Christmas Eve Lasagna

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Say hello to the most festive lasagna you'll ever meet: Christmas Eve Lasagna! A twist on classic lasagna bolognese, this lasagna boasts festive red & green layers of rich & hearty homemade bolognese sauce & basil pesto ricotta. Equally stunning & delicious, this Christmas Lasagna is the perfect dish to make for any special holiday dinner this season.

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Christmas Eve Lasagna on a small white plate, atop a white surface surrounded by small Christmas ornaments & a glass of red wine.

The Most Festive Lasagna You’ll Ever Make!

Ah, Christmas dinner. The culinary wildcard of the holiday season. Unlike Thanksgiving, when tradition has us all serving pretty similar menus year after year, Christmas dinner is sort of a free-for-all. Families seem to adopt traditions of their own – & I freakin’ love it!

I asked the PWWB community about Christmas traditions over on Instagram a few weeks back & the responses were deliciously diverse, ranging from a casual “build-your-own-bowl” chili bar, to homemade tamales, to a feast of different pasta dishes & seafood, to the fanciest prime rib dinner.

At our house, the Christmas dinner menu varies from year to year, but we always have lasagna at some point during the holiday.

Lifting a slice of lasagna out of its metal baking dish.

Christmas Lasagna Recipe Highlights

A tradition that started with my mom back just after my first niece was born, we love our Christmastime lasagna so much that we come back to it year after year. This year, I decided to kick our classic lasagna dinner up a few notches, making it extra special & extra festive for the holiday. Behold, Christmas Eve Lasagna. It’s…

MAKE AHEAD-FRIENDLY. While the recipe itself takes some time & love, it’s also the perfect recipe to make ahead of time & bake off just before your holiday meal. Hosting doesn’t get much easier than that!

PERFECT FOR FEEDING A CROWD. As written, this recipe serves a hearty 12-15 portions. It’s a go-to for any holiday celebration. Fit for feeding hungry adults & picky kids without much protest – & always a crowd favorite!

LOW-EFFORT LEFTOVERS. If there does happen to be any leftovers, this lasagna bolognese reheats really, really well, making for an easy second meal at some point during any visit with friends & family, without any extra effort.

The most festive lasagna you’ll ever meet! ♡ Read on to learn more about how to make this Christmas Lasagna, or jump straight to the recipe & get cooking!

Key Ingredients

Christmas lasagna components arranged on a creamy white textured surface: homemade bolognese sauce, creamy basil pesto ricotta, no-boil lasagna noodles, shredded mozzarella cheese, and Italian cheese blend.

Note: Full ingredients list & measurements provided in the Recipe Card, below.

A twist on classic lasagna bolognese, this Christmassy lasagna boasts the most festively red, green & white layers. You’ll need…

  • Homemade bolognese sauce – Slowly simmered for a few house to create mega flavor, this bolognese sauce is rich & hearty as ever!
  • Basil pesto ricotta – So creamy & herbaceous, the perfect contrast to the richness of the meat sauce.
  • Plenty of cheese – Of course! I like using a combination of mozzarella, parmesan & asiago for optimum meltiness & flavor.
  • Perfectly al dente lasagna noodles, without any of the fuss of boiling, thanks to our genius friends at DeLallo!
Ingredient Spotlight

What is Bolognese Sauce?

If you’ve never made homemade bolognese sauce, you’re in for such a treat! This lasagna uses my Best-Ever Bolognese Sauce recipe, which I’ve tweaked and perfected over the course of 10 years. It’s a PWWB reader favorite & it helps make this lasagna bolognese extra special for the holidays!

So, what defines a bolognese sauce? ⇢ Originating in Bologna, the largest city of Emilia-Romagna region in Northern Italy, bolognese is a traditional Italian ragu (aka meat sauce) that is made with beef & pork for the ultimate rich flavor. While traditional Italian bolognese is most often made with a combination of beef, pork, white wine, milk, & a little tomato, I’m partial to an Italian-American bolognese, which tends to be a little more tomato-forward & richer in flavor, similar to the types of ragu you’d commonly find in Southern Italy.

