Ultimate Meat Lasagna

Ultimate Meat Lasagna with four cheeses, a homemade marinara sauce and a few quick chef tricks will make you feel like you’ve ordered lasagna at your favorite Italian Restaurant.

Meat Lasagna on plate.
 Ultimate Meat Lasagna

This easy lasagna recipe is one I’ve been working on since my 7th grade home economics class. Over the years the recipe has been changed probably over a hundred times, but in the last 5 years it has not changed a single time. I finally got to a place with the recipe that I knew this was truly the Ultimate Meat Lasagna.

What are the best noodles for lasagna:

Classic noodles are favored for recipes where you boil the noodles but this recipe calls for the no boil Barilla variety for ease and for the look. The noodles resemble handmade noodles more and serve in a neater way.

Restaurant tricks to make this lasagna the next level:

  • Homemade Quick and Easy Marinara may not be a real “secret” but it is going to make the biggest difference in the flavor of your lasagna. You can use most levels of quality of cheese and sort of get away with it, but use a sauce that isn’t full of delicious flavors? You’ll immediately notice the difference.
  • I use all beef in this recipe, but the sausage flavor in most restaurant lasagnas is one I love duplicating. To do that easily here without using sausage, I add in some fennel seeds when browning the beef and I brown it in larger chunks. This gives the distinct sausage flavor and the larger chunks of beef help mimic the sausage texture.
  • I add an egg and season my ricotta cheese. This ups the richness of it and makes it taste a little less grainy than ricotta normally does.

How to serve the perfect slice of lasagna:

When serving, let the lasagna cool for an hour or more, cut the slice with a very sharp knife. Remove with two spatulas to ensure no breakage. Top with additional marinara, additional cheese and brown in a 425 degree oven until browned and bubbly. This makes each slice feel like their own “order” with its own set of bubbly cheese and overflowing with marinara sauce.

slice of meat lasagna on plate

Meal Prep/Freezer Friendly Lasagna:

Make the lasagna and let it cool completely (I put it in the fridge). Then slice the lasagna and freeze in single serving quantities. To reheat, add additional sauce on the top with cheese and bake at 350 degrees for 30-35 minutes.

Tools used in the making of this Meat Lasagna:
Baking pan: I use this one for the perfect edges and to handle more filling. Glass pans won’t cut it for this recipe.
No Boil Noodles: Skip the entire extra pan and boiling water, these taste great.

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Ultimate Meat Lasagna

Ultimate Meat Lasagna with four cheeses, a homemade marinara sauce and a few quick chef tricks will make you feel like you've ordered lasagna at your favorite Italian Restaurant.
Yield 12 Servings
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 45 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 15 minutes
Course Main Course
Cuisine Italian
Author Sabrina Snyder

Ingredients
 

  • 2 pounds lean ground beef
  • 2 teaspoons dried basil leaves
  • 2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds
  • 2 teaspoons Kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 6 cups marinara sauce
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 box lasagna noodles (I use flat no boil Barrilla noodles)
  • 16 ounces ricotta cheese
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt
  • 1/2 pound Provolone cheese , sliced
  • 1/2 pound mozzarella cheese , sliced
  • 1 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
  • In a large pot, brown the beef in one large piece until it is browned on the bottom, 2-3 minutes, breaking apart the beef into slightly larger chunks.
  • Cook until the beef is browned and add in the basil, oregano, 2 teaspoons Kosher salt, crushed red pepper flakes and fennel seeds.
  • Stir until you start to smell the fennel seeds starting to toast then drain the fat and add in the marinara sauce.
  • In your ricotta container if you have space add the egg and ½ teaspoon Kosher salt and mix well.
  • Add your no boil noodles to the meat sauce (we are not looking to cook them, just coat them in the sauce to ensure they don't get dry in the oven).
  • Put 1 ½ cups of meat sauce in the bottom of a 9x13 inch baking pan (I use one with straight sides for easy assembly and for added height. If you are using a glass baking pan with curved sides it may not be large enough to fit this quantity of food).
  • Add the dried no boil noodles in an even layer, for me it was 5 noodles per layer, four across and one broken in half lengthwise to go down the side of the pan.
  • Add ⅓ the provolone slices, another 1 ½ cups of the meat sauce, ¼ of the mozzarella, ¼ of the parmesan and ⅓ of the ricotta in spoonfuls dotting across the pan.
  • Repeat with the same noodle/cheese/meat sauce process.
  • Finally, add a top layer of lasagna noodles and cover with remaining Parmesan and mozzarella. Cover with foil.
  • Bake for 40 minutes, then remove foil and bake for an additional ten minutes to brown the cheese.
  • Let cool for 20-25 minutes before serving.
  • Garnish with parsley.

