Lasagna is my absolute favorite meal. As a kid my mom knew to make an extra pan so I'd have leftovers. I could eat that for days in a row and not get tired of it. I still make a recipe that is very close to how my mom makes lasagna. Over the years we've made a few changes to make it a little quicker and, I think, tastier. This really is the best italian sausage lasagna recipe I've tried.
NOTE: This post was originally published in 2016 and has been updated.
I usually quadruple the recipe and, after putting together all the lasagnas, freeze 3 of them. Last time I made lasagna I made 4 small individual size lasagnas as well so the kids can pull them out of the freezer and cook them when they're craving lasagna.
I usually keep most of these ingredients on hand in my pantry or freezer. Gather your ingredients and make any substitutions you need to.
- ground Italian pork sausage (mild): If you want it spicier, use a hot sausage. For a milder flavor, use half ground beef.
- small yellow onion: Chop the onion. You'll only need half of a large onion.
- garlic: Use fresh garlic cloves or refrigerated minced garlic.
- spices: Use dried spices including parsley, basil, and oregano.
- sugar: Use basic white granulated sugar.
- canned crushed tomatoes: Don't drain these!
- tomato sauce: Use canned tomato sauce or puree whole canned tomatoes to make tomato sauce. Some people prefer to use a marinara sauce in lieu of crushed tomatoes and tomato sauce.
- no boil lasagna noodles: If you want to use regular boil lasagna noodles just boil them before assembling the lasagna.
- ricotta cheese: for more moisture in your lasagna, use a lightly pureed cottage cheese.
- parmesan cheese: grate fresh parmesan for best results.
- mozzarella cheese: Use low moisture full fat mozzarella cheese and grate it yourself for best results.
Full instructions and ingredients are below in the recipe card.
Prep: Measure all your spices and ingredients before you begin. Shred your cheese and chop your onion and garlic.
Brown Sausage: In a large pot brown the ground sausage and the onions over medium heat. Stir frequently and use your spatula to break up the ground sausage. When the sausage is cooked through and is no longer pink and the onions are translucent, drain the grease into a container to throw away. Don't cook the sausage in a skillet because we'll be using this pot to make the sauce as well.
Finish Sauce: Add garlic and heat while stirring for 1 minute. Stir in 1 tablespoon of parsley (reserve the rest), all the basil, sugar, tomatoes and tomato sauce. Bring to a boil then reduce heat to low and simmer uncovered for 45 minutes. Stir frequently. Sauce will be slightly thickened.
Make Ricotta Cheese Mixture: In medium bowl, mix ricotta cheese, ¼ cup Parmesan cheese, remaining ½ tablespoon parsley and the oregano. Use a spoon or form to mix well.
Layer Lasagna: Put 1 cup of sauce mixture into the bottom of an empty 13x9-inch baking dish. Layer with 3 noodle sheets, ⅔ cup of ricotta cheese mixture, 1 cup of sauce and ⅔ cup of mozzarella cheese. Repeat twice. Then place the last 3 lasagna sheets on top. Top with the remaining sauce then mozzarella and parmesan cheese.
Bake: Cover with aluminum foil and bake for 30 minutes. Uncover and bake for an additional 15 until the cheese is baked and the sauce is bubbly.
Serve: Let sit for 15 minutes before you cut into it to allow the sauce to thicken and cool a little. Cut into 9 pieces and serve.
We like to add ground sausage to lasagna to give it a little more flavor. If you like a milder flavor, add half mild sausage, half ground beef. For a spicier flavor you can use spicy ground sausage.
Yes, you can use raw ground sausage in casing. Cut the casing and cook the sausage outside of the casing as you would any ground meat.
Yes! Absolutely! If you want, layer some thinly sliced zucchini or spinach between your sauce layer and ricotta cheese mixture layer. Alternatively, you can add diced pepper and spinach to the sauce when you're cooking it.
What To Serve With Lasagna
- 1 pound ground Italian pork sausage
- 1 yellow onion (small)
- 1 clove garlic (crushed)
- 1.5 tablespoons dried parsley
- 1.5 teaspoons dried basil
- 1 teaspoon granulated sugar
- 28 ounce crushed tomatoes (undrained)
- 28 ounce tomato sauce
- 12 no boil lasagna noodles (or boil 12 regular lasagna noodles)
- 15 ounce ricotta cheese
- ½ cup parmesan cheese (grated)
- 1.5 teaspoons dried oregano
- 2 cups low moisture mozzarella cheese (shredded)
- In a large pot over medium heat, cook ground sausage and onion until the sausage is cooked through and the onion is translucent. Stir continually to prevent browning. Drain the grease. (Do not pour grease down the sink)
- Add garlic. Cook about 1 minute, until fragrant.
- Stir in 1 tablespoon of dried parsley, all the dried basil, sugar, tomatoes and tomato sauce. Heat until just beginning to boil. Stir occasionally. Reduce heat to low. Simmer uncovered about 45 minutes, or until the sauce is slightly thickened.
- Heat oven to 350°F.
- In a medium bowl, mix the ricotta cheese, ¼ cup parmesan cheese and the remaining parsley and all the oregano. Mix until well combined.
- Spread 1 cup of the sauce mixture into ungreased 13x9-inch baking dish. Top with 3 no-boil lasagna sheets.
- Spread ⅔ cup of the cheese mixture over the noodles. Spread 1 cup of sauce over the cheese mixture.
- Sprinkle with ⅔ cup of shredded mozzarella cheese.
- Repeat with 3 more lasagna noodles, ⅔ cup of cheese mixture, 1 cup of sauce mixture and ⅔ cup of shredded mozzarella cheese.
- Repeat once.
- Top with remaining noodles and sauce. Sprinkle with remaining mozzarella cheese and ¼ cup parmesan cheese.
- Cover, bake for 30 minutes. Uncover and bake an additional 15 minutes or until hot and bubbly.
- Let stand for 15 minutes before cutting.