This 3-Cheese Meatball Lasagna not only features three different kinds of cheese, but also two kinds of meatballs, too!
Lasagna ranks right up there on my list of best comfort foods ever. What’s not to love about layers of cheesy pasta goodness…especially when you toss in some meatballs and Italian sausage? I know lasagna is one of those meals where everyone has a favorite recipe…but consider adding in one or two of these fun twists next time you make your version! I used ground beef mixed with seasonings to make mini-meatballs that I scattered between the layers of cheese and pasta. And since my wife is half-Italian and loves Italian sausage, I also threw some bulk Italian sausage in there with the meatballs, too. (Both the meatballs and Italian sausage should be cooked before adding them to the lasagna.) If there’s such a thing as a meat-lover’s lasagna, then this is it!
I also used Homemade Spinach Whole-Wheat Pasta for lasagna noodles which was a really fun addition. Not only are these noodles colorful and fun, but they are an easy way to include some extra spinach in your diet! (Of course, homemade pasta is a bit time consuming, so I often use store-bought noodles instead. But if you’re snowed in and have some extra time on your hands…then this is certainly a fun foodie project!) If you do make your own fresh pasta, then you don’t need to cook it before adding it to the lasagna. But if you use store-bought dry noodles, then cook them about 2-3 minutes less than the package instructions state. (I find this helps keep some texture to the noodles once they are baked into the lasagna.)
If you really want to go entirely from scratch with this lasagna, then make your own Tomato Basil Sauce, too. (I’ll be the first to admit that I’ve never made this lasagna with both homemade noodles and homemade sauce…but that would be pretty cool!) Aside from it’s value as a delicious and filling comfort food, the best part about lasagna is that it easily feeds a crowd. Since it’s just me and my wife here on most nights, we refrigerate the leftovers and then cut them into single-portion squares. Then those get wrapped and thrown into the freezer for super-easy weeknight meals. That way, we’re set if we want to mix up the routine and throw a lasagna night in there in the middle of the week!
3-Cheese Meatball Lasagna
- 1 pound ground beef
- 2 eggs divided
- ¾ cup Parmesan cheese grated, divided
- ½ Tbsp Italian seasoning
- 1 tsp black pepper
- ½ tsp salt
- 2 garlic cloves minced
- 1 pound bulk Italian sausage
- 3 cups ricotta cheese
- 4 cups mozzarella cheese shredded
- 4 cups tomato sauce store-bought or homemade
- 16 lasagna noodles cooked
For the Meatballs
- In a medium bowl, combine the ground beef, 1 egg, 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, Italian seasoning, black pepper, salt, and minced garlic. Stir until well combined. Form mixture into 1/2"-3/4" meatballs. Place meatballs on a cookie sheet lined with aluminum foil and bake at 350°F for 15-16 minutes, or until fully cooked. Set aside.
For the Italian Sausage
- Meanwhile, break the bulk Italian sausage into small pieces and cook in a skillet over medium high heat until done; stirring occasionally. Set aside.
For the Ricotta Mixture
- In a medium bowl, combine the ricotta, remaining egg, remaining 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, and 1 cup of mozzarella cheese. Stir until well combined. Set aside.
- Spray or brush a 9"x13" baking dish with olive oil. Assemble the lasagna by pouring 1 cup of tomato sauce into dish; top with 4 cooked lasagna noodles, 1/3 of the Ricotta Mixture, 1/3 of the Meatballs, 1/3 of the Italian Sausage, and 1/2 cup mozzarella.
- Repeat using remaining meatballs, Italian sausage and ricotta mixture. Top with remaining 1 cup of mozzarella cheese.
- Cover entire dish with aluminum foil and bake at 400°F for 30 minutes or until slightly bubbling. Remove foil and continue baking until top is browned, about 10-15 minutes. Allow lasagna to cool for 15 minutes or more before cutting.