Chef John's Lasagna


A great lasagna only needs two things: a thick, rich, super-meaty sauce (and lots of it!) and a ricotta filling where only the finest cheeses are welcomed. For the sauce, I love a 50-50 combo of Italian sausage and lean ground beef.

Prep Time:
25 mins
Cook Time:
3 hrs 15 mins
Additional Time:
20 mins
Total Time:
4 hrs
1 10x15-inch lasagna


Meat Sauce:

  • 1 ½ pounds lean ground beef

  • 1 pound bulk Italian sausage

  • 1 (8 ounce) package fresh mushrooms, coarsely chopped

  • 1 teaspoon salt

  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

  • ½ teaspoon Italian seasoning (Optional)

  • ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes

  • 6 cups prepared marinara sauce

  • ¼ cup water, or as needed (Optional)


  • 1 (16 ounce) package lasagna noodles

Ricotta Filling:

  • 2 large eggs

  • 2 pounds whole-milk ricotta cheese

  • 8 ounces fresh mozzarella cheese, diced

  • cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese

  • ¼ cup chopped fresh parsley

  • 1 teaspoon salt

  • ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

  • 1 pinch cayenne pepper, or to taste

Cheese Topping:

  • 4 ounces fresh mozzarella cheese, diced

  • ½ cup freshly shredded Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese


  1. Make the sauce: Cook and stir ground beef and sausage in a large saucepan over medium heat until browned and crumbly, about 10 minutes. Stir in mushrooms, salt, black pepper, Italian seasoning, and pepper flakes. Increase the heat to medium-high and cook until mushrooms have given off their juices and the bottom of the pan is almost dry, 4 to 6 minutes.

  2. Pour marinara sauce into meat mixture. (If using jarred sauce, add a little water to each jar and shake to get all sauce out of the jar; add to meat mixture.) Reduce the heat to low and simmer until meat is extremely tender, about 2 hours; add more water if sauce becomes too thick. Skim fat, then season sauce with salt and black pepper. Turn off the heat.

  3. When the sauce is almost finished, make the pasta: Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cook lasagna in the boiling water, stirring occasionally, until cooked through but firm to the bite, about 8 minutes. Drain and rinse lasagna noodles; set aside in a bowl of cold water.

  4. While the pasta is cooking, make the filling: Whisk eggs in a large bowl, then stir in ricotta, mozzarella, Parmigiano-Reggiano, parsley, salt, black pepper, and cayenne.

  5. When the sauce, pasta, and filling are ready, preheat the oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C).

  6. Divide sauce into fourths, noodles into thirds, and filling in half for layering. Layer ingredients in a 10x15-inch baking pan, spreading out to fill the pan, as follows: one part sauce, one part noodles, one part filling. Repeat once more. Add one part sauce, then tap the dish lightly on a sturdy work surface to settle the layers. Continue with one part noodles and one part sauce. Sprinkle remaining fresh mozzarella and Parmigiano-Reggiano over top.

  7. Cover the baking dish with aluminum foil, making sure it doesn't touch the cheese. Place onto a baking sheet to catch any spills.

  8. Bake in the preheated oven for 30 minutes. Remove the foil and continue to bake until golden brown and bubbly, 30 to 35 more minutes. Let sit for 20 minutes before serving.

    top-down view of a bubbling hot lasagna with red sauce and browned mozzarella

Nutrition Facts (per serving)

730 Calories
39g Fat
50g Carbs
43g Protein
Nutrition Facts
Servings Per Recipe 12
Calories 730
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 39g 50%
Saturated Fat 20g 98%
Cholesterol 159mg 53%
Sodium 1514mg 66%
Total Carbohydrate 50g 18%
Dietary Fiber 5g 17%
Total Sugars 14g
Protein 43g
Vitamin C 5mg 24%
Calcium 524mg 40%
Iron 4mg 24%
Potassium 846mg 18%

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

** Nutrient information is not available for all ingredients. Amount is based on available nutrient data.

(-) Information is not currently available for this nutrient. If you are following a medically restrictive diet, please consult your doctor or registered dietitian before preparing this recipe for personal consumption.

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