Every Italian knows that there is nothing like Momma's Homemade Lasagna. I can tell you that every time I make it, there are no leftovers. And, because it's my momma's recipe, no one makes it better than my one and only mom.
Note that not everyone adds boiled eggs to their lasagna, therefore, i'll leave that up to you to include or leave out.
This recipe used oven ready lasagna noodles, but you can use regular lasagna noodles too.
The recipe below is adapted from my mom's traditional lasagna recipe. I say adapted, because no matter how many times I make it, it will never taste exactly like hers!
Tips and Tricks to Making the Best Homemade Lasagna
Picking Lasagna Noodles
If you have been reading my recipe posts, you know I'm all about saving time. And, while I'm no chef boyardee, I'll cut corners any chance I can if it doesn't compromise taste. So, i'll let you in on a little secret. Ready? I use prepared "oven ready" lasagna noodles to make my mamma's homemade lasagna. My all time favorite noddles are made by Molisana and look like this here.
Now, if you would prefer to use raw lasagna noodles, by all means, go ahead. Just add another 20 minutes to preparation time and follow the cooking directions on the box. Most importantly, remember to take the noodles off the stove top when they are "al dente" and rinse them in cold water to stop the cooking process.
Making a Meat Sauce for Homemade Lasagna
A meat sauce my sound like it's a lot of work, but don't fret. This meat sauce will take you less than 35 minutes to make and you don't need to wait for it to cool down. Start by heating up some olive oil and brown the onions and garlic. Toss in the veal and brown the veal. For the perfect meat sauce, use veal instead of beef. Of course, if you only have beef, you can still use it. Season the ground meat. Add the tomato paste and the trick is to brown it and mix it well into the ground meat as it cooks down, allowing the juices to evaporate.
Add tomato puree or crushed tomatoes and bring to boil. Add oregano and let cook covered for about 30 minutes. Once the sauce is cooked, turn the heat off and add the dried basil. Once the sauce has cooked and is ready, set it aside and start to prepare the cheeses and noodles.
Arranging the Noodles for Perfect Homemade Lasagna
Now I know this might sound stupid, but there is a right and wrong way (a science) to laying down lasagna noodles. You do not want to stack them one on top of the other. If you do that you're going to get a sloppy mess when you try and cut and serve it. Plus, you'll have gaps in your pan where you don't have noodles. Instead, you'll need to alternate the direction of the noodles for each layer.
For example, lay two horizontally and one vertically at the top of the two horizontal. Then for the second layer, do the reverse, place one vertically and then two horizontally. See picture below for the first layer.
You will also want to alternate the condiment layers. One layer fully loaded with sauce, mozzarella, egg and parmesan cheese and the next layer with just sauce.
And, of course, top your homemade lasagna off with Parmigiano Reggiano cheese. Oh and by the way don’t buy cheese that comes in a jar in the grocery isle. All good cheese can be found at the deli counter with all the other fresh cheeses not on a shelf in an isle.
Store leftovers refrigerated in an airtight container for a maximum of 4 days. You can also freeze for later. When you craving some homemade lasagna, thaw it out in the fridge for 24 hours and then warm it up. Yum!
Drop a comment below if you made this homemade lasagna. I’d love to see your pictures as well as know what you put inside. So don’t forget to post on your Instagram account. Tag me at #girl_with_a_spatula and follow me @girl_with_a_spatula
Looking for other lip smacking recipes? Click here to search the site for some great inspiration.
Moms Homemade Lasagna
- 1 lbs ground veal
- 3 tbsp olive oil
- 1 clove of garlic
- 1 onion
- 750 ml tomato puree
- 2 tbsp tomato paste
- 1 tbsp salt
- 1 tsp ground pepper
- 1 tsp ground nutmeg
- 1 tbsp dried oregano
- ½ tbsp dried basil or 3 fresh basil leaves
- ½ cups water
- 1 box oven ready lasagna noodles (or regular lasagna noodles)
- 1 cups parmigiana cheese grounded
- 1 cups mozzarella shredded
- 2 hard boiled eggs (optional)
- ½ cups water (for lasagna assembly)
- Meat Sauce
- In a large saucepan heat up the olive oil and brown the onions and garlic. Toss in the veal and brown the veal. Salt and Pepper to taste. Add nutmeg and continue to brown veal. Add tomato paste and stir into coat all of the ground meet.
- Add tomato puree and bring to boil. Add oregano and basil. The sauce will cook down and get thick, if necessary add ½ cup of water as you don't want your sauce to thicken when working with pre-cooked noodles (you can always add water when you are assembling the lasagna if you're not sure). Turn down the heat to a simmer and cook covered for about 20 minutes. Once the sauce has cooked, set aside and start to prepare the cheeses and noodles.
- Lasagna AssemblyNOTE: If you are not using oven ready lasagna noodles, prepare the noodles as per the box instructions. For best results, cook the pasta until "al dente" (firm, not fully cooked). Remove from pasta water and place in a bowl filled with cold water.
- Preheat oven to 350 F degrees. In a medium sized glass dish or aluminum tray (9 x 8), place ½ cup of water and one scoop of the sauce and spread over the bottom of the dish. Then start to layer the pasta sheets. Cover the first layer of pasta sheets with the meat sauce. Layer more noodles on top being careful to alternate the direction of the noodles so that you are not just stacking noodles in the same direction one on top of another. You need to alternate, like you are weaving a basket.
- In the second layer, add the parmiggiano, mozzarella and one egg. Put the third layer and just use sauce and keep going until you have used up all the sauce. Make sure that there is sufficient water when baking with oven ready noodles as they will need sufficient liquid to cook properly. The liquid level should come up at least past the first noodle. If more liquid is needed, strategically add it along all sides as the lasagna cooks in the oven.
- Bake at 350 degrees for 45 to 60 minutes. You will know when it is done when a fork is inserted in the pasta comes out easily. Once the Lasagna is cooked, let it stand for about 10 minutes so that it sets and is easy to cut and serve.