I’ve sampled LOTS of lasagna. In the States, in Italy, all kinds, with a variety of fillings, meat, besciamel, butternut squash, spinach, mushrooms, and more more more.
But my favorite is the one I grew up with, The one that my mom made. The one I first learned to make. It’s simple. Three cheeses. Ricotta, Mozzarella, Parmigiano. And some tomato sauce. That’s it!
Of course, the pasta, too. In the “old days” it was lasagna sheets from a Ronzoni box…those sheets with the curly edges. Then I made my own homemade pasta sheets. I love how tender they can be…melt-in-your-mouth. And THEN, my almost every time fallback now: no-boil, oven ready lasgna sheets. In the finished dish, these have the taste and texture of homemade. And so easy! (Just be sure to coat each sheet with sauce to the edges and corners — doesn’t have to be sopped with sauce, just nicely coated.)
To keep the dish light and delicate, go light with your sauce in each layer, and light with your sprinkling of mozzarella, ricotta, and grated cheese. All these ingredients are wonderful, but they don’t have to be piled on thickly. Results are more elegant when you go easy. Tastier and easier to gobble up, too.
Try it! Recipe below. Also a short video where I show you each step of the recipe.
Classic Three-Cheese Lasagna
For the Sauce:
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium onion, small dice
1/4 cup dry white wine
1 – 28 oz & 1 -15 oz can crushed tomatoes
salt & pepper to taste
1 box (9 oz) Lasagna pasta, regular or no-boil
1 lb. or less mozzarella, grated on shredder side of a box grater
2-3 cups ricotta, seasoned with salt & pepper
1/4 cup cream or milk
1 cup grated cheese, parmigiano, pecorino or mixture
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
Make the Sauce: Heat a couple of tablespoons of oil in a large sauce pan. Add the onion and cook until it softens. Add the wine and let evaporate. Add the tomatoes and season with salt & pepper. Let simmer for 10-15 minutes.
Boil Pasta (if not using no-boil): Bring a pasta pot of water to a boil. Season well with salt. Add lasagna pasta and cook until al dente. Drain and run cool water over pieces.
No-Boil Pasta: If using no-boil pasta, no need to cook first— just layer into the lasagna and make sure each sheet has a light coating of sauce.
Make the Lasagna: Spoon a thin layer of sauce at the bottom of a pan about 9” X 13” and at least 3-inches deep. Place 3-4 pasta strips in one layer on top. Coat with a layer of sauce. Sprinkle some mozzarella. Stir milk into ricotta, season with slat & pepper. Spoon dollops of ricotta. Sprinkle some grated cheese. Repeat 3-4 more times until all the pasta sheets and ingredients have been used. On top layer, just spoon sauce to coat and sprinkle with some grated cheese.
Bake for about 45 minutes until the top is golden and the lasagna is bubbling. Let stand at room temperature for 15 minutes before cutting into squares and serving.