Learn more! ⇢ PWWB Best-Ever Bolognese

How to Make Lasagna Bolognese

Here’s the deal: this lasagna recipe is likely one of the most involved recipes I’ll ever share here on PWWB. Classic lasagna, by its very nature, is sort of an involved thing to make, especially if you have your hand at making any of the layers from scratch.

But! If there’s any occasion that warrants a little extra effort to make something totally special, it’s Christmas dinner, right?

& just because it takes a little time, doesn’t mean this lasagna is difficult to make. It comes together in 5 straight-forward phases, which you can spread out over the course of a couple of days, or take advantage of extra helping hands & make a family event out of it. Here’s what you’ll do…

Christmas Eve Lasagna in its baking dish, with one slice taken out of the bottom left corner.
1

Prepare the Bolognese Sauce. The bolognese sauce used in this recipe is one I’ve dubbed the Best-Ever Bolognese, a real-deal Italian bolognese, made with ground beef & pork, wine, & San Marzano tomatoes. The sauce bubbles & simmers on the stove for a couple of hours, developing intensely rich & hearty flavor. It’s my signature recipe, & it is so good. Tip! ⇢ Before building your lasagna layers, spoon some sauce on the bottom of the pan to help prevent the lasagna noodles from sticking as it bakes.

Full Recipe Directions, including step-by-step photos, are included in the Recipe Card, below.

2

Make the Basil Pesto Ricotta. It’s as simple as adding ricotta, pesto, parmesan cheese, and eggs to a mixing bowl & mixing until smooth. Tip! ⇢ Both the bolognese meat sauce & the pesto ricotta can be prepped ahead of time, so you can feel free to prep either or both & store them in the fridge for 3-5 days.

Full Recipe Directions, including step-by-step photos, are included in the Recipe Card, below.

3

Lasagna Assembly. This Christmas Eve Lasagna has 4 layers, alternating between bolognese & pesto ricotta. When you build a lasagna, I always suggest making sure your lasagna pasta covers the entire length & width of the pan. Why? ⇢This will result in a sturdier lasagna. You may need to break some of the pasta to get a perfect fit (see the left photo, below).

Full Recipe Directions, including step-by-step photos, are included in the Recipe Card, below.

4

Rest. Once the lasagna is assembled, let it rest in the fridge overnight, or for at least 12 hours. Why? ⇢ This gives the layers some time to meld together a bit, resulting in a lasagna with better texture and flavor – it won’t ooze all over the place when you plate it.

5

Bake & Serve. Bake the lasagna at 375 degrees F for about 1 hour, until the cheese is all melted and the lasagna is bubbling around the edges. Tip! ⇢ For a golden brown finish, uncover the lasagna in the last 10 minutes of baking.

Christmas Eve Lasagna in its baking dish, with one slice taken out of the bottom left corner.

Step-by-Step Video

Serving Suggestions

While classic lasagna is a hearty dinner on its own, you may still find yourself wondering what to serve with Christmas lasagna? After all, it is a special occasion meal!

To complete your Christmas Eve dinner we suggest serving alongside your favorite crusty bread or garlic bread to sop up any extra bolognese sauce. Given its rich flavor, you also can’t go wrong by pairing with simple roasted veggies or a fresh green salad tossed in PWWB’s All-Purpose Vinaigrette.

Christmas Eve Lasagna on a small white plate, atop a white surface surrounded by small Christmas ornaments & a glass of red wine.

FAQs & Tips

Is lasagna for Christmas a thing?

We think so! It’s always been a tradition in my family to serve lasagna at some point during the holiday season (typically on Christmas Eve🎄). It’s a total crowd-pleaser & feeds a large group easily. Plus, it also makes for the best leftovers too!

What is traditional lasagna made of?

Traditional lasagna is made with 4 components – lasagna noodles, meat sauce, a creamy béchamel sauce, and cheese. This recipe offers a festive take on classic lasagna, swapping the meat sauce for homemade bolognese & trading béchamel for basil pesto ricotta. These minor twists make for the ultimate festive lasagna worthy of a holiday dinner.

