Three-Layer Lasagna

by Kathy Strahs on October 1, 2009 · 26 comments

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When I assemble a lasagna – or any layered dish, really – it feels a bit like an art project. Like a pasta-based mosaic, where you thoughtfully arrange all the individual components in such a way that when it all comes together you have something exciting to behold. It’s almost therapeutic.

Maybe that’s giving the humble lasagna a little more poetry than it warrants, but it’s definitely a dish that’s as enjoyable to make as it is to eat. This Three-Layer Lasagna is a classic recipe from Barilla, with layers of sweet Italian sausage, and ricotta, mozzarella and Parmesan cheeses. It’s a somewhat cheesier version than what I grew up with, but I like it. Next time I might incorporate some chopped spinach in with the cheese for a little color and to get some vegetables in there (that’s my mommy side talking). But nonetheless it was a highly satisfying dish – one that freezes well too!

Three-Layer Lasagna

Three-Layer Lasagna
Adapted from the back of the Barilla Lasagne box


9-12 lasagna noodles (about 1/2 of a 1 lb. box)
1 lb. bulk Italian sausage or ground beef, cooked and drained
2 jars marinara sauce
1 container (15 oz.) ricotta cheese
4 cups (16 oz.) shredded mozzarella cheese
1/2 cup (2 oz.) grated Parmesan cheese
2 eggs, lightly beaten


Preheat the oven to 375°F.

Cook noodles according to package directions; drain and separate. In a large saucepan, combine cooked meat and 1 1/2 jars of marinara sauce, simmer 5 minutes.

In a large bowl, combine ricotta cheese, 3 1/2 cups mozzarella cheese, Parmesan cheese and eggs. Spray 13″ x 9″ baking dish with cooking spray. Spread 3/4 cup marinara sauce over the bottom of the baking dish. Place 3-4 lasagna noodles over the bottom, slightly overlapping. Spread half of the cheese mixture over the noodles and cover with half of the meat sauce. Repeat layers. Cover last layer with remaining noodles and remaining marinara sauce. Sprinkle with remaining mozzarella cheese.

Cover with foil and bake for 30 minutes. Remove foil and bake for an additional 10 minutes. Let stand 10 minutes before serving.

See the Recipe Index for all the recipes on Cooking On the Side.

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amanda October 1, 2009 at 1:33 PM

looks gorgeous, kathy! total food porn! 🙂


dawn October 1, 2009 at 2:52 PM

well that looks easy and super tasty!
.-= dawn´s last blog ..feta & raisin dip =-.


kasha October 1, 2009 at 8:44 PM

I just want to eat your picture. Even if I followed your recipe I don’t think it would look so scrumptious. I also love your lemon broccoli recipe. So fresh and delicious. Thank you!


nina October 2, 2009 at 5:24 AM

Your art project is definitely worth the effort. I cannot think when last I saw a more delicious looking lasagna!!!


Jessica October 2, 2009 at 2:46 PM

Lasagna takes a lot of work, but it’s definitely worth it in the end! I love having a bunch of friends over and making lasagna together. It helps to have those extra hands in the kitchen!


HoneyB October 3, 2009 at 4:01 PM

Lasagna is Grumpy’s fav meal! Your making me think I really should make it for him soon!
.-= HoneyB´s last blog ..Chicago Deep Dish Pizza ala Cooking Light and my birthday =-.


Valerie@CookingSharp October 3, 2009 at 4:39 PM

That’s quite lovely. I’ve been wanting to make lasagna, but haven’t been able to find any ricotta cheese in town. Guess I’ll have to go to the big city soon so I can get some and try this recipe!
.-= Valerie@CookingSharp´s last blog ..Crunchy Cookies Vintage Recipe =-.


Olivia October 6, 2009 at 6:24 PM

I’ve begun a ritual of making one homemade meal a night for my mom and her husband – and this was my second recipe. My mom’s husband said that it was the best lasagna and he couldn’t have gotten it better in a restaurant. He ate almost half! It was a great success, so thanks for posting the recipe!


Kathy October 6, 2009 at 10:06 PM

That’s so awesome – I’m so glad it was such a success. Way to go!


Aircda December 11, 2009 at 11:12 AM

I love your pictures, so mouth watering. I am going to try this for New Years day, I love making the pasta. Thanks for putting this up.
.-= Aircda´s last blog ..Automatic Pasta Maker =-.


Meseidy March 19, 2010 at 12:15 PM

This lasagna looks beautiful and I love the concept of your blog. I will be back to visit.
.-= Meseidy´s last blog ..Better Than Takeout Orange Chicken =-.


Sarah August 11, 2011 at 4:14 PM

I, too, love this recipe. I’ve been making it for a couple of years now and think it’s probably the easiest and the best lasagna recipe I’ve ever tried. I like taking box recipes and altering them once I get comfortable enough with them. Last night I decided to saute two pressed garlic cloves and a sweet onion in the meat after I drained the fat. Then at the end of the layering, instead using shredded mozzarella on top I decided to slice fresh mozzarella to finish it and then sprinkle freshly chopped basil. Beautiful and delicious! This was the best one yet! I also made homemade garlic bread with french baguette, butter, and pressed fresh garlic cloves. A wonderful accompaniment to this rich and tasty dish!


Kathy Strahs August 11, 2011 at 5:26 PM

That sounds so fabulous, Sarah – way to get creative!


Elizabeth Sayre October 21, 2012 at 4:17 PM

This is the only recipe I use for lasagne, except the last time, I used the no-bake lasagne noodles. I was a little skeptical at first but it turned out just fine. And so much easier.


Kathy Strahs October 21, 2012 at 6:07 PM

The no-bake noodles definitely are convenient!


carolyn December 31, 2012 at 8:47 PM

any suggestions on how to break the no boil flat lasagna noodles, without them crumbling, so they fit properly in the pan & how much should they overlap


Kathy Strahs January 1, 2013 at 5:00 PM

I’ve never actually tried to break them before – usually they fit comfortably in an 8×8 or 13×9 baking pan. I don’t think they’re really meant to be broken. A little overlap is fine, you just want to make sure to use plenty of sauce so the noodles soften.


Gail February 3, 2013 at 1:45 PM

I’m so grateful to you for this! The Barilla site is a labyrinth to negotiate, especially for lasagna recipes, and the most recent box of Barilla noodles I bought no longer carries the recipe. Thanks to you and this post, I’m making lasagna tonight! I’m not only bookmarking this, I’m bookmarking your site. Glad to see you’re still adding to it.


Mike April 29, 2013 at 2:26 PM

This is quickly becoming my go to quick lasagna recipe. Thanks.


Laura Perry December 12, 2014 at 5:41 PM

Any tips on making this and freezing it for later then cooking it? Do you thaw first then bake same as instructions or bake frozen? I’m 6 months pregnant and doing prep so we have easy meals for after baby! Love this recipe but don’t want to ruin it after I freeze and thaw after putting all that time and ingredients into it!
Thanks in advance!
First time mom!
Laura Perry´s last blog post ..All-in-One Cake (with Edible Flowers!)


Kathy Strahs December 12, 2014 at 6:24 PM

Hi Laura — I haven’t tried freezing this before, but I found some helpful guidance in this Martha Stewart recipe: — looks like it might be best to freeze it unbaked. Best of luck to you and your new addition! ~ Kathy


Tamara February 2, 2015 at 7:08 PM

I have made this recipe several times. It’s been a while though and am glad I found it here. Thanks!!! Lasagna always comes out delicious. I do tweak it a bit to my family’s liking. I usually use more meat, less sauce and double the mozzarella. Mmmmm


Tamara February 2, 2015 at 7:09 PM

*I’m 🙂


Kathy Strahs February 2, 2015 at 7:12 PM

I recently made it again too, adding in spinach. Love recipes like this that are adaptable! ~ Kathy


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