I love Deep Dish Lasagna!! There is something so comforting about noodles with lots of marinara meat sauce layered in ricotta cheese with mozzarella and topped off with a little parmesan.
Deep Dish Lasagna is a staple in my home. I have been making this for so many years. Did you know lasagna is one of the oldest pasta dishes. It has been around for hundreds of years because everyone loves it. There is something about the ooey, gooey melted cheeses mixed in with all those robust tomatoes flavors. The flavors of tomatoes, cheese and noodles all meld together in one happy deep dish lasagna.
How to Make Deep Dish Lasagna
1. Make the marinara meat sauce. Start by chopping the onion into small pieces. I love using a food processor for this step. It has done away with many a weeping sessions as I cut onions.
I cut the top and bottom off of the onion. Peel off the outer skin of the onion and then cut it in half. Look inside, sometimes there is a little “onion paper” growing on the inside of the onion. Cut out the “onion paper”, then throw it away. Chop the onion in quarters and then place the pieces in a food processor. If you do not have a food processor, shop the onion any way you like.
2. Peel the garlic cloves and cut off the end that attaches to the bulb. Slice these into several pieces and place in the food processor with the onion. Pulse the food processor until you get the desired size you want. I like making them small enough that they will basically disappear when simmering in the marinara sauce.
If you do not have a food processor, chopping with a large knife works well too. Grating the peeled garlic cloves on the small side of a box grater has become my favorite way to prepare garlic.
3. In a large stock pot, break apart the hamburger and sausage into small pieces and cook on medium high heat. When the meat is almost cooked, add the onions and garlic and continue cooking. The onions need to be translucent and no pink should remain in the meat.
You can use any sausage you like. I prefer to use Jimmy Dean’s breakfast sausage. I also use this sausage when making my Pantry Meatloaf recipe.
The combination of two meats is amazing!
4. Once the meat and onions are cooked, add the four cans of diced tomatoes with the liquid. Also add the tomato sauce and tomato paste. If you are using fresh basil go to the next step. If using dried basil, add it at this point.
5. Use fresh basil if possible. Fresh basil has a deep, distinct taste. I purchase a plant at my local grocery store in the produce department. Pick off 20 – 25 leaves. Stack the leaves on top of each other and roll them into a tight roll. Cut across the leaves to make large ribbons of basil. I cut these ribbons into smaller pieces and then add these bits of basil to the marinara meat sauce.
6. Get this mixture boiling and then reduce to a simmer. Put the lid on the stock pot and simmer for 20 – 30 minutes. The longer you have to marry the flavors in your marinara meat sauce the better your lasagna will be.
Fresh basil makes a big difference.
7. While the marinara meat sauce is simmering get the other components of your lasagna ready. Get a large pan of water boiling and add a tablespoon of salt. When the water boils, add the dry lasagna noodles. Bring the water to a boil again and then cook for 12 minutes.
The last time I made this lasagna, I purchased Tuscanini Oven Ready Noodles. These do not need to be boiled before using them. I laid four sheets of noodles across the length of the pan over the marinara meat sauce. Later in the post, I discuss how to put the lasagna together. I will tell you how to use the Oven Ready noodles.
The Tuscanini Oven Ready Noodles were amazing and I will use them again and again. I purchased a three pack from Amazon for around $14. It is nice to eliminate one step of making lasagne and it is lessens the clean up.
Everyone loves Deep Dish Lasagna.
8. Mix the ricotta cheese with the eggs, dried parsley and 1/2 cup parmesan cheese. You can use fresh parsley as well in this recipe. I rarely have fresh parsley on hand, so the dried parsley works great for me. Lately, I have been on a Homemade Ricotta Cheese kick. Click on the link to get the recipe. You will not believe how easy it is to make.
This is one of those recipes that is a kitchen science experiment. You need only three ingredients, whole milk, salt and vinegar. You do need some cheesecloth to drain the cheese. The milk needs to cook for 10 minutes. There are holding and draining stages that take more time, but it is so fulfilling to make your own ricotta cheese. This should be done the day before so the ricotta cheese has a little time to set up.
Grate your cheese to get the best flavor!
9. Grate the mozzarella cheese or purchase already grated mozzarella. I am kind of snob about this. The cheese companies have to coat the grated cheese with a chemical to keep them from sticking together. For this reason, I like to purchase a block of mozzarella and grate my own.
10. Layering the lasagna.
Step 1. Place about a cup of marinara meat sauce in the bottom of a large 13 x 9 pan. I use this Cuisinart pan with handles on it which makes it easy to put in and out of the oven.
Step 2. The next layer is noodles. If you cooked your lasagna noodles, lay them overlapping each other a bit as you cover the meat sauce. If you are using the Tuscanini Oven Ready Noodles, lay four sheets next to each other. There is no need to overlap the noodles because these will increase in size during the baking and fill in the empty spaces.
Step 3. Place a large spoonful of the ricotta mixture on each noodle. Spread as best you can.
Step 4. Cover this with about 1 cup of mozzarella cheese.
Repeat steps 1-4 until the pan is full and then sprinkle on about 1/2 cup of parmesan on top of the last layer of the mozzarella cheese. In the Cuisinart Pan I talked about, I was able to make four layers with the Tuscanini noodles. The noodles are so small and thin you can get a lot more layers than regular lasagna noodles. I like to make the meat sauce layer very thin so you do not run out by the end.
Making thin layers = more flavor.
11. Bake in a 375° oven for 45 minutes. Once the timer goes off, turn off the oven and let the lasagna sit in the oven for at least 15 minutes to set up and cool just a little. Open the door of the oven so the heat can escape and the lasagna does not continue to cook.
Deep Dish Lasagna
- 1 Onion
- 3 Cloves Garlic
- 4- 14.5 oz. Canned Petite Tomatoes
- 8 oz. Tomato Sauce
- 6 oz. Tomato Paste
- 1 lb. Hamburger
- 1 lb. Sausage
- 20 Leaves Fresh Basil, or 2 tsp. dried basil
- 1 lb. Lasagna Noodles, Tuscanini Oven Ready Noodles
- 4-5 Cups Mozzarella Cheese, grated
- 1 Cup Parmesan Cheese, grated and divided
- 2 1/2 Cups Ricotta Cheese
- 2 Eggs
- 2 Tbsp. Dried Parsley Flakes
- Chop onion and grate garlic.
- Add hamburger and sausage to a stock pot.
- Cook until almost done. Chop the meat into small pieces as it is cooking.
- Add the chopped onion and grated garlic.
- Cook until the meat is cooked through and the onions are translucent.
- Add the tomatoes, tomato sauce and tomato paste.
- Cut fresh basil and add, or add dried basil.
- Bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer for 20-30 minutes with the lid on.
- Cook lasagna noodles in boiling water as directed on package, or use Tuscanini Oven Ready Noodles.
- Mix ricotta, 1/2 Cup parmesan, eggs, and dried parsley.
- Layer the lasagna in a deep 13 x 9 pan.
- Ladle in 1 cup of marinara meat sauce.
- Lay noodles on top.
- Spoon the ricotta onto the noodles. Use about a tablespoon of ricotta on each noodle and spread with the back of the spoon.
- Sprinkle on one cup of mozzarella cheese.
- Repeat last four instructions until the pan is full. On the last layer add 1/2 Cup of grated parmesan on top of the mozzarella.
- Bake at 375° for 45 minutes.
- Turn off the oven and leave lasagna in the oven to set up.
- Bring it out of the oven and let it sit at room temperature for 15 minutes before serving.