Is it better to cook lasagna covered or uncovered?

For this particular recipe, I suggest both! Bake the lasagna covered for 50 minutes to help promote an even bake throughout each of the layers. In the last 10 minutes, uncover the lasagna to help create a beautifully golden browned finish on the top layer of melted cheese. It’s so good!

What is the difference between lasagna and lasagna bolognese?

Think of lasagna bolognese as classic lasagna 2.0! While traditional lasagna typically features a meat sauce, lasagna bolognese features rich & hearty bolognese sauce, which really amps up the flavors. To learn more about bolognese sauce, refer to the Ingredient Spotlight, above.

Why does my lasagna collapse?

If you’ve had trouble serving your lasagna in the past, it’s likely that a few small tweaks can help tremendously:

  • Use no-boil lasagna noodles to avoid overcooked, mushy lasagna. As a bonus, with no-boil pasta, you don’t have to worry about the fuss of pre-boiling before lasagna assembly.
  • Take care while assembling the lasagna layers. Create even layers of pasta by breaking the individual sheets of lasagna for a precise fit that covers the length & width of the entire pan. Doing so creates a much sturdier lasagna.
  • Lastly, don’t forget to let your lasagna rest & cool a bit once it’s fresh out of the oven for a clean slice!
Christmas Eve Lasagna on a small white plate, atop a white surface surrounded by small Christmas ornaments & a glass of red wine.

I hope you give this Christmas Eve Lasagna a try this holiday season – it’s a complete Christmas showstopper, & I know you’ll love it just as much as my family does!

If you do give it a try, be sure to let me know! Leave a comment with a star rating below. You can also snap a photo & tag @playswellwithbutter on Instagram. I LOVE seeing your PWWB creations! ♡ Merry Christmas!

Print
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Christmas Eve Lasagna on a small white plate, atop a white surface surrounded by small Christmas ornaments & a glass of red wine.

Christmas Eve Lasagna

5 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars 2 Stars 1 Star 5 from 20 reviews
  • Author: Jess Larson
  • Prep Time: 25 minutes
  • Cook Time: 3 hours
  • Total Time: 3 hours 30 minutes
  • Yield: serves 1215 1x
  • Category: Pasta Recipes, Main Dishes
  • Method: Baked
  • Cuisine: Italian

Description

Say hello to the most festive lasagna you’ll ever meet: Christmas Eve Lasagna! A twist on classic lasagna bolognese, this lasagna boasts festive red & green layers of rich & hearty homemade bolognese sauce & basil pesto ricotta. It’s equal parts delicious & stunning – perfect for a special occasion meal like Christmas Eve dinner. 

It’s become a beloved tradition in my family to serve this Christmas Eve Lasagna at some point during the holiday season & I have a feeling once you try it you’re going to love it just as much as we do. Happy cooking! ♡


Ingredients

Scale
  • nonstick cooking spray
  • one 13.2-ounce box DeLallo No-Boil Lasagna
  • Best-Ever Bolognese (below)
  • basil pesto ricotta (below)
  • 24 ounces shredded low-moisture, part-skim mozzarella cheese (about 6 cups)
  • 12 ounces Italian cheese blend, such as asiago, parmesan, etc. (about 3 cups)

for the Best-Ever Bolognese Sauce:

  • 2 large carrots, roughly chopped
  • 1 stalk celery, roughly chopped
  • 1 large yellow onion, roughly chopped
  • 4 ounces pancetta, roughly chopped (see Recipe Notes)
  • 6 cloves garlic
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 pound ground pork
  • one 6-ounce can tomato paste
  • 1 cup medium-bodied red wine, such as Chianti
  • 34 sprigs fresh rosemary
  • 1012 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 2 bay leaves
  • optional: parmesan rind
  • one 28-ounce can crushed tomatoes
  • 2 cups low-sodium chicken broth or water
  • ½ cup heavy cream
  • ½ cup grated parmesan
  • kosher salt & ground black pepper, to season

for the basil pesto ricotta:

