the oven ready lasagna in place of the regular noodles. You should not need any additional water.

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18 stephanie July 18, 2013 at 12:46 am

I may have missed it, but I was wondering how many people this recipe will feed? We have a family gathering, and I’ll need to feed about ten people.

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19 Joanne July 26, 2013 at 1:26 pm

The lasagna should serve 8.

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20 Jenny July 21, 2013 at 6:42 pm

Made this last night and my boyfriend and I LOVED it. Super delicious! Best lasagna recipe. I live in vegas and have been to some of the best italian restaurants in the country and your recipe could be the best i’ve had. Thanks and looking forward to trying more of your recipes.

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21 valli December 11, 2013 at 12:40 pm

I will be making this for friends. Can I use store bought Vodka Sauce instead of Marinara?

Also is oven ready Lasagna ok to use?

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22 Adam December 12, 2013 at 3:04 pm

Yes to both questions :)

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23 christy December 21, 2013 at 5:00 pm

The best lasagna I’ve made and I replaced my old favorite recipe w this one. Family loved it! I used a basil and garlic jarred sauce (momma’s brand I think?). Loved it!

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24 K December 22, 2013 at 6:07 pm

If made ahead and refrigerated, do you bring to room temp? Same cooking time?

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25 Joanne December 30, 2013 at 12:27 pm

You probably won’t need the whole cooking time to reheat. Just keep it covered with foil and check every so often to see if it is warmed through.

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26 Heather December 23, 2013 at 12:55 pm

I’m going to attempt to make this for Christmas dinner, but I’m feeling a little blonde… I want to use the store bought jars of sauce, do I need 2 24 oz cans of sauce or 24 oz altogether?

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27 Joanne December 30, 2013 at 1:07 pm

2 jars will do it.

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28 Steve December 29, 2013 at 12:56 pm

I decided to have a non traditional Christmas Dinner this year and this recipe is what I chose. It was the best lasagna that I have ever had, if I do say so myself. My family really enjoyed it just as much as I did. Thanks!

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29 Joanne December 30, 2013 at 11:11 am

That’s great Steve! So glad you loved it.

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30 Gigi Long January 21, 2014 at 1:04 am

It’s very delicious! My husband and I made it tonight for dinner… Along with
some red vino. We had left overs for lunch tomorrow.
I like the option of using sauce from a jar.
My famy is ready for another lasagna night.
Thank you!

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31 Carrie February 1, 2014 at 8:57 pm

My husband and I tried this recipe out on New Year’s Day, as we wanted something special for our first dinner of the new year. This did not disappoint! We made the sauce from scratch and decided to use two different types of sausage. We used traditional spicy Italian sausage as well as four cheese Italian sausage. As it was just the two of us we had a lot left over, but it froze really well. It was great to take to work for lunch. Thank you for posting this fantastic recipe!

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32 kym February 15, 2014 at 10:45 pm

dear joanne & adam, first off, please don’t give away/sell/make available to anyone, anything, anywhere, my email address. it is the only one that doesn’t get junk mail. my original mail is now so overrun i cannot even use it anymore. but i do want to get your info so i am trusting you with my only good email address that is left.
my husband and i have been trying your recipes and i’ve gotta say they are AMAZING!!! thank you for sharing!
my question is for the meaty lasagna recipe. unfortunately we don’t care for the taste or texture of ricotta or cottage cheese. years ago i had a fabulous recipe without the ricotta and i’ve lost it. whaaaa! anyhow, if i were to eliminate the ricotta (or cottage) cheese from your recipe, should i up the other two types of cheese? if so, how much uppage? (is that a word?)
all the best to you awesomely creative peeps!
kym

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33 Joanne February 20, 2014 at 11:05 am

Hi Kym, No worries about your email address (no one can see it but us and we don’t share or sell them).

You could just remove the ricotta layer all together. I’d leave the other cheeses as they are. That should taste great. Another option is to use a layer of creamy cheese sauce (like a béchamel sauce). If you google that, recipes should come up.

Reply

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