December 25, 2021 – Updated December 30, 2022

My son-in-law’s mother always made lasagna for her family so hopefully this one will continue the tradition.


  • Prep Time: 30 min
  • Cook Time: 2 hrs 30 min
  • Other: 15 min
  • Total Time: 3 hrs 15 min
  • Servings: 12


  • 1 pound sweet Italian sausage
  • 3/4 pound lean ground beef
  • 1/2 (80g) cup minced onion
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1 (28 ounce) can crushed tomatoes
  • 2 (6 ounce) cans tomato paste
  • 2 (6.5 ounce) cans canned tomato sauce
  • 1/2 cup water (or red wine)
  • 2 tablespoons white sugar
  • 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons dried basil leaves – See Adjustments
  • 1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds – See Adjustments
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt, divided, or to taste
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 4 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley (divided)
  • 12 lasagna noodles
  • 16 ounces ricotta cheese
  • 1 egg 
  • 3/4 pound mozzarella cheese, sliced (or shredded)
  • 3/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese


  • In a Dutch oven cook sausage and ground beef over medium heat until well browned. Drain.
  • Add onion, garlic and cook over medium heat until onions are translucent.
  • Stir in crushed tomatoes, tomato paste, tomato sauce, and water/wine. Season with sugar, basil, fennel seeds, Italian seasoning, 1 teaspoon salt, pepper, and 2 tablespoons parsley. Simmer, covered, for about 1 1/2 hours, stirring occasionally.
  • Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Cook lasagna noodles in boiling water for 8 to 10 minutes. Drain noodles, and rinse with cold water. In a mixing bowl, combine ricotta cheese with egg, remaining parsley, and 1/2 teaspoon salt.
  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C).
  • To assemble, spread 1 1/2 cups of meat sauce in the bottom of a 9×13-inch baking dish. Arrange 4 noodles lengthwise over meat sauce. Spread with one half of the ricotta cheese mixture. Top with a third of mozzarella cheese slices. Spoon 1 1/2 cups meat sauce over mozzarella, and sprinkle with 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese. Repeat layers, and top with remaining mozzarella and Parmesan cheese. Cover with foil: to prevent sticking, either spray foil with cooking spray, or make sure the foil does not touch the cheese.
  • Bake in preheated oven for 25 minutes. Remove foil, and bake an additional 25 minutes. Cool for 15 minutes before serving.

Nutrition Facts Per Serving: 448 calories; protein 29.7g; carbohydrates 36.5g; fat 21.3g; cholesterol 81.8mg; sodium 1400.4mg. Full Nutrition


  • Recommendations for changed spices:
    • Use fresh basil. 1/2 – 2/3 cups chopped
    • There’s probably enough fennel taste in the Italian sausage that these can be omitted (my wife isn’t a fennel fan)
    • Try a dash of nutmeg in the ricotta mixture
    • No added salt. Enough in the canned tomatoes and sausage
  • Many suggest not cooking the noodles. Just put them in a hot tap water and soak 20-30 minutes to soften them up a bit. They will cook in the oven. My son-in-law says his mother started trying this and he didn’t think the results were as good. The pasta I use says cook 8 minutes and the noodles still held up well in the finished lasagna.
  • Use red wine instead of water
  • Make a day in advance and let it sit in the refrigerator. Bring to room temperature before starting cooking


  • 2021-12-25 – Video shows making 3 layers of 4 noodles vs. 2 layers of 6 noodles. I added 4 more noodles to make another layer and will make 4 layers of 4 noodles next time. I’ve included a lot of suggestions found in the original recipe and will likely try a number of them next time.
    • Update after heating/eating – Cooking took about 15 minutes longer, likely because of the extra noodles. Everyone thought this was a very good lasagna but I still plan to make some of the changes noted in adjustments next time. Also, updated initial cook of the meat to allow draining excess fat.
  • 2021-12-30 – Changed recipe instructions to use 4 noodles per layer and works properly with 12. Still used dried basil, wine vs. water, didn’t include fennel and did cook the noodles for 9 minutes. Had to add a little extra cheese to the top but this was likely because I added too much in the lower layers. Used the red Emil Henry casserole dish. Worked great!