  • 15 ounces ricotta cheese, whole milk or part-skim as desired
  • one 6.3-ounce jar DeLallo Simply Basil Pesto
  • 2 large eggs
  • ½ cup grated parmesan
  • kosher salt & ground black pepper, to season

Instructions

Best-Ever Bolognese Sauce:

  1. Prep: 

     

    1. Soffritto: Add the roughly chopped carrot, celery & onion to the bowl of a food processor. Pulse just until the mixture is broken down into fine pieces. The mixture should not be puréed; you should still be able to see small pieces of carrot, celery & onion. Transfer to a medium bowl & set aside.
    2. Pestata: Add the pancetta & garlic to the bowl of the same food processor used to make the soffritto (no need to wash it!). Pulse just until the mixture is broken down into fine pieces. Set aside. 
  2. Cook the pestata: Add the olive oil to a heavy-bottomed pot (at least 4-quart capacity) over medium heat. Once hot, carefully add the pestata mixture from Step 1 and cook, stirring occasionally, until the pancetta renders & the garlic is fragrant, 4-5 minutes.Cooked pestata fills a large white skillet that sits atop a creamy white textured surface. A wooden spatula rests inside of the skillet.
  3. Brown the soffritto: Add the soffritto mixture from Step 1 to the pot with the pestata. Season with 1 teaspoon kosher salt, and stir to combine. Cook, stirring occasionally, until deeply browned & fragrant, 15-20 minutes. If the veggies begin to brown too quickly, reduce the heat to medium-low or low. Once browned, push the pestata & soffritto mixture to the outer edges of the pot.Browned soffritto veggies (carrots, celery, and onion) and pestata fill a large white skillet that sits atop a creamy white textured surface. A wooden spatula rests inside of the skillet.
  4. Brown the meat: Generously season the beef and pork with 1 teaspoon kosher salt each. Add the meat to the center of the pot with the soffritto & pestata mixture. Do not touch the meat for 2-3 minutes, allowing it to brown deeply. Turn the meat over and brown the second side for 2-3 minutes. Once browned on both sides, use a wooden spoon to break the meat apart into fine crumbles. Stir to combine with the soffritto mixture. Cook, stirring occasionally, until browned completely, 8-10 minutes. Add the tomato paste, stirring to coat the meat & soffritto mixture. Cook for 2-3 minutes to brown.Browned soffritto veggies, pestata, ground beef and pork fill a large white skillet with tomato paste & garlic. The skillet sits atop a creamy white textured surface. A wooden spatula rests inside of the skillet.
  5. Deglaze: Increasing the heat to medium-high, pour the red wine into the pot. Stir constantly, using a wooden spoon to scrape up any browned bits that may have formed at the bottom of the pot. Cook for 4-5 minutes, until the wine is almost completely absorbed into the meat mixture.How to make Christmas Lasagna, step 5: Deglaze. The start of a homemade bolognese sauce is deglazed with red wine in a white skillet that sits atop a creamy white textured surface. A wooden spoon rests inside of the skillet for stirring.
  6. Aromatics: Tie the herbs together using kitchen twine (or finely chop if you do not have twine), then add to the pot with the bay leaves & parmesan rind, if using. Add the crushed tomatoes & broth or water, stirring to combine.Crushed tomatoes, broth or water, parmesan rind, fresh herbs, and bay leaves are added to a bolognese sauce for Christmas lasagna inside of a large white skillet. The skillet sits atop a creamy white textured surface. A wooden spoon rests inside of the skillet for stirring.
  7. Simmer: Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer, stirring occasionally, for 90 minutes. If the bolognese begins to reduce too much (losing too much of its liquid too quickly), feel free to add in a splash more broth/water, reduce the heat further, &/or cover the pot.Bolognese sauce that has simmered fills a large white skillet that sits atop a creamy white textured surface.
  8. Finish the bolognese: Stir in the heavy cream and grated parmesan. Taste and season with additional kosher salt and ground black pepper, as desired. Remove from the heat and set aside, or store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.Heavy cream and grated parmesan are added to a homemade bolognese sauce for Christmas lasagna inside of a large white skillet. The skillet sits atop a creamy white textured surface with a wooden spoon resting inside of the skillet for stirring.

