Classic Italian Lasagna

Classic Italian Lasagna.

I’ve shared before, and I’ll declare again… although I don’t have a drop of Italian heritage (that I know of) in me, I am an Italian “wannabe.”

I love cooking and eating Italian food.

Years ago – even before I was married – I worked with a young Italian woman who generously shared her Mom’s classic Italian lasagna recipe with me.

I have never made it any other way.  It is simple and classic and DELICIOUS!

I’ve adapted it to a smaller portion than the recipe originally shared with me since these days this size will last Hubby and I plenty long enough to almost grow tired of eating it for so many days in a row…. ALMOST!

When you are craving classic Italian lasagna, I hope you will give this recipe a try.  Here is how I make it.



  • 1 quart marinara tomato sauce
  • 1 lb. ground beef, pork, turkey (or combination)
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 box Barilla Oven Ready Lasagna Noodles
  • 2 cups Ricotta cheese
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp dried basil or 1/4 cup freshly minced basil
  • 1/4 cup chopped parley
  • 1 lb. fresh Mozzarella cheese, thinly sliced
  • 8 oz.  Parmigiano Reggiano (Parmesan) cheese, freshly grated


Heat olive oil in saucepan.  Add chopped onions and minced garlic, and saute until soft.  Add ground meat, and cook until browned.  Add marinara tomato sauce and simmer.

In medium bowl, mix Ricotta cheese, egg, salt, basil, and parsley.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

In 8 or 9 inch square baking dish, spread 1/2 cup prepared meat sauce on bottom.  Layer with lasagna noodles – overlapping to cover.  Layer with half of Ricotta cheese mixture.  Top with sliced Mozzarella cheese.  Spoon more sauce over cheese to cover.  Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.   Repeat layering.  End with sauce topped with remaining Mozzarella and sprinkled with Parmesan.

Cover with foil.  Bake 25 minutes.  Remove foil.  Bake 20 minutes longer or until browned and bubbly.  Cool 15 minutes before cutting and serving.

Mangia tutti!

Cheers & Hugs,


Roasted Butternut Squash & Spinach Lasagna


Roasted Butternut Squash….
Fresh Baby Spinach…
Spicy Pepperoni…
Cheese, Cheese, and just a little more Cheese….

O. M. G!

This might seriously be the most delicious thing I have ever made…

Roasted Butternut Squash and Spinach Lasagna.

(Either that or I was just totally craving butternut squash…. which I was… but still…)


When I saw one of my blogging buddies, Jenna at The Painted Apron, share this recipe a few days ago, I could not resist making it that same evening!


I may have added a bit more cheese (because… well…. just because…) and Jodi’d it up a teensy bit, but Jenna totally gets the credit for sharing this amazingness!!!

This is one of those recipes where you kinda moan in delight after each bite.  (Well – at least I did!)  Hubby absolutely loved it too.  A LOT!

And when I shared some with my son, Nick – he called it “ridiculous!”

I think this might just be my absolute favorite lasagna recipe ever, and I can’t wait to make it again and share for company or a potluck or party.

Okay – I think I’ve told you enough how much I loved this.  Now – please – go make it – and tell me it isn’t so!

Roasted Butternut Squash & Spinach Lasagna


  • 6 Barilla Oven Ready Lasagna Pasta Sheets
  • 1 Butternut Squash, cubed
  • 3-4 cloves garlic, minced
  • Salt & Pepper
  • 1/4 tsp ground ginger
  • 3 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 cup chopped pepperoni slices
  • 2-3 cups fresh baby spinach
  • 2 cups ricotta cheese
  • 6 oz (4 thick slices) fresh Mozzarella cheese
  • 1/4 cup freshly grated  Parmigiano Reggiano cheese

Parmesan Cream Sauce

  • 3/4 cup half and half
  • 1/4 cup white wine
  • 2 Tbsp butter
  • 2 Tbsp flour
  • 1 cup freshly grated  Parmigiano Reggiano cheese


Place cubed butternut squash on a baking stone/sheet and sprinkle with salt, pepper, ginger, and minced garlic.   Roast at 425 degrees F for 20 mins.

Place chopped pepperoni slices on a paper towel or napkin lined plate and microwave on high for 20 seconds to render the fat.

Prepare sauce by combining butter, milk and wine (or water) in a small sauce pan over medium-high heat.  Bring to a boil.  Briskly whisk in flour until incorporated and thickened.  Stir in 1 cup Parmigiano Reggiano.

