Happy Holidays – Italian Style

Traditional Holiday Lasagna…

The Christmas season is a time to celebrate with your loved ones, and nothing brings people together like a delicious meal. If you are looking for a dish that is easy to prepare, satisfying, and can feed a large group, lasagna is a great option.

Lasagna is a layered pasta dish that originated in Italy but has become popular all over the world. It consists of sheets of pasta, cheese, sauce and various fillings, such as meat, vegetables or seafood. Lasagna can be made ahead of time and baked in the oven when you are ready to serve it. It also reheats well, so you can enjoy the leftovers for days.

There are many variations of lasagna, but one of the most classic and popular ones is lasagna alla bolognese, which features a rich meat sauce and three Italian cheeses.

You can make this lasagna up to two days ahead of time and refrigerate it before baking. You can also freeze it for up to two months. Just thaw it overnight in the refrigerator before baking.

Lasagna is a festive dish that will please everyone at your Christmas table. Enjoy it with a green salad and some crusty bread for a complete meal.

Buon appetito!

Traditional Holiday Lasagna

Prep time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 2 hours, 50 minutes
Servings: 8


  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • Pinch kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 lbs. ground beef
  • 1 lb. Italian sausage, bulk or removed from casings
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 1 (28-oz.) can San Marzano tomatoes, with their juice
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 lb. dried lasagna noodles
  • 2 lbs. whole milk ricotta cheese
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh basil leaves
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh oregano leaves
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan, plus more for final topping
  • 1 lb. fresh mozzarella cheese, grated

Step 1: In a large Dutch oven or heavy pot, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion, garlic and a pinch of salt and sweat them until they’re translucent, about 2 minutes. Add the ground beef and sausage, and season with another healthy pinch of salt. Cook until the meat is browned, about 10 minutes. Stir in the white wine, tomatoes and their juice, and the bay leaves. Scrape the bottom of the pot with a wooden spoon, making sure to get all of the browned bits into the sauce. Season the sauce with salt, to taste, and simmer for 2 hours over low heat. Remove the bay leaves and let cool. Skim any fat that rises to the surface.

Step 2: Bring a large pot of water to a boil over medium heat. Add enough salt so it tastes seasoned and allow the water to return to a boil. Add the noodles and cook until al dente. Drain well and set aside.

Step 3: In a medium bowl mix together the ricotta, parsley, basil, oregano, eggs and Parmesan with a pinch of salt.

Step 4: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Ladle about 1 cup of sauce on the bottom of a lasagna pan. Arrange a layer of noodles followed by a layer of sauce and then some of the ricotta mixture. Top with a layer of mozzarella, smoothing it with a spatula to the edges. Repeat the process until the pan is full. Finish with a final layer of noodles, sauce, the mozzarella and Parmesan.

Step 5: Cover the lasagna with aluminum foil and bake for 1 hour. Uncover and bake for an additional 30 minutes. Remove the pan from the oven and let it rest, 5 to 10 minutes before serving.

About Terry Olson

Terry loves culinary arts, adult beverages and hiking in the North State wilderness. You may find him soaking up the sun at one of our area’s many state or national parks or sitting on a barstool sipping on a cold locally brewed craft beer.

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