Test kitchen chef and host of Mom vs. Nicole McLaughlin shares her personal recipe for the absolute best homemade lasagna. And trust us, she doesn’t throw the word “best” around lightly.
Heat a large Dutch oven over medium-high. Add ground beef and sausage. Cook, stirring to crumble, until browned and cooked through, about 8 minutes. Drain and set aside. Add olive oil to Dutch oven over medium-high. Add onion and salt; cook, stirring often, until softened and translucent, 5 minutes. Stir in garlic; cook, stirring often, until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Add crushed tomatoes, red wine, tomato paste, sugar, black pepper, and crushed red pepper, and stir well to combine. Stir in cooked meat. Bring mixture to a boil; reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer 30 minutes. Remove from heat, and stir in basil and parsley. (This sauce can be made up to 3 days before and stored in fridge).
While sauce simmers, prepare béchamel. Melt butter in a saucepan over medium. Whisk in flour, and cook, whisking constantly 3 minutes. Whisk in milk, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low, and simmer sauce, stirring occasionally, 15 minutes. Sprinkle with salt, pepper, and nutmeg. Remove from heat, and whisk in ricotta until smooth. Let stand 10 minutes (this sauce can be made 1 day ahead and stored in fridge).
Preheat oven to 375°F. To assemble lasagna, lightly coat a 13- x 9- baking dish with cooking spray. Spoon in 1/2 cup of the meat sauce in the bottom of prepared dish, and place 3 noodles across sauce. Spoon 1/4 of remaining meat sauce over noodles. Add 1/3 of the béchamel sauce, and sprinkle with 1 cup of the mozzarella and 1/4 cup of the Parmesan. Repeat layers 2 more times. Top with remaining 3 noodles, remaining sauce, and remaining mozzarella cheese. Cover and bake in preheated oven 45 minutes. Uncover and bake until golden and bubbly, 10 to 15 minutes. Let stand 15 minutes before serving. Sprinkle with additional fresh basil leaves.