Meet your new favorite lasagna.
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There are those recipes that are well worth the time it takes to make them, and a classic lasagna is definitely one of them. Nicole McLaughlin, aka NicoleMcmom shows you how to make her favorite lasagna from scratch, from creating the rich meat sauce to building up the signature layers. But this lasagna has a little something extra going for it — a ricotta béchamel sauce that elevates the dish to gourmet status. Watch the video up top and scroll down to get Nicole's own recipe and all her tips to make the best lasagna.

homemade baked lasagna with ricotta bechamel sauce in a casserole dish
Credit: Allrecipes

Get Nicole's recipe for Best Lasagna with Ricotta Béchamel

This recipe combines popular, easy-to-find, family-friendly ingredients, with an old-school, authentic Italian technique to make this lasagna unique and over the top. The creamy béchamel melts in your mouth and together with the fresh herbs, it really balances out the hearty flavor of the meat sauce. —NicoleMcmom

Ingredients

  • 1 pound ground sirloin
  • ½ pound ground Italian sausage
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 1 medium yellow onion, finely chopped
  • 1 ½ teaspoons kosher salt
  • 3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 4 cups canned crushed tomatoes
  • ¼ cup dry red wine
  • 3 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 teaspoon white sugar
  • ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh basil, plus more for garnish
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

For Ricotta Béchamel

  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 ⅔ cups whole milk
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • ⅛ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1 cup whole milk ricotta cheese
  • cooking spray
  • 1 (16 ounce) package lasagna noodles
  • 4 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
  • ¾ cup grated Parmesan cheese

Directions

  1. Prepare meat sauce: Heat a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add ground sirloin and sausage; cook and stir until browned and crumbly, about 8 minutes. Drain and set aside.
  2. Add olive oil to the Dutch oven. Add onion and salt and cook over medium-high heat, stirring often, until softened and translucent, about 5 minutes. Stir in garlic and sauté until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Add crushed tomatoes, red wine, tomato paste, sugar, black pepper, and crushed red pepper; stir until well combined. Stir in cooked meat and bring mixture to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer for 30 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in basil and parsley.
  3. While sauce is simmering prepare béchamel: Melt butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Whisk in flour, and cook, whisking constantly, for 3 minutes. Whisk in milk, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low, and simmer, stirring occasionally, for 15 minutes. Season with salt, pepper, and nutmeg. Remove from the heat and whisk in ricotta until smooth. Let stand 10 minutes.
  4. At the same time, bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Cook 12 lasagna noodles in the boiling water, stirring occasionally, until tender yet firm to the bite, about 8 minutes. Drain and rinse with cold water.
  5. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Lightly coat a 9x13-inch baking dish with cooking spray.
  6. Spoon ½ cup meat sauce into the bottom of the prepared dish. Place 4 noodles across sauce. Spoon ⅓ of remaining meat sauce over noodles. Add ½ of the béchamel sauce, then sprinkle with ⅓ of the mozzarella and ½ of the Parmesan cheese. Repeat layers once more. Top with remaining 4 noodles, remaining sauce, and remaining mozzarella cheese.
  7. Cover and bake in the preheated oven for 45 minutes. Uncover and bake until golden and bubbly, 10 to 15 minutes longer. Remove from the oven and let stand 15 minutes before serving. Sprinkle with additional fresh basil leaves.

Nicole's Top Tips

  • You can make the meat sauce two or three days ahead to save time when you assemble your lasagna.
  • Undercook the lasagna noodles slightly; they'll finish cooking when you bake the lasagna.
  • Once the lasagna is baked, resist the temptation to dig in right away. Let it stand for at least 15 minutes before slicing and serving. This helps everything come together to firm up the structure.

You can connect with Nicole as NicoleMcmom on Allrecipes and on Instagram @nicolemcmom.

More tips, tricks, and ideas from Nicole: