The Finest Lasagna {Thousand Layer}

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Lasagna on a table with a piece on a white plate

If I told you this is the best lasagna recipe, would you believe me? Let us try it. This is a thousand-layer lasagna. I first posted the recipe in 2006 and still do it all these years later. Imagine dozens and dozen of whisper-thin sheets of fresh pasta smeared with a plain, bright red tomato sauce and threaded layer by layer with warm, moist, fresh mozzarella. Where sauce and cheese and pasta touch the pan, especially in the corners, everything becomes crispy and caramelized. The corner pieces, omg.

I should say this is not a lasagna trail for the faint of heart. This lasagna takes commitment, patience and a lot of time. Think of a weekend project. This is partly because you are using fresh pasta and there are a thousand layers. That said, I've streamlined the process a lot over the years. And will mention these tips in the recipe below.Lasagna in a glass baking dish on a marble worktop

How to Make Lasagna: The Basics

  • Start by making the sauce: The sauce I use for this lasagna is super simple, lively and a wink spicy.
  • Prepare the pasta: You either use homemade pasta or buy fresh pasta sheets. No dried pasta for this lasagna. The key will be to get your pasta sheet extra thin before cooking.
  • Assemble lasagna: You are on the home stretch.
  • to bake: Until golden, hot and bubbly – serve!

Close up of a baked uncut lasagna with cheese on top

Homemade pasta versus store-bought

Originally, I would always make this lasagna with homemade pasta sheets. At some point it dawned on me that I could buy pasta sheets and cut production a little. I would say it cuts your time in half. Either way, the main thing is that you want to get your pasta sheets super thin. So even when I buy pre-made pasta sheets, I leave them at home through my pasta machine a few times to make them even thinner.
Thin sheets of fresh pasta lay flat on a table

I'm using homemade pasta here, but the process is basically the same if you're using store-bought pasta sheets.
Pasta machine in the production of pasta sheets for lasagne

Can i freeze lasagna?

Yes indeed! Absolutely. You can keep it assembled, baked, or unbaked.

  • How to Freeze Unbaked Lasagna: Line your baking pan with a layer of parchment paper. Place the lasagna in the baking dish, let it cool completely and freeze until it is firm. After freezing, remove the frozen block of lasagna from the bowl, wrap completely in foil, and freeze for up to a month or two.
  • To finish off an unbaked frozen lasagna: Remove all layers of foil, you can decide whether or not to leave the parchment and transfer it to the original baking dish. Thaw completely before baking as instructed.
  • Freeze baked lasagna: When you know you're going to freeze your finished-baked lasagna, line your pan with foil and then a layer of parchment paper. Assemble the lasagna as instructed and then bake. I tend to put shading in here as I know I'll reheat later. After baking, allow to cool completely and then freeze firmly. Transfer the frozen lasagna from the baking dish, wrap tightly in foil, and freeze for up to a month or two.
  • Warming up a baked lasagna: Take the lasagna out of the freezer and remove the foil. Put in the original baking dish and let thaw completely. Cover with foil and bake according to the instructions until golden brown and bubbly.

Mixing lasagna in a glass casserole dish with pasta and tomato sauce and cheese

This is a good photo (above) that shows the ideal thickness of your pasta for this lasagna. The photo above shows you the desired amount of sauce as well as mozzarella.
Pre-cooked lasagna noodles on the countertop
What you see in the photo above are the cooked pasta sheets ready to be assembled. Due to the olive oil in the cooling water that you are using, the overlapping of the pasta sheets is not a problem here. They separate relatively easily.
Unbaked lasagna in a glass casserole dish
Ready for the Oven! This is what it looks like fully assembled and ready to bake. Of course, you can experiment with different pans and casserole dishes. You can make extra pasta and sauce and go extra deep. Once you get the hang of here, you can take the general idea and get started with it.
Close-up overhead shot of baked lasagna

A thousand layers of lasagna variations

Today I share the tomato-based "starter" version of this lasagna, but like to experiment through the seasons. I made roasted butternut squash + brown butter, or Pesto and ricotta – play around but keep the sauces + fillings simple and (key!) not too clunky. Some of the magic comes from the baklava-like layering of the pasta, one on top of the other. Just enough happens between each layer to keep everything moist, aromatic and light as a feather. Well, as light as a feather as lasagna can be.Custom shot of lasagna on a white plate

That makes such a fun lasagna. Especially when you're not in a hurry. Have fun, it's worth it when it comes out of the oven!

If you're looking for more pasta inspiration, this is where you can learn how to make fresh pasta. Homemade cavatelli are a blast, and I love this pesto forever, especially with these gnocchi.

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