Basil Pesto Ricotta:

  1. Mix the basil pesto ricotta: Meanwhile, as the bolognese sauce simmers, prepare the basil pesto ricotta. Add all listed ingredients to a medium mixing bowl, seasoning with 1/2 teaspoon each kosher salt and ground black pepper, or to taste. Stir until combined. Set aside, or store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.Basil pesto ricotta fills a large clear glass mixing bowl that sits atop a creamy white textured surface.

Christmas Lasagna Assembly:

  1. Assemble the lasagna: Spray a large piece of foil with nonstick cooking spray & set aside. Spray a 9×13 baking pan with nonstick cooking spray (see Recipe Notes, below). Ladle about 1 cup of the bolognese sauce into the baking dish, spreading it out to evenly coat the bottom. This prevents the pasta from sticking to the bottom of the dish as the lasagna bakes. Build your lasagna layer by layer:
    1. Layer 1: Start by arranging the lasagna such that it covers the bottom of the baking dish. The pasta should create an even layer without overlapping – you may need to get crafty & break the noodles to fill your baking dish nicely (see photos, above, for reference). Ladle half of the remaining bolognese over top, spreading into an even layer. Sprinkle some mozzarella & Italian cheeses over top, using about 1/4 of the cheese.
    2. Layer 2: Arrange a second layer of lasagna. Top with 1/2 of the prepared basil pesto ricotta, spreading into an even layer. Sprinkle some the mozzarella & Italian cheeses over top, using about 1/4 of the cheese.
    3. Layer 3 & 4: Repeat Layers 1 & 2, creating 4 alternating layers of bolognese & ricotta. Finish with one last generous sprinkling of cheese, using any remaining mozzarella & Italian cheese.
  2. Rest: Top with the prepared foil. Transfer to the refrigerator to rest for at least 12 hours before baking.A completely assembled Christmas lasagna fills a gold 9x13 baking dish that sits atop a creamy white textured surface. The top layer of bolognese sprinkled with mozzarella & Italian cheese can be seen on top.
  3. Bake the lasagna: Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F, ensuring an oven rack is positioned in the center of the oven. Remove the lasagna from the refrigerator, & set the baking dish on a large rimmed baking sheet. Transfer to the oven & bake the lasagna for 60 minutes, carefully removing the foil from the baking dish in the last 10 minutes of baking to brown the top. If desired, turn the broiler on in the last 5 minutes to give the cheesy top an especially golden brown & crispy finish.A baked Christmas Eve Lasagna fills a gold 9x13 baking pan. The pan sits atop a creamy white textured surface.
  4. Rest, slice, & serve: Carefully remove the lasagna from the oven. Set aside to rest for 10-15 minutes before slicing into 12-15 squares & serving. Enjoy!Christmas Eve Lasagna on a small white plate, atop a white surface surrounded by small Christmas ornaments & a glass of red wine.