Nutrition

Calories: 364kcal | Carbohydrates: 9g | Protein: 34g | Fat: 20g | Saturated Fat: 12g | Cholesterol: 115mg | Sodium: 1626mg | Potassium: 771mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 5g | Vitamin A: 1115IU | Vitamin C: 8.6mg | Calcium: 444mg | Iron: 3.8mg
Keyword: Ultimate Meat Lasagna
meat lasagna collage of pictures
four cheese and meat lasagna

About the Author: Sabrina Snyder

Sabrina is a professionally trained Private Chef of over 10 years with ServSafe Manager certification in food safety. She creates all the recipes here on Dinner, then Dessert, fueled in no small part by her love for bacon.

Sabrina Snyder is a professionally trained personal and private chef of over 10 years who is the creator and developer of all the recipes on Dinner, then Dessert.

She is also the author of the upcoming cookbook: Dinner, then Dessert – Satisfying Meals Using Only 3, 5 or 7 Ingredients which is being published by Harper Collins.

She started Dinner, then Dessert as a business in her office as a lunch service for her coworkers who admired her lunches before going to culinary school and becoming a full time personal chef and private chef.

As a personal chef Sabrina would cook for families one day a week and cook their entire week of dinners. All grocery shopping, cooking and cleaning was done along with instructions on reheating. As a private chef she cooked for private parties and cooked in family homes in the evenings for families on a nightly basis after working as a personal chef during the day.

Sabrina has been certified as a ServSafe Manager since 2007 and was a longstanding member of the USPCA Personal Chef Association including being on the board of the Washington DC Chapter of Chefs in the US Personal Chef Association when they won Chapter of the year.

As a member of the community of food website creators Sabrina Snyder has spoken at many conferences regarding her experiences as a food writer including the Indulge Food Conference, Everything Food Conference, Haven Food Conference and IACP Annual Food Professionals Conference.

Sabrina lives with her family in sunny California.

Dinner, then Dessert, Inc. owns the copyright on all images and text and does not allow for its original recipes and pictures to be reproduced anywhere other than at this site unless authorization is given. If you enjoyed the recipe and would like to publish it on your own site, please re-write it in your own words, and link back to my site and recipe page. Read my disclosure and copyright policy. This post may contain affiliate links.

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Comments

  1. From the picture, I am wondering if you had used 2 layers of noodles at a time, on each layering??
    This lasagna looks incredible. I can’t wait to make it!

  2. I’ve made this recipe before w/ the no-boil noodles & it was amazing! Honestly, we really loved the red pepper addition & we thought it was the best we’ve ever had… so thank you!!! With that being said, we have a ton of regular lasagna noodles to use, so how should I make it w/ those?

    1. I realize this comment is very old, so I am so sorry for the delay in replying.

      Cook two minutes shy of the directions on the box. Also use 1/2 cup less liquid.

  3. This was unbelievably delicious, the meat sauce was perfectly seasoned. The lasagna cheeses were perfectly proportioned, and baked so well together! My family loved it, it’s my go to recipe now!

  4. What do we do if the store only has lasagna you are meant to boil? Do you have to boil it first before proceeding with this recipe?

    1. I am so sorry, I am just seeing this tonight. I am sure the recipe has long been cooked/or not but I still want to try to help.

      I would boil the noodles 2 minutes shy of the directions on the box. and use 1/2 cup less liquid.

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