Are you in search of the perfect authentic Italian lasagna recipe with ricotta? Look no further! Prepare to be transported straight to the heart of Italy with this mouthwatering dish. With layers of rich ricotta cheese, velvety tomato sauce, and perfectly cooked lasagna, this lasagna is a true taste of Italian cuisine.
Whether you are planning a cozy family dinner or entertaining guests, this recipe is sure to impress with its traditional flavors and comforting aroma. Get ready to experience a little piece of Italy in every delicious bite of this authentic Italian lasagna with ricotta!
Ingredients for Authentic Italian Lasagna
The important ingredients for the authentic Italian lasagna recipe with ricotta are:
- Sauce: You will need three quarts of tomato sauce, like marinara or meat sauce. Both are delicious here.
- Cheese: We have three types of Italian cheese. Parmesan and Romano should be freshly grated and mozzarella freshly grated.
- Meat: We use lean ground beef, which is seasoned with breadcrumbs with Italian seasoning, Romano, and eggs to create a delicious filling that tastes like a meatball.
- Lasagna Noodles: While no-boil lasagna noodles are super convenient, I really prefer the thicker, firmer texture of the traditional, boil-your-own kind.
How to cook Lasagna noodles?
Adding a little olive oil to a pot of water will prevent the lasagna slices from sticking. Cook the noodles for less than half the cooking time indicated on the package, the oven will take care of the rest. This is an important trick to ensure that all baked lasagna are al dente, or pleasantly firm.
After draining the lasagna, carefully hang it over the sides of the pot and colander to prevent it from sticking together. Be careful as they can be hot at first.
Preparation of meat filling
- Add some water to the ground beef, eggs, breadcrumbs, and Romano in a bowl. Mix with your hands.
- Add the meat mixture to the heated, oiled pan and crumble the filling with a spoon.
- Fry the meat until it is no longer pink. If you see excess fat, drain it off.
How to layer lasagna?
- This traditional Italian Lasagna is piled high, with three full layers of lasagna filled with sauce, ricotta, meat mixture, and plenty of mozzarella and Parmesan. For each of these three layers, place the pasta in the opposite direction of the previous layer.
- Add a few ladlefuls of the sauce, then lay out a few lasagna noodles in a single layer. Spread the ricotta on the lasagna.
- Add a third of the meat filling on top of the ricotta.
- Add a third of the grated mozzarella.
- Sprinkle a little Parmesan to cover the layer.
- Repeat two more times until you have three filled layers.
For the best layer
- Add the last layer of lasagna in the opposite direction of the previous layer.
- Sprinkle with a little Parmesan and a ladle of sauce.
- Now that your traditional Italian lasagna is fully assembled, you can cover it with greased tin foil and bake it or refrigerate it the next day.
What to serve with the dish?
When serving an authentic Italian lasagna recipe with ricotta cheese, you’ll want to create a well-balanced and satisfying meal. Here are some traditional Italian side dishes and accompaniments that pair well with lasagna:
- Garlic Bread: Crusty garlic bread is a classic choice to serve with lasagna. You can make it by slicing a baguette or Italian bread, spreading garlic butter or olive oil, and toasting it until golden brown.
- Italian Salad: A simple Italian salad made with fresh lettuce, tomatoes, cucumbers, red onions, and olives dressed in olive oil, balsamic vinegar, salt, and pepper provides a refreshing contrast to the richness of lasagna.
- Antipasto Platter: Create a platter with a variety of Italian antipasto items like marinated artichoke hearts, roasted red peppers, cured meats (salami, prosciutto), and a selection of cheeses (mozzarella, provolone).
- Roasted Vegetables: Roasted vegetables such as bell peppers, zucchini, and eggplant drizzled with olive oil, garlic, and Italian herbs make a flavorful side dish.
- Fruit Salad: A simple fruit salad with a mix of seasonal fruits like melons, grapes, and berries can provide a sweet and refreshing contrast.
- Minestrone Soup: A light and hearty minestrone soup can be a great starter or side dish to complement the lasagna.