Notes

  • Ingredient & Equipment Notes:
    • Pancetta is cured, unsmoked Italian bacon. Widely available at most conventional grocery stores, you can typically find pancetta already diced up in an individual container near the cured meats & bacon, or cut-to-order at the deli counter. Feel free to swap it out with regular ol’ bacon if that’s what you can find easily – thick, center-cut bacon works best for this recipe.
    • Baking dish: This recipe was tested & developed using a 9×13 pan, roughly 3 inches in depth. If your baking dish is a little smaller, layer the lasagna using slightly less bolognese sauce than described in Assembly Steps 2-4 above. Any extra bolognese sauce freezes beautifully & will make for a wonderfully easy Pasta Bolognese dinner down the road. 
  • Make-Ahead Lasagna: Since there are a number of different components involved in this Christmas lasagna recipe, prepping it ahead of time is a great option for the busy holiday season. There are 2 make-ahead approaches you can take depending on the amount of time you have to prep:
    • Make-Ahead Approach #1 – Prepping components in advance. If you prefer to prep individual components & assemble the lasagna later, this approach is for you. Prepare the bolognese sauce & mix the basil pesto ricotta, then store the components in separate airtight containers in the refrigerator for 3-4 days, until you’d like to assemble your Christmas lasagna.
    • Make-Ahead Approach #2 – Assemble the lasagna in advance. Assemble the Christmas lasagna, then store in the refrigerator for up to 4 days. (As a bonus, the pasta soaks up any excess liquid in the lasagna as it sits, making it much easier to slice & serve picture-perfect pieces!) At dinnertime, simply preheat & bake according to Steps 8 & 10, noting you may have to add 5-10 minutes of baking time to ensure the lasagna warms through.
  • Storage, Reheating, & Freezing:
    • Storage & Reheating: Store any leftover Christmas lasagna in airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days. Reheat in the microwave until warmed through.
    • Freezer Instructions: This Christmas lasagna is also incredibly freezer-friendly. Transfer cooled leftovers to a freezer container or divide between multiple freezer containers for smaller portions – these are my absolute favorite freezer containers! – & freeze for up to 3 months. To thaw, place the frozen lasagna in the refrigerator overnight or submerge the freezer container in room temperature water for a quicker thaw. Easily reheat in the microwave until warmed through.

Recipe & Photography by Jess Larson, Plays Well With Butter | Step-by-Step Photography by KJ & Company, Kate Poskochil

Christmas Eve Lasagna on a small white plate, atop a white surface surrounded by small Christmas ornaments & a glass of red wine.

Follow along with Plays Well With Butter on Instagram, YouTube, Facebook, and Pinterest for more unfussy recipes that pack a big punch of flavor!

Hi there, I'm Jess!

If there’s 1 thing to know about me, it’s this: I am head-over-heels in love with food. I’m on a mission to make weeknight cooking flavorful, fast, & fun for other foodies, & PWWB is where I share foolproof recipes that deliver major flavor with minimal effort. Other true loves: pretty shoes, puppies, Grey’s Anatomy, & my cozy kitchen in Minneapolis, MN.

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Comments

  1. 4.10.24
    Megan S said:

    This dish was absolutely delicious! Thanks for sharing this amazing recipe! Also, I was wondering if you could use your short rib ragu in place of the bolognese? Would that work in this recipe?

    • 4.11.24
      Emma @ Plays Well With Butter said:

      Hi Megan, you’re definitely welcome to try that! I bet it would be delicious!! Make sure to let us know how you like it with the substitution! 🙂

  2. 2.16.24
    Anna said:

    I have not made this recipe yet, but have a question about the amount of tomato paste as the paste is very bitter. Will adding the whip cream temper the bitterness as it would be a lot of money to have to throw in the garbage if the sauce turned out too bitter to use.

    • 2.16.24

      Hi Anna – I don’t think you need to worry about throwing anything in the garbage. 🙂 I have made the recipe as written countless times and it works well (many, many readers have as well over the years, and echo that sentiment). The intense flavor of the tomato paste melds with the rest of the ingredients as everything simmers – browning tomato paste off and slowly simmering the sauce is key.

      If you are still doubtful, feel free to scale back the tomato paste to your tastes.

      Hope this helps!
      Jess

  3. 1.11.24
    Ruby said:

    Can I build more than 4 layers using this recipe?

    • 1.12.24
      Emma @ Plays Well With Butter said:

      Hi Ruby, you can definitely increase the number of layers by increasing the amount of each component you use (more bolognese, more ricotta mixture, more noodles, etc.) – you’ll just want to be aware that it may not fit in a casserole dish! The dish we used for our 4-layer lasagna is about 3 inches deep, for reference. Hope that helps!

