Indulge in the ultimate meat lasagna, a dish that captures the essence of your favorite Italian restaurant with its four-cheese blend, homemade marinara sauce, and a touch of chef’s magic.
This lasagna recipe has undergone numerous changes since my 7th-grade home economics class. After countless adjustments, it has now reached its pinnacle as the Ultimate Meat Lasagna, and it hasn’t changed in the last 5 years.
This recipe sticks to using only beef, but it replicates the sausage flavor found in most restaurant lasagnas by adding fennel seeds when browning the beef and keeping the beef in larger chunks. This technique imparts the distinctive sausage taste and provides a texture similar to sausage.
Finally, incorporating an egg and seasoning the ricotta cheese will enhance its richness and reduce the slightly grainy texture that ricotta cheese can sometimes have. Serve this Ultimate Meat Lasagna with your favorite Olive Garden Salad and some delicious and easy Garlic Bread for a complete Italian feast!
How to Store Ultimate Meat Lasagna
- Serve: Do not leave Meat Lasagna at room temperature for longer than 2 hours.
- Store: Once cooled, cover tightly and store in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
- Freeze: Make the lasagna and let it cool completely (put it in the fridge). Then slice the lasagna and freeze it in single-serving quantities. To reheat, add additional sauce on top with cheese and bake at 350 degrees for 30-35 minutes.
- 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 , (flat no boil 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
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit (190 degrees Celsius).
- In a large pot, place the ground beef in one large piece and cook until it’s browned on the bottom, about 2-3 minutes. Break apart the beef into slightly larger chunks.
- Continue cooking the beef until it’s fully browned. Add in the dried basil, dried oregano, 2 teaspoons of Kosher salt, crushed red pepper flakes, and fennel seeds. Stir until you start to smell the fennel seeds toasting.
- Drain the fat from the meat and add in the marinara sauce.
- In your ricotta cheese container, if you have space, add the egg and ½ teaspoon of Kosher salt. Mix well.
- Add the no-boil lasagna noodles to the meat sauce. You’re not looking to cook them; just coat them in the sauce to prevent them from drying out in the oven.
- Place 1 ½ cups of the meat sauce in the bottom of a 9×13 inch baking pan. Use one with straight sides for easy assembly and added height. If you’re using a glass baking pan with curved sides, it may not be large enough to fit all the ingredients.
- Add the dried lasagna noodles in an even layer. For this pan, it was 5 noodles per layer: four across and one broken in half lengthwise to go down the side of the pan.
- Add ⅓ of 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 the remaining Parmesan and mozzarella. Cover the pan with foil.
- Bake for 40 minutes, then remove the foil and bake for an additional ten minutes to brown the cheese.
- Let the lasagna cool for 20-25 minutes before serving.
- Garnish with chopped parsley.
Enjoy your delicious homemade lasagna!
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