I Tested Ina Garten’s Lasagna and Yes, This Recipe Is a Keeper
Find out why this Ina Garten Lasagna recipe, made with turkey sausage and fresh mozzarella, is so delicious.
Ina Garten won us over with her indulgent overnight mac and cheese, taught home cooks how to make a really creamy cucumber salad and gave us a weeknight-worthy dinner in her shrimp scampi. We’re beginning to believe that the Barefoot Contessa has a near-perfect version of any dish. To see if it’s true, I decided to put the Ina Garten Lasagna recipe to the test.
What Makes Ina’s Lasagna Different?
Ina’s lasagna has the expected ingredients of lasagna noodles, ricotta, mozzarella and tomato sauce, but it also has some delicious twists. It’s made with Italian turkey sausage, a lighter choice than pork sausage. Ina also folds fresh herbs into the rich meat sauce, and includes a surprise ingredient in the layers: crumbled, tangy goat cheese.
Did you know: Julia Child could cook almost anything—except lasagna.
The Famous Ina Garten Lasagna Recipe
Nancy Mock For Taste of Home, Getty Images
Ina Garten’s recipe for Turkey Lasagna serves eight. It takes about 1-1/2 hours of prep and cooking time.
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 cup chopped yellow onion (about 1 medium onion)
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1-1/2 pounds sweet or spicy Italian turkey sausage, casings removed
- 28 ounces crushed tomatoes
- 6 ounces tomato paste
- 1/4 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley, divided
- 1/2 cup chopped fresh basil leaves
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt, divided
- 3/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, divided
- 1/2 pound lasagna noodles
- 15 ounces ricotta cheese
- 3-4 ounces creamy goat cheese, crumbled
- 1 cup grated Parmesan cheese, plus 1/4 cup more for sprinkling
- 1 egg, lightly beaten
- 1 pound fresh mozzarella, thinly sliced
Step 1: Make the meat sauce
Preheat the oven to 400°F. Have a 13-by-9-in. baking dish ready.
Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium-low heat, then add in the chopped onions. Cook the onions for five minutes until they’re translucent. Add the minced garlic and cook for one minute longer. Crumble the turkey sausage into the pan, and cook over medium-low heat for 8-10 minutes until it’s no longer pink. Break up any larger chunks as the sausage cooks.
Stir in the crushed tomatoes, tomato paste, 2 tablespoons of the chopped parsley, the chopped basil, 1-1/2 teaspoons of salt and 1/2 teaspoon of black pepper. Simmer the sauce, uncovered and stirring occasionally, over medium-low heat for 15-20 minutes until the sauce has thickened.
Step 2: Soak the noodles
While the sauce cooks, fill a large bowl or baking dish with the hottest water you can get from your tap. Submerge the lasagna noodles in the water and let them sit for 20 minutes. Move the noodles around occasionally, so they don’t stick. Drain and hold them aside.
Step 3: Make the cheese filling
Stir together the ricotta cheese, goat cheese, 1 cup of grated Parmesan cheese, egg, remaining 2 tablespoons of chopped parsley, remaining 1/2 teaspoon of salt and remaining 1/4 teaspoon of pepper in a medium bowl. Hold it aside.
Step 4: Assemble the lasagna
Ladle a third of the meat sauce into the baking dish and spread it over the bottom. Add the layers as follows: half of the lasagna noodles, half of the mozzarella slices, half of the ricotta filling and another third of the sauce.
Add the rest of the lasagna noodles, the remaining mozzarella slices, the rest of the ricotta filling and the last of the meat sauce.
Sprinkle 1/4 cup of grated Parmesan over the top.
Step 5: Bake
Bake the lasagna for 30 minutes. The sauce should be bubbling, and the cheese browned on the top and along the edges. Serve slices of lasagna while they’re hot.
Here’s What I Thought
My family loved this lasagna! The meat sauce was especially rich and thick, which was perfect. No boiling of the noodles plus a thick sauce meant no watery lasagna slices. Soaking the lasagna noodles gave them an al dente firmness in the finished dish—they could be soaked a little longer if one preferred less of a bite in the pasta. I made my lasagna with sweet Italian turkey sausage, and I’m excited to try it again with a spicier variety.
Ina’s recipe has hundreds of five-star reviews from others who also love this recipe. Although a few people questioned adding all that tomato paste and the goat cheese, I think both ingredients make her lasagna exceptionally flavorful. This recipe is for sure a keeper.
Up Next: Try The Pioneer Woman’s lasagna recipe. It was the first recipe she ever blogged about!