Simply the best ever meat and cheese lasagna recipe! I can’t even begin to describe the flavors in this made-from-scratch classic Italian recipe! This incredible meat lasagna is made with the most delicious homemade bolognese sauce, creamy ricotta cheese and Parmesan bechamel sauce! Every bite is bursting with flavor! This is the only meat and cheese lasagna recipe you will ever need! This pasta recipe is comfort food at it’s best! Also, try this recipe with my new Classic Bolognese Sauce recipe!
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Watch my video recipe for step-by-step instructions for making this delicious meat lasagna! It’s an older video recipe but I use it to this day! Want to receive new recipe emails in your inbox? Make sure to subscribe to my YouTube channel and turn on notifications!
How To Make Lasagna
The best lasagna recipes start with a homemade bolognese sauce! Bolognese is simply a tomato-based meat sauce that is used for Italian pasta recipes. I like to make my own because it has so much flavor! I make my sauce with mild Italian sausage, red wine, lots of garlic, Italian spices and crushed tomatoes. The secret to a good sauce is cooking it low and slow! I like to let the sauce simmer for at least 45 minutes to 1 hour – the longer, the better!
Bechamel Cheese Sauce
Next, it’s the Parmesan bechamel sauce! This sauce is crucial for making a good lasagna! Bechamel is a cream based sauce that is thicken with a simple roux – a combination of butter and flour. This sauce gives the lasagna more flavor and makes more juicy and not dry. For the bechamel, first prepare the roux, then slowly add the milk whisking constantly to ensure that no clumps remain. Add grated Parmesan and a just a touch of ground nutmeg for even more flavor. I like to add the bechamel along with the meat sauce as I’m layering the lasagna and add it to the top.
Assembling the Dish
Arranging this meat and cheese lasagna is super easy! I like to create alternating layers of bolognese and bechamel, followed by layers of ricotta cheese. Alternating the fillings ensures that you get uniform flavor with each bite and it helps keep the lasagna lighter and not as dense. You can use your favorite lasagna noodles for this recipe: homemade, classic lasagna pasta or oven-ready pasta sheets that don’t require precooking. The last choice is my favorite! Finish the top of the lasagna with more bechamel and add grated Parmesan cheese. Bake the lasagna for about 45 minutes, until the sauce is bubbling away at the edges and the top is golden.
How To Freeze Lasagna
Did you know you can freeze homemade lasagna and enjoy it later?! If you like to do food prep, it’s super easy to do. Just assemble the lasagna is a casserole dish, cover with plastic and then cover tightly with foil. Freeze the lasagna on a flat, even surface. When ready to enjoy, remove the lasagna from the freezer, remove the plastic wrap and preheat your oven to 350F/177C. For the first 30 minutes, bake the lasagna covered with foil. Then remove the foil and continue baking for an additional 45 minutes. When baking a frozen lasagna, it will require more baking time!
Enjoyed this amazing meat and cheese lasagna? Check out my other pasta recipes you’re sure to enjoy!!
- Cheesy Baked Rigatoni – the ultimate comfort food dish! This baked pasta casserole is made with hearty bolognese sauce and three types of cheese!
- Cheesy Stuffed Pasta Shells – stuffed with 3 types of cheese and baked over a bed of homemade bolognese!
- Cheesy Lasagna Roll-Ups – delicious lasagna roll ups made with a Chorizo bolognese!
- Skillet Lasagna – love the flavors of my classic lasagna recipe but don’t have time? Try making this cheat version!
- How to Make Bolognese Sauce – classic Italian recipe for a meaty and hearty sauce to go with pasta!
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The Best Meat and Cheese Lasagna Recipe (video)
For Meat Sauce:
- 1- lb spicy or mild Italian sausage
- 1 medium onion, diced
- 4 garlic cloves, minced
- 28- oz canned diced tomatoes
- 12- oz tomato paste
- 1/2 cup red wine
- 1 cup beef broth
- 2 tsp sugar
- 1 tsp EACH: salt; dried basil
- 1/2 tsp EACH: fennel seeds; ground black pepper
- 1 tbsp EACH: fresh thyme; fresh rosemary, chopped
For Bechamel Sauce:
- 3 tablespoons butter
- 3 tablespoons flour
- 2 cups milk, I use whole milk
- 1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
- sprinkle of ground nutmeg
- dash of salt and ground black pepper
- 2 cups whole milk ricotta cheese
- 1 to 2 packages lasagna noodles
- 1 cup grated Parmesan, for topping
- Prepare the bolognese meat sauce: preheat a large, deep saute pan over medium-high heat and add a drizzle of oil and the Italian sausage. Break up the sausage into small bits while browning. Once browned, add the onion and saute for a few minutes. Then add the garlic, spices and sugar; cook for a few minutes. Add the remaining sauce ingredients: wine, broth, tomatoes. Stir the sauce to combine all the ingredients, then cover the pan with a lid and simmer over medium-low heat for 30-40 minutes. I like to cook mine for an hour if I have the time for more flavor.
- Meanwhile, prepare the bechamel sauce. Melt the butter in a large saucepan over medium heat, then add the flour. Whisk the flour and butter together to create a roux; cook for a few minutes. Begin adding the milk, 1/2 cup at a time, whisking vigorously after addition. Mixture needs to be smooth after each addition and before adding more milk! Season the sauce with a bit of salt, ground black pepper and sprinkle of ground nutmeg. Add in the Parmesan cheese and cook the sauce over low heat, whisking occasionally, until the cheese is completely melted. Remove the pan from direct pan and keep covered with a lid until ready to use.
- Preheat oven to 350F/177C. To assemble the dish: grease a large, deep-dish lasagna pan. If using traditional lasagna noodles, precook them according to package instructions. Line the bottom of the pan with noodles. Spoon a generous amount of prepare meat sauce and spread to edges. Follow with 1/2 cup to 1 cup of bechamel sauce. Add a layer of noodles, then spread 1 cup of ricotta cheese and top with a small amount of the bolognese. Alternate the layers with bolognese and ricotta.
- Add a final layer of lasagna noodles and spread the remaining bechamel sauce over the top. Sprinkle top with ground black pepper and additional 1 cup Parmesan cheese, if desired.
- Bake lasagna in preheated oven for 45-55 minutes, until top is set and edges turn golden brown. If sauce starts to come out the edges, place a sheet of foil under the pan or wrap it. Remove lasagna from oven and let stand for 30 minutes before portioning and serving. Lasagna will be extremely hot out of the oven; be careful!