Recreating Olive Garden’s Classic Lasagna Recipe

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Published: 03/04/2024 | Updated: 03/27/2024

Crafting Olive Garden’s Lasagna Classico at home becomes a breeze with this guide, which melds ricotta and romano into a robust meat sauce for a true taste of the restaurant’s classic. Within 45 minutes, the art of layering creates a cheese filling that captures the essence of the Italian-American favorite.

olive garden lasagna recipe

Ideal for both family gatherings and special celebrations, this lasagna stands as a testament to memorable dining experiences. Embark on this culinary adventure and bring a slice of Olive Garden tradition to your table.

Equipment/ Utensils Needed for the Recipe

  • Large pot for boiling pasta
  • Large skillet for meat sauce
  • Medium bowl for cheese filling
  • Whisk for combined ingredients
  • 9×13 inch baking dish
  • Aluminum foil
  • Cheese grater
  • Spatula for layering
  • Measuring cups and spoons

Prep Time

Assembling your homemade Olive Garden lasagna won’t take all day. Set aside 30 minutes for preparation before the baking begins. This will give you ample time to layer your lasagna with love and precision.

Gather Your Ingredients

Before we start mixing and layering, make sure to gather all your ingredients for this classic dish. Quality and freshness are key for the perfect lasagna, so be sure to check your pantry and fridge. Are you ready to find out what goes into making this Italian-American favorite? Continue to unveil the essentials for your lasagna creation!

Cheese Filling Mixture

  • 16 ounces whole milk ricotta cheese
  • 1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 tablespoon parsley, finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon basil, finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon fresh oregano, finely chopped
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon pepper

Rich Meat Sauce

  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 6 ounces Italian sausage, removed from their casings and crumbled
  • Beef 6 ounces, ground
  • 2 16-ounce cans of crushed tomatoes
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 teaspoon of oregano

Cream Sauce Creation

  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/4 cups whole milk
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Nutmeg, a pinch

How To Proceed

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Cook lasagna noodles according to package instructions until al dente; drain and lay out on paper towels.
  3. In a skillet, heat oil until fragrant and sauté the onion and garlic for about 10 minutes. Add the beef and sausage and cook thoroughly.
  4. Stir in crushed tomatoes, season with salt and pepper, and simmer the meat sauce for 25 minutes.
  5. For the cream sauce, melt butter in a saucepan, whisk in flour, and cook for 2 minutes. Gradually add milk, stirring continuously until thickened. Season with salt, pepper, and a pinch of nutmeg.
  6. Combine the ricotta cheese with the egg, Parmesan cheese, and herbs for the cheese filling.
  7. Spread a thin layer of meat sauce in the bottom of a greased baking dish. Place a layer of noodles over the sauce.
  8. Add a spoonful of the cheese mixture over the noodles, then a layer of meat sauce, and repeat the layers, ending with meat sauce.
  9. Sprinkle the top with shredded mozzarella and Parmesan.
  10. Cover with foil and bake for 45 minutes. Remove foil and bake for an additional 10 minutes or until cheese is golden and bubbly.
  11. Let the lasagna rest for 10 minutes before serving.

Layering Techniques for Authentic Flavor

Layering is crucial for achieving the signature Olive Garden taste. Ensure each layer is even and ingredients are distributed generously. This balance of noodles, cheese, and sauce is what creates the perfect bite every time.

Additional Choices

  • Substitute ground turkey for a leaner option.
  • Add spinach to the cheese mixture for an extra serving of greens.
  • Use gluten-free noodles for a gluten-sensitive alternative.
  • Experiment with different cheeses like mozzarella, provolone, or asiago for varied flavors.

Nutritional Information

  • Calories: Approximately 600 per serving
  • Fat: 30g
  • Carbohydrates: 50g
  • Protein: 35g
  • Fiber: 4g
  • Sodium: 1200mg

Expert Baking Tips

To ensure your Olive Garden lasagna is as delightful as the restaurant’s, remember to not overcook the noodles; they will continue to cook in the oven. For a golden and bubbly top layer, broil the lasagna for the last few minutes of baking while keeping a close eye to prevent burning.

Italian recipes often require patience and attention to detail. If you encounter issues with the sauce being too runny, allow it to simmer for longer to reduce and thicken. Likewise, if the top is browning too quickly, cover it with foil until the baking time is complete.

How to Store

  • Allow lasagna to cool completely before covering with plastic wrap.
  • Lasagna can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
  • For longer storage, freeze individual portions in airtight containers.
  • Reheat in the oven or microwave until thoroughly warmed.

Beyond the Recipe: Enhancing Your Lasagna

Complement your Olive Garden Lasagna Classico with a simple side salad dressed in Italian vinaigrette or a slice of crusty garlic bread. For the complete restaurant experience, pair it with a glass of Chianti or a hearty Sangiovese wine.

