If you love going out to Olive Garden you definitely need to learn how to make lasagna at home. All you need is a bottomless salad bowl.
We love, love, LOOOOVE pasta in our house. But going to our local Italian restaurant can get pretty expensive. So we decided we would bring a little bit of Italy home to us.
How To Make Homemade Lasagna
This recipe is so easy to make. In fact, other than our DIY burrito bowl, this may be our most made dinner. It is also completely customizable to your own specific taste. This recipe is delicious on it’s own but can also be the base for your own imagination.
1 box of oven ready lasagna noodles
1 jar of Traditional pasta sauce (we use this Classico sauce)
1 tub ricotta cheese (16 oz)
1 bag of shredded mozzarella cheese (8 oz)
1 cup shredded parmesan cheese
Start by preheating your oven to 350 degrees. The oven can preheat while you are putting the ingredients together
Take out a 9×13 baking pan. Open your jar of sauce and put a very thin layer of sauce into the bottom of the pan. You can spread it with a spoon.
You just want enough sauce at this point to make the bottom of the pan wet for the noodles. Now, open up your pack of oven ready noodles and lay them across the bottom of your pan. We can usually do about 3 across length-wise and we will snap one to fit width-wise.
We like to use the oven ready lasagna just because it is quicker. You can also use regular lasagna noodles for this. Just follow the instructions on the package on how to prepare them. Then you can continue with this same recipe.
Once you have put down your first layer of noodles, use a spoon to put down another thin layer of pasta sauce. This layer should be thicker than the first layer. Just remember you need conserve enough for four total layers not counting the bottom of the pan.
On top of the sauce, add a layer of ricotta cheese. Try the best you can to spread it without mixing it with the sauce. You will want to portion this out between three layers. If you want to measure it out you can.
After you have the ricotta spread, make a layer of mozzarella. Same as the ricotta, you will need to plan for four total layers of mozzarella. However, you will want more for the top layer.
Repeat this process of pasta, sauce, ricotta, mozzarella two more times. When you get to the final top layer, you will not put ricotta. You will add the final layer of sauce followed by a super layer of mozzarella.
Finally, add a healthy sprinkling of shredded parmesan. So your top layer will be noodles, sauce, mozzarella, parmesan.
So, how long does it take for lasagna to cook? With your oven already preheated, set your timer for 30 minutes.
Place on the center rack and go relax for a while.
When the timer goes off, grab your oven mitts and pull your lasagna out from the oven. Place it on your stove top or cooling rack.
Once your lasagna has cooled, you can use a knife to cut it. We generally get about 15 decent sized squares.
As we mentioned above, this recipe is great on it’s own or it can be an excellent base for a more complicated dish. You can add or substitute cottage cheese. You can add various veggies, like peppers from your own garden, into each layer. You can make a layer of spinach, if you like. You can’t beat throwing some sausage in their either.
Be creative. Make this recipe yours and add whatever you think will make it better.
What sides go well with lasagna?
Since, we’ve already mentioned Olive Garden, it’s probably obvious that we think salad and garlic butter bread sticks go great with lasagna. But you can get a little more creative and add a whole host of other lasagna side dish ideas.
How to freeze lasagna
If you want to freeze individual pieces, use a spatula to lift each piece from the pan and put it into a small quart sized freezer bag. Freezing individually is kind of messy, but it is nice to have a quick single serving lasagna sometimes.
If you are planning freezer meals for the family, you will want to make sure your lasagna has completely cooled, put a lid on your baking pan, and put it into your freezer on a flat shelf. If you don’t have a pan with a lid, you can also use disposable aluminum pans.
You may be wondering is it better to freeze cooked or uncooked? Honestly, you can do both. Make two, cook one and freeze the other. Whether or not you bake it before freezing depends on how much time you want to spend reheating and if you want to portion out individual servings for the freezer.
How to thaw
Just pull your lasagna from the freezer and place in refrigerator over night. For a full sized pan, it may take 2 days in the refrigerator.
You can also put individual pieces in the microwave and full size frozen lasagna in the oven.
How to reheat/cook frozen lasagna
If uncooked, preheat oven to 350. Bake for 60 minutes, check around 45 to make sure top is not burning.
If pre-cooked, preheat oven to 350. Bake for 45 minutes or until warm throughout. Check often so that top does not burn.