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The Best Ever Lasagna

My brother, Joe, created this lasagna based on our mom’s recipe. It’s a family favorite at Christmas, thanks to the special ingredients that make it magnifico. —Stephanie Marchese, Taste of Home Visual Production Director
  • Total Time
    Prep: 2-3/4 hours Bake: 1 hour + standing
  • Makes
    15 servings


  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 can (6 ounces) tomato paste
  • 2 cans (28 ounces each ) crushed tomatoes in puree
  • 6 cups water
  • 1 cup chopped fresh basil
  • 2-1/4 teaspoons sugar, divided
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 pound bulk Italian sausage
  • 4 Italian sausage links
  • 1 carton (16 ounces) whole milk ricotta cheese
  • 8 cups shredded mozzarella cheese, divided
  • 1 large egg, beaten
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried basil
  • 12 sheets no-cook lasagna noodles
  • 21 slices provolone cheese
  • 1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese


  • In a Dutch oven, cook onion in olive oil over medium heat until tender, 4-5 minutes. Add garlic; cook 1 minute. Stir in tomato paste and cook, stirring constantly, until fragrant, 3-4 minutes. Add crushed tomatoes, water, fresh basil, 2 teaspoons sugar and salt. Bring to a boil; reduce heat. Simmer 1 hour, stirring occasionally.
  • Meanwhile, cook bulk sausage in a skillet over medium heat until no longer pink, breaking into crumbles, 8-10 minutes; drain. Add to sauce; simmer until mixture is thickened, about 1 hour longer.
  • While sauce simmers, preheat oven to 350°. Place sausage links on a rimmed baking sheet; roast until cooked through, 35-40 minutes. Remove and let cool slightly; slice into 1/4-in.-thick pieces.
  • In a small bowl, mix ricotta cheese, 1 cup mozzarella cheese, egg, dried basil and remaining sugar.
  • In a greased 13x9-in. baking dish, spread 2 cups sauce. Arrange 4 noodles over sauce; spread with a third of the ricotta mixture. Add 7 provolone slices, a third of the sliced sausage and 1-1/2 cups mozzarella cheese. Repeat layers 2 more times, using only 1 cup sauce per layer. Spread with 2 cups sauce (reserve remaining sauce for serving on the side), remaining 2-1/2 cups mozzarella cheese and the Parmesan cheese (dish will be full).
  • Place dish on a rimmed baking sheet and bake, uncovered, until bubbly and deep golden brown, 60-65 minutes. Let stand 15 minutes before serving. Serve with remaining meat sauce.
Nutrition Facts
1 piece: 509 calories, 33g fat (15g saturated fat), 106mg cholesterol, 1185mg sodium, 27g carbohydrate (9g sugars, 3g fiber), 29g protein.
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  • Donna
    Sep 21, 2020

    I substitute sweet Italian sausage and love it!!!!

  • Suellen
    May 2, 2020

    After reading the reviews, it appears that some people really like this recipe. But I have a couple issues I would like to comment on. First, don't waste the extra money on no-cook noodles. I've been making my lasagna for 30 years using regular uncooked lasagna noodles and it comes out perfect every time. Also, any chef/cook worth their salt knows not to put fresh basil in the sauce this early. It will brown and turn bitter. Fresh basil is always added at the end to retain freshness. When I make my lasagna, I use half ground beef and half sausage. The ground beef tames the strong overpowering taste of the sausage. Lastly, I've never heard of putting provolone in lasagna. Seems like it would be waaay too much cheese! Don't think I could recommend this recipe.

  • Just a pinch
    Jan 4, 2020

    Too much Sausage, That's all you can taste. Traditional (Northern Lasagna) had much more flavor This is my tried and true recipe: 1 pound Italian sausage or hamburger 1 clove garlic, minced 1 tablespoon whole basil, optional 1 1/2 teaspoons salt 1 can tomato paste 1 pound can of tomatoes 10 ounces Lasagne Noodles, cooked, drained and rinsed Cheese Filling 3 cups cottage cheese 1/2 cup grated Parmesan or Romano cheese 2 teaspoons parsley flakes 2 teaspoons salt 2 eggs 1 teaspoon pepper 1 pound mozzarella, sliced very thin Sauce: Cook all together. Cheese Filling: Beat eggs, cottage cheese, grated cheese, parsley, salt and Pepper together. 13X9X2" baking dish Layer noodles. Spread with half the cheese filling, meat sauce and mozzarella. Repeat layers. Bake at 375 for 30 minutes.

  • Tanya
    Sep 8, 2019

    This is the best lasagna recipe I've ever made! Next time I will add more sausage to the sauce. It did take some time to make but my family thought it was well worth the effort.

  • Ken
    Aug 7, 2019

    If I printed out the recipe that my Sicilian friends gave me, It would be very close to this recipe. I love it. I doubt the Sicilian friends have no-cook lasagna noodles. BTW, to those that say they will used cooked noodles next time, don't forget to decrease the water. Cooked noodles won't take up that water. I would also say that all people are different and their tastes are different as well. The Italians from the North even have a different dialect and make different meals than the Italians (and Sicilians) in the South. Just accept what you like and discard what you don't like.

  • pajamaangel
    Mar 21, 2019

    No comment left

  • Mh2890
    Mar 3, 2019

    Flavor was not to our liking. No cook lasagna noodles did not cook-would recommend using cooked noodles. Flavor wasnand#039;t that great as the sausage over powered everything else. Also expensive to make - $40.00 to $50.00 average. A lot of effort to make. Would not make again or recommend others make it Remainder just went into the trash..

  • jay
    Feb 26, 2019

    No comment left

  • annsway1
    Feb 26, 2019

    Someone brought this to work; it was wonderful. Wouldn't change a thing; great old world flavor!!!!

  • Juanecita
    Feb 26, 2019

    Hi,Yes,too much is a particular family recipe as lasagna does NOT use provolone...and dried ready made pasta is also ridiculous.Lasagna does take much prep time...generally true lasagna does NOT use sausage.You can make a ground meat Bolognese sauce ,one day..and the next proceed to use it in the layers.Fresh mozzarella sliced thinly,not ready bought shredded cheese is far better.As you may see ,perhaps this recipe is more Italian authentic..which I have been making for some sixty years.Buon appetito.Gianetta