Recipe Notes

For an even richer flavor, consider adding a layer of marinara sauce between the meat sauce and cheese layers. This will not only add moisture but also an extra tang that complements the creamy cheeses beautifully.

olive garden lasagna

What is in Olive Garden Lasagna?

The Olive Garden, Lasagna Classico recipe, features layers of tender lasagna noodles, a hearty meat sauce, and a rich cheese mix, including types of cheese like mozzarella, Parmesan, and ricotta, combined to create a delicious comfort food. Inspired by Olive Garden’s lasagna, this dish blends fresh ingredients simmered to perfection.

The meat sauce is cooked over medium heat, layered with cheese mixture and noodles, and then baked until bubbly and golden.

Should Lasagna Be 2 or 3 Layers?

The traditional structure of lasagna can vary, but it typically includes 3 to 4 layers. The number of layers in a lasagna depends on the depth of your baking dish and the amount of filling per layer. However, a minimum of 3 layers is generally preferred to ensure a hearty and satisfying dish.

Each layer consists of pasta, cheese mix, and meat sauce, with the final top layer often being cheese browned in the oven.

Does Real Italian Lasagna Have Ricotta?

Yes, real Italian lasagna often includes ricotta cheese in its layers, contributing to the dish’s creamy texture and rich flavor. However, regional variations exist, and some traditional recipes may use béchamel (a white cream sauce) instead of or in addition to ricotta.

The cheese filling in authentic Italian lasagna recipes blends ricotta with other cheeses like mozzarella and Parmesan, creating a deliciously rich cheese layer.

How Long is Olive Garden Lasagna Good For?

Olive Garden, like homemade lasagna, can be stored in the refrigerator for 3 to 5 days when properly covered or in an airtight container. To extend its shelf life, you may freeze the lasagna for up to 2 months.

For the best quality, allow the lasagna to cool before refrigerating or freezing, and reheat it covered in the oven until thoroughly warmed. Always ensure the lasagna reaches a safe internal temperature when reheating.

Recreating Olive Garden's Classic Lasagna: A Recipe for the Best Comfort Food

Prep Time30 minutes
Course: Dinner/Lunch, Other Recipes, side dishes
Keyword: olive garden lasagna recipe
Author: Natalie

Equipment

  • Large pot for boiling pasta
  • Large skillet for meat sauce
  • Medium bowl for cheese filling
  • Whisk for combined ingredients
  • 9x13 inch baking dish
  • Aluminum foil
  • Cheese grater
  • Spatula for layering
  • Measuring cups and spoons

Ingredients

Cheese Filling Mixture

  • 16 ounces whole milk ricotta cheese
  • 1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 tablespoon parsley, finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon basil, finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon fresh oregano, finely chopped
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon pepper

Rich Meat Sauce

  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 6 ounces Italian sausage, removed from their casings and crumbled
  • Beef 6 ounces, ground
  • 2 16-ounce cans of crushed tomatoes
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 teaspoon of oregano

Cream Sauce Creation

  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/4 cups whole milk
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Nutmeg, a pinch

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  • Cook lasagna noodles according to package instructions until al dente; drain and lay out on paper towels.
  • In a skillet, heat oil until fragrant and sauté the onion and garlic for about 10 minutes. Add the beef and sausage and cook thoroughly.
  • Stir in crushed tomatoes, season with salt and pepper, and simmer the meat sauce for 25 minutes.
  • For the cream sauce, melt butter in a saucepan, whisk in flour, and cook for 2 minutes. Gradually add milk, stirring continuously until thickened. Season with salt, pepper, and a pinch of nutmeg.
  • Combine the ricotta cheese with the egg, Parmesan cheese, and herbs for the cheese filling.
  • Spread a thin layer of meat sauce in the bottom of a greased baking dish. Place a layer of noodles over the sauce.
  • Add a spoonful of the cheese mixture over the noodles, then a layer of meat sauce, and repeat the layers, ending with meat sauce.
  • Sprinkle the top with shredded mozzarella and Parmesan.
  • Cover with foil and bake for 45 minutes. Remove foil and bake for an additional 10 minutes or until cheese is golden and bubbly.
  • Let the lasagna rest for 10 minutes before serving.

Notes

  • For an even richer flavor, consider adding a layer of marinara sauce between the meat sauce and cheese layers. This will not only add moisture but also an extra tang that complements the creamy cheeses beautifully.

More Olive Garden Copycat Recipes

Olive Garden Shrimp Scampi Recipe
Olive Garden Shrimp Alfredo Recipe
Olive Garden Spinach Artichoke Dip Recipe
Olive Garden Chicken Marsala Recipe
Olive Garden Italian Margarita Recipe

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