Thousand Layer Lasagna Recipe

I used to make this from scratch. Homemade pasta sheets, etc. This time I got a jump start by buying fresh egg pasta sheets at the farmers' market. You still need to run those sheets through a pasta machine a few times to achieve the most thin and delicate sheets of pasta possible - but starting from pre-bought was a bit of a revelation for me, and a big timesaver. If you don't have a pasta machine (they are actually quite affordable!), try a rolling pin - not quite the same, but it will help thin out the sheets. Make sure the pasta sheets you buy are fresh and moist. Proper seasoning is important throughout this recipe, if you under salt your lasagna is going to taste flat and the flavors won't pop. The right amount of salt brings the pasta forward and focuses the tomato and lemon flavors in the sauce.


  • pound  fresh egg pasta sheets
  • butter to prep baking dish
  • tablespoons  extra-virgin olive oil
  • teaspoon  fine grain sea salt
  • teaspoon  crushed red pepper flakes
  • clove  garlic, chopped
  • 1 28-ounce  can crushed organic tomatoes
  • zest of one lemon
  • 3 4-ounce  balls of fresh mozzarella, torn up into little pieces
  • a handful of slivered basil (optional)
  • freshly grated Parmesan (optional)


  1. Preheat your oven to 375F. Start by clearing off every flat space in your kitchen, you are going to need and use all of it.
  2. Fill your biggest pot full of water and bring to a boil.
  3. Lavishly butter a deep, square baking dish. The one I use is 8x8 and 2-inches deep.

Make your Tomato Sauce

  1. Place the olive oil, salt, pepper flakes, and garlic in a pan. Dial the heat up and saute for a minute or two. Add the tomatoes and slowly bring to a simmer as well. Remove from heat, stir in the lemon zest and taste for seasoning. Add more salt if needed. Set aside.

Prepare the Lasagna Noodles

  1. Thin out your pasta using a pasta machine. Start by cutting the big sheets into 2-inch(ish) wide ribbons. This usually means making 2 cuts along the sheets. This should yield you about 12 2-foot strips. Run them through the pasta machine. I go to the 7 setting, two shy of the very thinnest setting. The sheets should almost be translucent. Cut the strips into manageable rectangles roughly 4-inches in length.

  2. To pre-cook the pasta, fill a large bowl with ice cold water and a few glugs of olive oil. Place a large flour sack or cotton dish towel across one of your counters. Salt your pot of boiling water generously. Ok, now you are ready to boil off your pasta. Believe it or not, you are on the home stretch. Place a handful of the pasta rectangles into the boiling water to cook (I've found I can get away with about 20 at a time), fish them out (I use a spider) after just 15-20 seconds, don't over cook. Transfer them immediately to the cold olive-oil water for a quick swim and cool-off. Remove from the cold water bath and place flat and neat on the cotton towel. It is ok for them to overlap, I don't have a problem with the sheets sticking typically. Repeat until all your pasta is boiled.

Assemble the Lasagna and Bake

  1. Ladle a bit of the sauce into the bottom of the prepared baking dish. Cover the bottom with a layer of pasta sheets. Now a thin layer of sauce, and a bit of cheese. Go for another layer of pasta, then sauce, then pasta again, then sauce and cheese. Keep going until you've used up all the sauce and pasta. You want to finish with a layer of pasta. Top with the last of the sauce and the very last of the cheese so you have a nice cheesy top.
  2. Bake until everything is melted and fragrant, 35 minutes or so. Let it sit for 10 minutes before serving, so everything has a chance to set up a bit. Dust with parmesan and a bit of slivered basil.
Prep Time 1 hour
Cook Time 45 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 45 minutes
Serves 9


Serves 9