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Photo Credit: Elizabeth Newman

Giada's Classic Italian Lasagna

10 MINPrep Time
65 MINCook Time
by Giada De Laurentiis
Photo Credit: Elizabeth Newman
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Here it is - my most classic, beloved lasagna!

There are many different components for a classic Italian lasagna like this, but don't be afraid of it! They're all quick and easy steps - you just have to prepare ahead of time and make your separate ingredients before you layer the lasagna. It's in those layers where all the flavor comes from, so give yourself time to enjoy the process and cook it with love.

Don't skip the dotting of the butter on top of the lasagna - it makes the entire thing so golden brown, beautiful and delicious.


Giada's Classic Italian Lasagna

Prep Time

10 minutes

Cook Time

65 minutes




Giada De Laurentiis

Image of Giada's Classic Italian Lasagna


    Bechamel Sauce:

  • 5 tablespoons unsalted butter (plus 2 tablespoons for the lasagna)
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 4 cups whole milk at room temperature
  • Pinch freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1 1/2 cups tomato sauce (recipe follows)
  • Salt and white pepper
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 pound ground chuck beef
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 1/2 pounds ricotta cheese
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 pound lasagna sheets (cooked al dente)
  • 2 packages (10 ounces each frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed dry)
  • 3 cups shredded mozzarella
  • 1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan
  • Simple Tomato Sauce:

  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 small onion (chopped)
  • 2 cloves garlic (chopped)
  • 1 stalk celery (chopped)
  • 1 carrot (chopped)
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 32-ounce cans crushed tomatoes
  • 2 dried bay leaves
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter (optional)


  1. Originally seen on: Everyday Italian. Episode: All About Lasagna.
  2. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
  3. For the Bechamel Sauce: In a 2-quart pot, melt 5 tablespoons of butter over medium heat. When butter has completely melted, add the flour and whisk until smooth, about 2 minutes. Gradually add the milk, whisking constantly to prevent any lumps from forming. Continue to simmer and whisk over medium heat until the sauce is thick, smooth and creamy, about 10 minutes. The sauce should be thick enough to coat the back of wooden spoon. Remove from heat and add the nutmeg and tomato sauce. Stir until well combined and check for seasoning. Set aside and allow to cool completely.
  4. In a saute pan, heat extra-virgin olive oil. When almost smoking, add the ground beef and season with salt and pepper. Brown meat, breaking any large lumps, until it is no longer pink. Remove from heat and drain any excess fat. Set aside and allow to cool completely.
  5. In a medium sized bowl, thoroughly mix the ricotta and eggs. Season with salt and pepper. Set aside.
  6. Into the bottom of a 13 by 9-inch baking dish, spread 1/3 of the bechamel sauce. Arrange the pasta sheets side by side, covering the bottom of the baking dish. Evenly spread a layer of all the ricotta mixture and then a layer of all the spinach. Arrange another layer of pasta sheets and spread all the ground beef on top. Sprinkle 1/2 the mozzarella cheese on top of the beef. Spread another 1/3 of the bechamel sauce. Arrange the final layer of pasta sheets and top with remaining bechamel, mozzarella and Parmesan cheeses. Cut the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter into 1/4-inch cubes and top lasagna.
  7. Line a large baking sheet with aluminum foil. Place lasagna dish on top, cover and put on the middle rack of the oven and bake until top is bubbling, about 30 minutes. Remove cover and continue to bake for about 15 minutes.
  8. For the Simple Tomato Sauce: In a large casserole pot or Dutch over, heat oil over medium high heat. Add onion and garlic and saute until soft and translucent, about 5 to 10 minutes. Add celery and carrots and season with salt and pepper. Saute until all the vegetables are soft, about 5 to 10 minutes. Add tomatoes and bay leaves and simmer uncovered on low heat for 1 hour or until thick. Remove bay leaves and check for seasoning. If sauce still tastes acidic, add unsalted butter, 1 tablespoon at a time to round out the flavors.
  9. Add 1/2 the tomato sauce into the bowl of a food processor. Process until smooth. Continue with remaining tomato sauce.
  10. If not using all the sauce, allow it to cool completely and pour 1 to 2 cup portions into freezer plastic bags. This will freeze up to 6 months.



per serving
Amount/Serving % Daily Value
82 grams
51 grams
73 grams
Saturated Fat
31 grams
226 milligrams
1103 milligrams
9 grams
22 grams
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6 reviews & comments

  • Author's avatar image
    Jack Gorman - Jun 09

    WONDERFUL Modified a bit. This is now my best Lasagna recipe. It's more cheezy less tomatoey. Used Montreal Steak seasoning on ground. beef to give it more taste. Might sub some Ital sausage next time. Canned tomato sauce is quite OK. Half recipe is enough for 4 or two meals in 8×8 dish.

  • Author's avatar image
    Danielle Leyva - Jun 09

    So you add all of the simple tomato sauce to the bechamel sauce? Is that correct? Eager to try recipe

  • Author's avatar image
    Kristen McAfee - Jun 09

    Made this last night for family with sausage instead of beef and 10oz frozen kale and sautéed small onion instead of spinach. So good everyone loved it!

  • Author's avatar image
    Linda Rast - Jun 09

    The recipe says “Remove from heat and add the nutmeg and tomato sauce. Stir until well combined and check for seasoning. Set aside and allow to cool completely”

  • Author's avatar image
    Mary Elizabeth Guyton - Jun 09

    Can this lasagna be put together ahead of time the night before I plan to serve my family ? If so, can it go directly from refrigerator to oven? I think it would be so yummy after a fun day at the football stadium

  • Author's avatar image
    Julia Stahl - Jun 09

    Where does the tomato sauce come in? I know it’s obvious where this goes in a lasagna, but it’s not mentioned in the layering steps. Or maybe I missed something…..Recipes should be formatted properly before posting. Who’s managing these?

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