World’s Best Lasagna
My oh my. World’s Best Lasagna is mind boggling. This lasagna recipe really will knock your socks off. It has so many layers, so much meat and cheese. Yessiree, it’s quite the entree, especially for company dinners. If you’re a lasagna lover, this recipe really needs to be in your repertoire.
My daughter-in-law has made this lasagna recipe for years. Probably over a decade. She uses the sauce for spaghetti as well. She’s made the lasagna for us several times when we’ve been in Pennsylvania to visit. It’s always so well received. She made spaghetti for us one night when we visited last December. I kept oohing and ahhhing over the sauce. She said she used the sauce from this recipe. I figured it was time for me to dig out the recipe and make it myself.
One of the things that makes the sauce better, in my opinion, is using a hamburger masher while cooking the ground beef and Italian sausage. Mash the meat down into small pieces. It spreads throughout the sauce a lot better that way. I also prefer using shredded cheese rather than sliced mozzarella cheese. It cooks up more evenly and is easier to work with.
I’ve made this lasagna twice for our church community group. Each time I make it, everyone always comments on how much they enjoy it. The Italian sausage adds a little zip that you won’t get otherwise. Fennel seeds also flavor it wonderfully. While I use the basic ingredients from the original recipe, I’ve changed up the amounts on almost every ingredient.
Let me mention a couple of things:
- This really isn’t a recipe for beginners. It has a lot of steps and it can get confusing if you’ve never made lasagna before. For that reason, I’ve added a lot of pictures so you can see each step.
- The sauce has to cook about an hour and a half on the stove. Make sure it’s on a low heat so it doesn’t scorch on the bottom of the pan. Otherwise, the sauce will taste smoky. I have a gas stove. I have to use my smallest burner (even with a large stockpot) to get a low enough heat.
- Use a hamburger masher to break up the ground beef and Italian sausage while cooking. This will disperse the meat throughout the sauce a lot better and not be clumpy.
- I recommend using shredded mozzarella cheese rather than slices. It melts a lot more evenly while baking.
- Read the whole recipe and go over all the pictures and instructions before starting this lasagna. This will help you not get goofed up or layer incorrectly. I also include notes along the way to help.
- It’s really important to spray the foil with cooking spray before putting it on top of the casserole. Otherwise, the cheese will stick to the foil. 🙁
- Allow the lasagna to set up before serving. It really doesn’t set up in 15 minutes like the original recipe stated. It takes almost a half hour (otherwise it’s excessively gooey and sloppy). So plan ahead. I covered it with the sprayed foil again to keep as much heat in the casserole as possible.
- While you don’t have to use as much meat as I use in this recipe, having a really meaty sauce really amps up the sauce and makes it better, in my opinion.
- Don’t use a 9×13″ pyrex glass baking dish. The sides are not deep enough. You need a deep-dish (about 4 inches deep) rectangular 9×13″ baking dish for this recipe.
- Don’t leave off the fennel seeds. They’re needed to provide the right flavor for this sauce.
With all that said, if you’re looking for a lasagna to wow your family, friends or company, World’s Best Lasagna will do it!
World’s Best Lasagna will knock your socks off!
I served the lasagna with my favorite, Easy No Knead Dinner Rolls and Chopped Cucumber Caprese Salad.
You can tell from this picture that the lasagna is still a little goopy. It had been sitting out about 15 minutes at this point. It really needs to set up about 30 minutes before serving.
I used these ingredients, but not in these amounts.
Place lean ground beef and sweet Italian sausage in a Dutch oven or large stock pot.
Add chopped onions and minced garlic.
Stir to combine. Mash meat down with a hamburger masher and break the meat up into tiny pieces while cooking.
Cook meat until no longer pink. If you use anything less than 93% lean meat, you may have to drain the beef. I hardly had any grease after cooking so I did not drain the meat.
Add crushed tomatoes, tomato sauce and tomato paste.
Add seasonings and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low, cover with lid, cook sauce 1 1/2 hours on very low heat (it should still simmer).
Here the meat sauce is done. In this batch I used a lot more meat than the first go round.
While meat sauce is cooking on stove top, boil lasagna noodles. Lift out carefully with tongs and place on waxed paper.
Also, while meat sauce is cooking, prepare ricotta cheese mixture. Place ricotta, egg, salt and fresh parsley in a mixing bowl.
Stir well to combine.
Spray a deep dish 9×13″ baking dish with cooking spray. (Don’t use a glass pyrex dish with 1 1/2″ sides. It’s not deep enough). Spread 1 1/2 cups meat sauce on the bottom of the baking dish.
Place 6 noodles over top of sauce. 3 rows of two noodles each.
Spread one-third of the ricotta cheese mixture over top of the noodles.
Sprinkle one-third of the one pound package of cheese over top of the ricotta. (This is about 2/3 of an 8-oz. bag shredded mozzarella cheese).
Spread two cups sauce over top of the mozzarella cheese layer.
Spread 6 noodles over top of the sauce. Three rows of two noodles each. Then spread 1/3 of the ricotta mixture over top of the noodles.
Spread one-third of the mozzarella cheese over top of the ricotta (about 2/3 of an 8-oz. pkg.) Sprinkle 1/2 cup of the parmesan cheese over top of the mozzarella.
Spread 2 1/2 cups meat sauce over top of parmesan cheese.
Spread 6 noodles over top. Three rows of two noodles each.
Spread with remaining 1/3 ricotta cheese mixture.
I used the last two lasagna noodles here, but you can leave them off if you want everything even.
Spread the last of the sauce over top.
Spread the last of the mozzarella cheese over top of the sauce.
Because I wanted more cheese on top, I added an additional cup of mozzarella cheese here.
Top with remaining parmesan cheese (3/4 cup).
Cover with foil that’s been well sprayed with cooking spray. Bake at 375 for 25 minutes. Remove foil and bake an additional 25 minutes at 375 or until hot and bubbly. Remove from oven and allow casserole to set up about 20-30 minutes before serving. (I covered it again at this point to keep in the heat).
World’s Best Lasagna is terrific served with Chopped Cucumber Caprese Salad and Easy No Knead Dinner Rolls.
This is such a large deep-dish pan that you can easily get 12-15 servings out of it.
World’s Best Lasagna is thick, meaty, cheesy and absolutely sumptuous. If you have the time to make this recipe, it’s really a crowd pleaser.
Here’s the recipe.
WORLD’S BEST LASAGNA
(Recipe adapted from my daughter-in-law, Candice, Lincoln University, PA; source: inspired by John Chandler, All Recipes)
World’s Best Lasagna is really a terrific recipe.
This recipe is a lot of work, but it’s worth it!
Every bite will knock your socks off!