Well, those are some pretty big boasting words! “World’s Best” is maybe pushing it just a tad, but our dinner guests helped themselves to seconds and wiped their plates clean. OK, this lasagna powerhouse does take most of an afternoon, so be prepared to spend some time. But, oh how you will love it when dinner time rolls around. Your dining companions will be screaming for more, as did ours.
The back story is, John Chandler submitted this lasagna recipe to Allrecipes more than 20-some years ago. One of their top-performing recipes of all time, World’s Best Lasagna racks up more than 7 million views per year and has ranked among the most popular lasagna recipes on the internet for two decades!
Folks adore this lasagna recipe because it’s incredibly customizable, so you can easily alter the ingredient list to suit your needs. Our personal touches included using an entire pound of mozzarella, and a bit more grated parm than called for. Then a bit of the leftover meat sauce and mozzarella slices were the crowning feature.
While assembling, whether or not you lay the lasagna noodles length- or crosswise, you’ll likely have to trim them down a bit to fit the dish.
The assembled lasagna should take about 50 minutes to cook in an oven preheated to 375°. Cover it with foil for the first 25 minutes, then let it cook uncovered for the final 25 minutes. Also, it’s important to let the lasagna rest at room temperature for about 15 minutes before you cut into it.
We were all so excited to eat, I completely forgot to take photos of the finished lasagna, so snapped a couple of the leftovers…
World's Best Lasagna
- 1 lb. sweet Italian sausage
- ¾ lb. lean ground beef
- ½ cup minced onion
- 2 cloves garlic, crushed
- 1 28 oz. can crushed tomatoes
- 2 6.5 oz. cans canned tomato sauce
- 2 6 oz. cans tomato paste
- ½ cup water
- 2 Tbsp. white sugar
- 4 Tbsp. chopped fresh parsley, divided
- 1 ½ tsp. dried basil leaves
- 1 ½ tsp. salt, divided, or to taste
- 1 tsp. Italian seasoning
- ½ tsp. fennel seeds
- ¼ tsp. ground black pepper
- 12 lasagna noodles
- 16 oz. ricotta cheese
- 1 egg
- ¾ lb. mozzarella cheese, sliced
- ¾ cup grated Parmesan cheese
- Cook sausage, ground beef, onion, and garlic in a Dutch oven over medium heat until well browned. Remove as much excess grease as possible and discard.
- Stir in crushed tomatoes, tomato sauce, tomato paste, and water. Season with sugar, 2 tablespoons parsley, basil, 1 teaspoon salt, Italian seasoning, fennel seeds, and pepper. Simmer, covered, for about 1 1/2 hours, stirring occasionally.
- Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Cook lasagna noodles in boiling water for 8 to 10 minutes. Drain noodles, and rinse with cold water.
- In a mixing bowl, combine ricotta cheese with egg, remaining 2 tablespoons parsley, and 1/2 teaspoon salt.
- Preheat the oven to 375° F.
- To assemble, spread 1 1/2 cups of meat sauce in the bottom of a 9×13-inch baking dish. Arrange 6 noodles length- or crosswise over the meat sauce (which ever fits your dish the best). Spread with 1/2 of the ricotta cheese mixture. Top with 1/3 of the mozzarella cheese slices. Spoon 1 1/2 cups meat sauce over mozzarella, and sprinkle with 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese.
- Repeat layers, and top with remaining mozzarella and Parmesan cheese. Cover with foil: to prevent sticking, spray foil with cooking spray.
- Bake in the preheated oven for 25 minutes. Remove the foil and bake for an additional 25 minutes. Rest lasagna for 15 minutes before serving.
Recipe by John Chandler