Classic Lasagna Recipe

Lasagna has been around for eons, and by that, we mean since the Middle Ages. According to Mi'talia, the people of Naples, Italy, first made this cheese-filled dish, and we should all be writing them a thank-you letter. Lasagna later appeared in an English cookbook in the 14th century and gained worldwide popularity. There are many variations of this dish, but classic lasagna is the way to go if you want to keep things simple. This recipe includes layers of homemade ragu, cheese sauce, lasagna noodles, and even more cheese. After all, when it comes to lasagna, you simply cannot have enough cheese.

Recipe developer Catherine Brookes came up with this classic recipe that you'll definitely want to bookmark and make over and over again. "Lasagna is such a classic comfort food, perfect for a cold winter evening! This recipe makes a big batch, so [it's] perfect for feeding guests too," Brookes shares. "The classic combination of a flavorful tomato ragu and creamy white sauce layered with pasta and topped with a generous amount of cheese is just great!"

Gather the ingredients for classic lasagna

In order to make this classic lasagna, make a list and head to the store. Be sure to get olive oil, onion, red bell pepper, garlic, ground beef, a carrot, red wine, beef stock, tomato puree, chopped tomatoes, Worcestershire sauce, unsalted butter, all-purpose flour, milk, Parmesan cheese, lasagna sheets, mozzarella cheese, and cheddar cheese.

Once you have those things, you can make this classic lasagna recipe. 

Sauté the onion and bell pepper

For this recipe, you will need a large pot. Place the pot on your stove and then drizzle in the olive oil. Turn the heat to medium, and add the diced onion and red bell pepper. Continue cooking the veggies for about 8 to 10 minutes until they get nice and soft.

Then, you can add the garlic and let it cook for an additional minute. Be sure to stir the mixture constantly after you add the garlic.

Add ground beef and carrots

Now, it's time to toss in the ground beef. Crank the heat up to medium-high, and break it apart with a wooden spoon as it cooks. Once the beef is cooked through, add the grated carrot, stirring again to combine.

The next thing you will need to add is red wine. Stir well and let the mixture simmer for a few minutes before moving on to the next step.

Toss in the liquids

This step involves adding a lot of liquid to the mix to create the ragu sauce. Pour in the beef stock, tomato puree, chopped tomatoes, and Worcestershire sauce. Add a little salt and pepper to season it to taste. Stir everything together to combine, and then turn the heat up. Wait for the mixture to begin boiling, then reduce the heat and let it simmer for 45 minutes. "Make sure to let the ragu simmer for the full 45 minutes. This really helps the flavors to develop," Brookes notes. 

Make the white sauce

When the ragu mixture has 15 minutes left, you can whip the cheese sauce. First, add the butter to a saucepan and turn the heat to low. Once the butter melts, add the flour and whisk the two to combine. Let the mixture cook for a few minutes while whisking often.

Then, slowly pour the milk into the pan, making sure to whisk constantly until it's all incorporated. Bring the mixture to a simmer and whisk until the sauce thickens. Then, throw in the Parmesan cheese and take the pan off the heat.

Preheat the oven and assemble the lasagna

Preheat the oven to 400 F since you will need it to cook the lasagna. While you wait for the oven to warm up, assemble the lasagna. Take out a 12x18-inch roasting tin or oven dish. For the first layer, add a third of the ragu to the bottom of the pan.

Next, cover the ragu with a layer of lasagna sheets. For the next layer, spoon a third white sauce over the lasagna, spreading it out in an even layer. Repeat the same steps two times, alternating layers of ragu, pasta, and white sauce.

Add the cheese and bake

What lasagna would be complete without another layer of cheese? Sprinkle the grated cheddar and mozzarella cheese over the top of the last layer of white sauce. Pop it into the oven and bake for 40 minutes, until the cheese on top turns golden brown.

Cover the top with foil if you see the top browning too much before the rest of the lasagna cooks through.

Add parsley and serve

After removing the lasagna from the oven, add a little parsley if you desire. Thanks to all the filling layers, this is a meal in and of itself. If you want to spice things up and add something else, Brookes provides a few additional serving suggestions. "I like to serve [the lasagna] with greens such as broccoli, green beans, or peas," she shares. 

Maybe you will have a little left, so if you do, save it for a rainy day. "Leftovers will keep up to 4 days covered in the fridge. You can reheat portions in the oven or microwave," Brookes shares. 

Classic Lasagna Recipe
5 from 24 ratings
Lasagna is a classic dish that's ideal for family dinners. The recipes vary, but this traditional lasagna uses homemade ragu, white sauce, and lots of cheese.
Prep Time
Cook Time
classic lasagna in dish
Total time: 2 hours, 5 minutes
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 1 red bell pepper. diced
  • 3 large cloves garlic, crushed
  • 2 pounds ground beef
  • 1 large carrot, peeled and grated
  • ½ cup red wine
  • ½ cup beef stock
  • 2 tablespoons tomato puree
  • 2 (14-ounce) cans chopped tomatoes
  • 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
  • salt, to taste
  • black pepper, to taste
  • ⅓ cup unsalted butter
  • ⅔ cup all-purpose flour, or gluten-free flour
  • 3 cups milk
  • ½ cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 12 ounces lasagna sheets
  • ¾ cup grated mozzarella cheese
  • ¾ cup grated cheddar cheese
Optional Ingredients
  • chopped parsley, for garnish
  1. Heat the olive oil in a large pot on a medium setting. Sauté the onion and red pepper until softened, about 8-10 minutes. Then add the garlic and sauté for another minute, stirring constantly.
  2. Add the ground beef and turn the heat up to medium-high. Break the beef apart with a wooden spoon as it cooks, frying until it's no longer pink. Then stir in the grated carrot.
  3. Add the red wine, stir and let it bubble for a few minutes.
  4. Add the beef stock, tomato puree, chopped tomatoes, and Worcestershire sauce, and season it to taste with salt and pepper. Stir well, bring to a boil, then cover the pot and reduce to a low simmer. Leave to cook for 45 minutes.
  5. Once the ragu has about 15 minutes left to simmer, make the white sauce. First, melt the butter in a saucepan over low heat. Then add the flour and whisk well until smooth. Let this cook for a couple of minutes, whisking frequently.
  6. Gradually add the milk to the pan, whisking as you go until all of it has been added. Simmer and whisk until thickened.
  7. Stir in the grated Parmesan cheese and remove the pan from the heat.
  8. Preheat the oven to 400 F.
  9. To assemble the lasagna, add ⅓ of the ragu to the bottom of a 12x8-inch roasting tin or oven dish.
  10. Place lasagna sheets on top to completely cover the ragu.
  11. Spoon ⅓ of the white sauce and spread it out in an even layer.
  12. Repeat the steps above twice, layering ragu, then pasta, then white sauce.
  13. Sprinkle the grated cheddar and mozzarella cheese all over the top of the final white sauce layer and bake for 40 minutes until golden. If the top starts to brown too much in the oven, simply cover it with foil.
  14. Serve with chopped parsley scattered on top if you like.
Calories per Serving 1,119
Total Fat 65.0 g
Saturated Fat 31.1 g
Trans Fat 2.4 g
Cholesterol 200.8 mg
Total Carbohydrates 72.4 g
Dietary Fiber 6.4 g
Total Sugars 14.4 g
Sodium 1,519.7 mg
Protein 56.6 g
The information shown is Edamam’s estimate based on available ingredients and preparation. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.
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