Classic Italian Lasagna from scratch! (No ricotta!) The BEST most authentic lasagna recipe. You will never make another recipe again! | Tastes Better From Scratch
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4.78 from 48 votes

Classic Italian Lasagna

The BEST authentic lasagna recipe. Made with an easy homemade bechamel white sauce (no ricotta!) and red meat sauce.
Prep Time35 mins
Cook Time1 hr 15 mins
Total Time1 hr 50 mins
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American, Italian
Servings: 15
Calories: 337kcal
Author: Lauren Allen

Ingredients

Lasagna:

  • 9 regular lasagna noodles (or no-boil noodles)
  • 1 pound shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 8 ounces freshly grated parmesan cheese

Red Sauce:*

  • 1/2 pound ground beef
  • 1/2 pound ground Italian sausage
  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  • 4 cloves garlic , minced
  • 1/2 large onion , chopped
  • 1 1/2 cups fresh spinach leaves
  • 1/2 bell pepper (red or green), chopped
  • 16 ounces tomato sauce
  • 6 ounces tomato paste
  • 14.5 ounce can diced tomatoes
  • 2 teaspoons Italian seasonings
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper , to taste
  • 1 container fresh basil leaves , finely chopped (about 10-15 leaves)

White Sauce (béchamel sauce):

  • 4 Tablespoons butter
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 1/2 cups milk
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper , to taste

Instructions

Make the Red Sauce: (Can be made in advance).

  • In a large skillet, brown the ground beef and sausage over medium-high heat, breaking the meat apart into pieces with a wooden spoon. When cooked through, remove the grease. 
  • Add meat to a food processor and pulse just 3-4 times until it’s broken up into very small pieces. Remove to a bowl.
  • In the same skillet over medium-high heat, add olive oil. When oil is hot, add the garlic, stirring constantly for 30 seconds. 
  • Add the onion, spinach and bell pepper. Continue cooking on medium-high heat until the vegetables are softened –about 2-3 minutes. 
  • Remove from heat and transfer them to the same food processor. Pulse several times until they’re nearly pureed. 
  • Return mixture to the skillet and add the tomato sauce and tomato paste and stir to combine. Add the diced tomatoes, Italian seasoning, and salt and pepper to taste. Stir. 
  • Cover and allow the sauce to simmer for about 20-30 minutes on low heat, stirring occasionally. 
  • Right before using the red sauce in the lasagna, stir in the reserved crumbled ground beef and sausage, and fresh basil.
  • While the red sauce simmers boil the lasagna noodles for half the time suggested on the box. Drain into a large colander and sprinkle them with a tiny bit of olive oil to keep them from sticking together. (You can skip this step if you are using no-boil noodles).

For the White Sauce: (Can be made in advance).

  • Add the butter to a medium size saucepan or large skillet. Over medium heat. Once melted, add the flour, stirring constantly to combine 2 minutes. 
  • Gradually add in the milk, whisking until smooth. Season with salt and pepper. 
  • Cook over medium heat, whisking often so it doesn’t burn on the bottom, until it thickens-- about 5-7 minutes.

Assemble Lasagna:

  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease a 9X13-inch baking pan with cooking spray.
  • Keep in mind that there will be 3 layers of lasagna, so mentally split the sauces into thirds as you layer them to make sure you have enough at the end).
  • Start by layering the bottom of your greased pan with 3 lasagna noodles.
  • Spread the red sauce over the noodles, followed by the white sauce, Parmesan and mozzarella cheeses, spreading all to the edges. 
  • Top with another layer of noodles, then red sauce, white sauce, parmesan and mozzarella cheeses. 
  • Add the final layer of noodles, then red sauce, white sauce and cheeses.
  • Bake for 30 minutes. Allow the lasagna to sit for 15-20 minutes before serving.
  • I love to serve this with homemade breadsticks!

Video

Notes

*If you want to use bottled pasta sauce, instead of making the red sauce from scratch, heat 48 oz pasta sauce in a large skillet. Add cooked and crumbled meat, and chopped basil. 
 
Instructions for making ahead and freezing are listed above in the post!
 
Recipe Adapted from Mel's Kitchen Cafe

Nutrition

Calories: 337kcal | Carbohydrates: 11g | Protein: 19g | Fat: 23g | Saturated Fat: 12g | Cholesterol: 68mg | Sodium: 850mg | Potassium: 475mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 6g | Vitamin A: 1230IU | Vitamin C: 13.9mg | Calcium: 410mg | Iron: 2mg