Everyone loves a good lasagna. It is the ultimate comfort food. This Homemade Four Cheese Lasagna with Ricotta and Cottage Cheese is filled with gooey cheese and baked until the sauce is nice and bubbly.
Lasagna has to be one of my favorite meals.
Pair it with a salad (try this Kale Apple Salad) and garlic bread for a great meal for a large group.
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Why you will love this recipe
- Lasagna is any easy dish to make and is great for serving a large group of people.
- Four cheese lasagna also freezes and reheats well making it a great make-ahead freezer meal.
- Leftover lasanga tastes great. In fact, I think it tastes even better the next day.
I prefer to use traditional noodles rather than no-boil noodles. I think they taste better. Plus no-boil noodles are shorter and don't fill my 10x15 pyrex pan properly. You want to undercook the noodles slightly so they don't become mushy while the lasagna bakes. I usually boil my noodles for ten minutes.
How to keep lasagna noodles from sticking
After boiling the noodles and straining them run them under some cool water to prevent sticking and make them easier to handle.
You can, of course, use your favorite jarred pasta sauce. But I really like using my homemade veggie-loaded pasta sauce. One batch makes enough to freeze for several meals. So after the initial preparation, subsequent meals are just as if you were using jarred sauce.
Best cheeses for lasagna
I subscribe to the philosophy that more cheese is always better, which is why this lasagna includes four different types of cheeses.
- Mozzarella Cheese: Most of the time I use shredded mozzarella because that's what I usually have in my refrigerator. You could also use low-moisture, part-skim slices.
- Parmesan Cheese: I think freshly grated parmesan cheese tastes the best. Plus you get a pretty good arm work out. You could also use the pre-shredded parmesan cheese found in a plastic tub with the rest of the shredded cheeses. Avoid parmesan cheese found in the green cardboard container. It doesn't melt properly.
- Cottage Cheese: Cottage cheese is made from the curds of milk, either whole, part-skimmed, or skimmed. Cottage cheese is lower in fat than ricotta cheese and is often cheaper. Use small curd cottage cheese for the best texture.
- Ricotta Cheese: Ricotta cheese is smooth with a slightly grainy texture. Whole milk ricotta works best in a lasagna. Don't worry we are cutting down some of the calories by also using cottage cheese.
Eggs help to bind the cheese mixture together creating cleaner slices for serving.
Adding herbs like basil, oregano, and parsley adds flavor to the lasagna. I use dried herbs because I always have them available and lasagna is baked for a long time so there are no benefits to using fresh herbs. If substituting fresh herbs you will want to double the amount.
The cheese filling in this lasagna is super easy to make and completely customizable. Want to add some vegetables? No problem. Try adding some well-drained frozen cooked spinach or sauteed zucchini and mushrooms. When adding vegetables you want to make sure they are cooked and well-drained to avoid adding too much moisture to the filling.
As it is this four-cheese lasagna is vegetarian. If you have some extra cooked Italian sausage, ground beef, or pepperoni lying around, this recipe is a great way to use it up!
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
Mix together the cottage cheese, 4 oz of mozzarella cheese, ricotta cheese, parmesan cheese, egg, basil, oregano, parsley, salt, and pepper in a large bowl.
In a 9x13 pan, spread a small amount of sauce on the bottom of the pan to prevent the noodles from sticking.
Place three lasagna noodles across the bottom of the pan.
Layer half the cheese mixture and one-third of the pasta sauce.
Repeat the layering of noodles, cheese mixture, and pasta sauce one more time.
Top with the remaining noodles, sauce, and mozzarella cheese.
How to cook
Cover the lasagna with foil.
Bake for 45 minutes and then remove the foil and bake for another 15 minutes. The cheese should be melted and the sauce bubbly.
Allow the lasagna to rest for 10 minutes before cutting.
This lasagna can be prepared a couple of days in advance. Make it over the weekend and bake it when you’re ready to serve.
Assemble the lasagna according to the directions below. Cover the casserole with aluminum foil then refrigerate until ready to bake. The day you want to bake this take it out of the fridge while you’re preheating the oven to 350. Bake as directed in the recipe below.
- Skip no-boil noodles. No boil lasagna noodles have an unpleasant texture and often turn out soggy.
- Don’t overcook the pasta. To prevent mushy lasagna, remove the pasta from the boiling water just before it is fully cooked. I cook my noodles for 10 minutes. The pasta will finish cooking in the oven.
- Rinse the pasta with cold water after boiling. This prevents them from sticking to each other. Be sure to drain them well so you’re not adding excess moisture in the dish.
- When assembling, start with a layer of sauce to prevent the first layer of pasta from sticking to the pan.
- Liberally cover the final layer of pasta with lots of sauce to prevent the noodles from becoming crunchy.
- Allow the lasagna to cool for ten minutes before cutting. The cheese will set as the lasagna cools giving you neater slices.
My favorite way to serve this lasagna is alongside a crisp side salad and with a piece of crunchy cheesy garlic bread to soak up the extra sauce.
Frequently asked questions
My lasagna usually has three layers of noodles because that is what will fit in my glass pan. If you are using a lasagna dish or foil pan, they are usually deeper you could probably fit four layers.
Eggs help to bind the cheese mixture together which helps to keep it from oozing out when cut.
Rinse the pasta with cold water after boiling. This prevents them from sticking to each other. Be sure to drain them well so you’re not adding excess moisture in the dish.
How to store
Cooked lasagna will keep in the fridge for at least 5 days. Reheat individual slices in the microwave, or warm the whole casserole (covered with foil) in the oven at 350°F until bubbly again.
I do not recommend freezing fully cooked lasagna. Many times fully cooked pasta becomes mushy when it is frozen and thawed.
How to freeze uncooked lasagna
Once assembled, cover the lasagna with a layer of plastic wrap and then a layer of foil. Label with the contents, date, and reheating instructions. Freeze the lasagna for up to three months.
How to reheat frozen lasagna
You have two options for cooking frozen lasagna:
- Allow the frozen lasagna to thaw in the refrigerator for 48 hours. Remove the foil and plastic wrap. Recover with the foil and bake as directed.
- You can also bake frozen lasagna straight from the freezer, but plan to double the baking time. Remember to remove the foil and plastic wrap and then recover with the foil.
TIP: If the lasagna has been frozen in a disposable aluminum pan, I like to place it on a baking sheet when heating in the oven for a little extra stability.
More dinner ideas
Thanks for Reading!
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If you like this Four Cheese Lasagna check out this variation: Four Cheese Stuffed Shells.