Spread about 1/4 sauce on the bottom of 9×9 square baking dish.   Place two lasagna sheets side by side on top of sauce.  Layer half of the roasted butternut squash on top, followed by half of the fresh spinach, half of ricotta, a sprinkle of salt and pepper, and half of the pepperoni.  Top with another 1/4 of sauce and repeat layers.

Top with remaining 2 sheets of lasagna and spread with remaining sauce.  Add sliced mozarella cheese and a few reserved pieces of pepperoni.  Finally top with 1/4 cup Parmigiano Reggiano.

Bake in 350 degree F oven uncovered for 30 minutes, or until hot and browned and bubbly.   Let set for 10 minutes before serving.  Enjoy!

Cheers & Hugs,



Zucchini Lasagna

The Challenge:  Take a classic recipe, and make a healthier version.

That was the assignment my son, Nick’s girlfriend, Liz, had for her final assignment in a cooking class she is taking as part of her Master’s Degree Program in Nutrition.

We were excited to help her out and have her cook dinner for us last evening.

And she rocked it!  This Zucchini Lasagna recipe is a KEEPER!  I do believe I like it even better than the classic version.

Liz was sweet enough to allow me to photograph her and share the adventure and recipe here with all of you.


One of the joys of cooking is appreciating and embracing the fresh ingredients that make a recipe so wonderful – like the smell of fresh basil.


And the only thing better than smelling fresh basil is the smell of sauteed onions and garlic in olive oil!


For the meat sauce, Liz used lean ground turkey instead of beef or sausage, and when mixed with crushed tomatoes, fresh basil, onions and garlic, you would never know you are “missing” anything – except you get the bonus of less fat and calories!


This adorable amateur in the kitchen totally mastered using a mandolin (which she formerly only knew as a musical instrument 🙂 ) to perfectly slice the zucchini to replace the pasta noodles.


And of course Mikey was on his steadfast “clean the floor” duty making sure no crumb is left behind (and yes – he even likes raw zucchini).


This recipe even includes mastering the grill, so Nick was in charge of instructions here, and the zucchini strips were char-grilled beautifully.


Yummy ricotta and Parmesan cheeses are mixed with some parsley, salt, pepper, and an egg for the traditional filling.


Everything was layered, using the zucchini strips as “noodles” and topped with fresh slices of mozzarella for that extra yumminess.


And who can’t resist an extra sprinkle of freshly grated Parmesan on top before diving in?!

Here is the recipe Liz used as adapted from

Zucchini Lasagna

Ingredients:  z

  • 1 lb ground turkey
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 onion, chopped
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 28 oz can crushed tomatoes
  • 4 Tbsp chopped fresh basil
  • 4 medium zucchini, sliced thin
  • 24 oz part-skim ricotta cheese
  • 1 Tbsp fresh or dried parsley
  • 1 1/2 lbs. part-skim fresh mozzarella cheese, sliced
  • 1/2 cup shredded Parmigiano Reggiano
  • 1 large egg


In a medium sauce pan, brown ground turkey.   Season with salt.  Remove from pan to bowl, and add olive oil to the pan.   Saute garlic and onions about 2 minutes.  Return the meat to the pan, add tomatoes, basil, salt and pepper. 

Simmer for 30-40 minutes, covered.

While sauce is simmering, slice zucchini into 1/8″ thin slices.  Salt lightly, and set aside for 10 minutes. Zucchini has a lot of water when cooked, salting it takes out some of the moisture. After about 10 minutes, aggressively blot excess moisture with a paper towel.

On a gas grill or grill pan, grill zucchini on each side, until cooked, about 1-2 minutes per side. Place on paper towels to soak any excess moisture.

Preheat oven to 375° F.

Stir together ricotta and Parmesan cheese, parsley, salt, pepper and egg in a medium bowl.

With zucchini, sauce, and cheese mixture complete, you are ready to begin assembling the lasagna.

In a 9×12 inch casserole, spread half the sauce on the bottom and layer the zucchini to cover. Then place the ricotta cheese mixture topped with half  of the mozzarella cheese.

Repeat with remaining sauce, another layer of zucchini, mozzarella and a bit of extra Parmesan.

Cover with foil, and bake for 45 minutes.

Uncover, and bake an additional 15 minutes.

Let stand 10 minutes before serving to “set.”


Thanks, Liz, for being such a good sport and for being such a bright spot in our lives.  We love you!  🙂

And you all are going to love this recipe!

Cheers & Hugs,