- Breadsticks: Grissini or Italian breadsticks are a crispy and enjoyable option to have on the side.
- Marinated Olives: A bowl of marinated olives, perhaps with some herbs and citrus zest, adds a salty and tangy element to your meal.
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Authentic Italian Lasagna Recipe With Ricotta
For meat sauce
- 1 tablespoon of olive oil
- 1 pound ground beef
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt
- ½ teaspoon of black pepper
- 5 cups tomato or marinara sauce
For Ricotta cheese filling
- 1 tablespoon of olive oil
- 32 ounces of whole milk ricotta cheese
- 2 large eggs
- ½ medium white onion, diced
- 1 tablespoon of chopped garlic
- 2 tablespoons of Italian seasoning
- ¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
Layers of lasagna
- 3 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
- ¾ cup grated Parmesan cheese
- 9 lasagnas prepared in the oven
- Preheat oven to 375˚ and heat a large skillet or pot over medium heat
- Add olive oil, ground beef, ground pork, salt and pepper. Cook the meat, stirring occasionally, until browned and cooked through.
- Add the Italian sauce and mix. Reduce the heat to low and cook for 10 minutes until the ricotta filling is set.
Ricotta cheese filling
- Heat a medium pan or skillet over medium heat on the stovetop.
- Add the oil and chopped onion and cook, stirring occasionally, for 3 minutes until softened.
- Add the garlic and Italian seasoning and continue to cook, stirring, for another minute.
- Remove the pan from the heat and place in a mixing bowl.
- Add the ricotta cheese, Parmesan cheese, egg, salt and pepper. Mix the ingredients thoroughly until well combined.
- In a small bowl, mix the Parmesan and mozzarella.
- In a 9×13 baking dish, spread approximately 1 cup of the meat sauce all over the bottom of the pan.
- Place three lasagna noodles on top of the sauce and fill them with one-third of the ricotta mixture.
- Place three lasagna noodles on top of the sauce and fill them with one-third of the ricotta mixture. Spread the mixture to cover most of the noodles.
- Fill the ricotta mixture with one-third of the grated cheese mixture, then top it with half of the remaining meat sauce.
- Repeat for another layer with 3 more noodles, the other third of the ricotta mixture, the other third of the grated cheese and the remaining meat sauce.
- To finish the third layer, add the last three noodles, the last third of the ricotta mixture and the last third of the grated cheese.
- Cover the baking dish tightly with foil and place in the oven on the middle rack and bake for 1 hour.
- Remove the foil for the last 10 minutes of cooking to brown the cheese.
- Remove the lasagna from the oven and let rest for 10-15 minutes before slicing and serving.
- Choose Quality Ingredients: Use high-quality ricotta cheese, lasagna, and good-quality Parmesan and mozzarella cheeses. Fresh and flavorful ingredients are key to an authentic taste.
- Homemade Tomato Sauce: If you can, make your tomato sauce from scratch using ripe tomatoes, garlic, onions, and herbs. A homemade sauce will enhance the overall flavor of the lasagna.
- Layering: Layering is crucial in lasagna. Start with a thin layer of tomato sauce at the bottom of the dish to prevent sticking. Alternate layers of noodles, ricotta cheese mixture, meat or vegetable filling, and cheese. Repeat until you’ve used up all your ingredients.
- Seasoning: Season each layer with salt, pepper, and a sprinkle of herbs like basil, oregano, and thyme. This ensures that every bite is flavorful.
- Meat or Vegetable Filling: If you’re adding a meat or vegetable filling, cook it in advance with onions, garlic, and seasonings. Drain any excess liquid to prevent the lasagna from becoming too soggy.
- Cheese Topping: Top the lasagna with a generous amount of mozzarella and Parmesan cheese. This creates a delicious golden crust when baked.
- Covering and Baking: Cover the lasagna with foil for the first part of the baking process to prevent excessive browning. Remove the foil for the last 10-15 minutes of baking to achieve that beautiful, bubbly, and golden top.
- Resting Time: Allow the lasagna to rest for 10-15 minutes after removing it from the oven. This helps the layers set and makes it easier to slice without falling apart.