Main Dish | September 22, 2010

Blue Ribbon Lasagne

Blue Ribbon Lasagne is a classic in our home. I’ve been making it since we were first married. You know if I’ve been making a recipe for over 35 years, it has to be good!

I won’t go into the full story (again) about how I came to LOVE lasagne. Click here if you want to read that post. This recipe comes from one of the first cookbooks I owned as a new bride. It is found in the Heritage, aka “Patchwork” SLC Junior League cookbook (1975). I’ve changed up the recipe a bit to please our family, but the basic recipe is the same.

Blue Ribbon Lasagne, Still a classic

This recipe for Blue Ribbon Lasagne makes one large 9×13 pan, which yields 12 generous servings. If you’re looking for a classic lasagne recipe to feed a lot of people, this. is. it. Layers of pasta, thick meaty sauce, cottage cheese and melted mozzarella. Classic, filling and exactly what you think of when you’re looking for a textbook homemade lasagne.

Always a family favorite

Blue Ribbon Lasagne  has been the Foster family go-to lasagne recipe for years. Everyone loves it. We have had this main dish at countless  family dinners. The rest of the meal usually includes a cooked  green veggie, classic green salad and No-Fail French Bread. I love a dish that can be completely put together on a Saturday and ready for baking on Sunday.

A few tips for delicious lasagne

I feel like there are a couple of basic tips to successful lasagne making. First, don’t feel like you need to use a whole package of lasagne noodles or pasta in one recipe. I usually boil a 16 oz box of pasta, but rarely use every piece of pasta. If I remember, I take out about 4 pieces. Back when I first started making lasagne, I thought more pasta meant better lasagne, but I’ve changed my thinking. More pasta usually equals  a dry lasagne. When you crowd the pan with too many sheets of pasta, the pasta overpowers the dish and results in too much pasta and not enough sauce and cheese. So in this case, more is not better, more is just more! Second, Don’t overcook the pasta when boiling. Remember the pasta will also cook inside of the oven for one hour. Al dente, meaning “firm to the tooth” or firm to the bite is what you’re looking for when boiling pasta. It should be slightly underdone when cooking on the stove.  Read the package directions and cook the pasta about a minute or two less than directed. One more tip- salt the water you use to cook the pasta. Bring the water to a boil and carefully add about 2-3 tablespoons to the hot water.  Your pasta will have better flavor when cooked in salted water.

Everyone’s favorite meal

If you’re having company over, almost everyone loves lasagna so it’s the perfect dish for serving to guests. It’s fancy enough for guests,  but also one of the best down to earth comfort meals. I can’t think of a dish I loved more as a child than lasagne. Since my mom never made lasagne, I was so excited when I was invited over to a friend’s house and lasagne was on the menu.  I hope you love this recipe and hope it will become a favorite in your home too!

Blue Ribbon Lasagne

The best classic lasagne ever! Lots of rich meaty sauce, layers of pasta and cheese. Easy to make and perfect for any type of gathering. 

Course Dinner, Main Course
Cuisine Italian
Keyword dinner, Lasagna, main dish
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
resting time 15 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 30 minutes
Servings 12

Ingredients

For Sauce:

  • 1.5   lb ground beef or combo of ground beef and Italian Sausage
  • 2 onions chopped, about 4 cups chopped onions
  • 1-28 oz can tomatoes chopped
  • 1-15 oz can tomato sauce
  • 1-6 oz can tomato paste
  • 2 tablespoons oregano dried
  • 2 tablespoons parsley dried
  • 2 tablespoons basil dried
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ground pepper

Pasta:

  • 1- 16 oz package lasagne noodles I don't usually use up the whole package

Cheese layers:

  • 1 lb cottage cheese or a mixture of half cottage cheese, half ricotta
  • 2 eggs beaten
  • 2 lb grated Mozzarella cheese
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese for topping

Instructions

  1. Brown meat, drain off all grease, discard. Add onions and cook until transparent. Stir in remaining sauce ingredients. Simmer two hours, or more. 

  2. Cook Pasta al dente (usually a minute or two less than package directions).  Drain pasta. Set aside. If pasta sticks together, you may toss with some olive oil. 

  3. Mix cottage cheese and beaten eggs and set aside. 

  4. Grease a casserole (9x13 or larger) pan. Place a small amount of sauce in bottom of dish.

To assemble:

  1. Using half of each- layer pasta, then meat sauce, then cottage cheese mixture, and  grated Mozzarella cheese.  Repeat with remaining halves. Sprinkle top with grated Parmesan cheese. Bake at 350 degrees for 45-55 minutes or until bubbly and completely hot in the middle. 

  2. If the lasagne starts to get too browned, cover loosely with foil. 

  3. Let sit for 15 minutes before cutting. 

Recipe Notes

  • I love this recipe for Blue Ribbon Lasagne for many reasons, among those are-  is it travels well and also freezes well. If you have to make this ahead and bake before you take it to go, bake completely at home, then spray a sheet of foil with cooking spray (such as PAM) on the side of the foil facing the lasagne.  This will prevent sticking of the foil to the cheese and keep your lasagna warm.  I like to travel with lasagna in a cooler that has been lined with newspapers. A plain old cardboard box works as well. Cardboard and newspaper as a liner will keep items hot for HOURS. The newspaper and cardboard act as insulation and really hold the heat. A cooler works this way as well.
  • If you are freezing the lasagne, simply put together in the dish and cover immediately with plastic wrap tightly and freeze. When ready to use, remove plastic wrap and take the lasagne out of freezer and let thaw on counter for about an hour before baking. OR remove straight from freezer and bake at 325 for about 1 1/2 hours. Check the middle of the pasta to make sure it is completely cooked. 

15 thoughts on “Blue Ribbon Lasagne

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  1. can i use those way fab no-cook lasagna noodles in this recipe too?
    this is making me WAY hungry by the way! i'm practically drooling all over my desk at work.

  2. Yes Anon, you could use no cook lasagne in this recipe. You may need to adjust the amount of liquid though. For the no cook lasagne, read the package directions and use the proper amount of liquid to pasta ratio for best results. Be careful about the drooling at work… 🙂

  3. Gemmie,
    Sometimes, I do freeze the other pans. Just prepare as directed, cover well with foil. Do not bake until ready to serve. Do not thaw before baking, bake straight from freezer.
    I reduce the heat to 325 degrees and add about 1/2 hour cooking time. Lift the foil and loosely tent it over the lasagne until about the last half hour of baking. Check the middle of the dish with a knife to make sure it is completely cooked through.

  4. What a shock to see this receipe. I live in England and when i was 18 many years ago i lived in SLC for a year. The one souvenir i brought back with me was the Junior league cook book. I have to say mine is stuck together with a lot of celotape and pages stuck together or missing. So glad to have this receipe for lasagne again. Simply the best. Thank you.

  5. Jackie,
    No, I haven't tried this dish with no boil noodles, I'm sure it would be fine. just follow the no boil package directions. Happy cooking!

  6. I just made this for a bunch of high school cross country runners and it was sooooo good! I thought I would have plenty for my family to eat tonight, but they about finished it all up. I used the no boil lasagna noodles and just added a quarter cup of water around the edges of the pan just before I put it in the oven – worked perfect!

    1. Heather!
      A delicious and easy carb dinner! I hope it helped your team run the fastest! Glad you liked using the no boil noodles -isn’t that a great time saver? Thanks for your positive comments!
      xo,
      Si