  4. 12.31.23
    Dani said:

    Christmas lasagna it was and it was delicious with fav reviews. I always appreciate a good break-down of the steps with photos. Thanks for sharing this.
    Cheers!

    • 1.2.24
      Emma @ Plays Well With Butter said:

      Hi Dani, glad to hear the Christmas Eve Lasagna was a hit!! Hope you had a great holiday! 🙂

  5. 12.26.23
    Sammy Jo said:

    I made this for Christmas Eve dinner with the in laws and it was a hit. The work on the front end (which really wasn’t that much) is totally worth it to make the bolognese which makes this so flavorful. The pesto mixed into the ricotta made it unique. And being able to pre-assemble and pop it into the oven the day of was so convenient and the flavors melded so nicely. Another great recipe from Jess. Thank you!

    • 12.28.23
      Emma @ Plays Well With Butter said:

      The make-ahead aspect is one of the best parts of Christmas Eve Lasagna! Happy to hear you and your family enjoyed it, Sammy! Merry Christmas!

  6. 12.25.23
    Peggy said:

    Wow! I seldom leave a comment But this lasagna was above and beyond all my expectations. Extremely well written instructions. I made three days ahead and it was received with rave reviews on Christmas Eve, I’m eating some leftovers now and enjoying it even more. Served a large platter of roasted vegetables alongside and it was a perfect meal. I won’t be making lasagna any other way from now on. Thank you for such a delicious recipe. Will be trying others from your site soon. Merry Christmas to you and yours.

    • 12.28.23
      Emma @ Plays Well With Butter said:

      Hi Peggy, so glad to hear the lasagna turned out great, and that you and your family enjoyed it!! Merry Christmas to you, as well! 🙂

  7. 12.23.23
    Rebecca Godby said:

    Can I make this in a 9×13 enamel coated baking dish? If so, do I adjust any time or temp?

    • 12.24.23

      Hi Rebecca – Yes, you can make it in an enamel baking dish and adjusting baking times should not be necessary. Depending on the size/depth of your dish, you may have leftover sauce, so that’s the one thing I’d look out for.

      Happy holidays!
      Jess

      • 12.27.23
        Rebecca Godby said:

        Thank you, Jess! It was delicious and cooked just as directed in the heavy enamel coated baking dish!

  8. 5.31.23
    Laura Cappelletti said:

    This recipe looks fine but Christmas Eve meals in an Italian (Catholic) tradition are always meatless. Lots of fish, and if there is pasta, it would not be a bolognese sauce.

    • 6.1.23
      Emma @ Plays Well With Butter said:

      We love how everyone has different traditions for the holidays! Hope you have a chance to try this lasagna another time 🙂

  9. 12.27.22
    Michelle said:

    Hi, Jess! We made this for our Christmas dinner and it was the best lasagna we have made! Between the homemade bolognese sauce and the pesto mixture, it was so delicious! Our family was all raving, even the next day about the leftovers. Great prep ahead meal for a holiday and the recipe had all the steps well documented!
    Also, we made your French Onion Havarti twice baked potatoes for Christmas Eve (from your stories) and they were delicious!! Definitely going into the rotation 🙂






    • 12.28.22
      Erin @ Plays Well With Butter said:

      Hi Michelle! We’re SO glad to hear you loved the lasagna & the Cheesy French Onion Havarti Twice baked potatoes 🙂 sounds like such a delicious holiday celebration & we couldn’t be more grateful these recipes were a part of it!

  10. 12.25.22
    Dennis said:

    This was quite a bit of prep work the day before, but when it came out of the oven and I started eating, I seriously thought I might die from total pleasure!!!
    OMG! It was sooooo good! Absolutely the best lasagna I have ever had!
    . . . and the best part is that there are a lot of left-overs to freeze for another day!
    Thank you for sharing this recipe with us!






    • 12.26.22
      Erin @ Plays Well With Butter said:

      Hi Dennis! We LOVE to hear it 🙂

      We agree the work put in is totally worth the end result!!

  11. 12.25.22
    Natalie said:

    WOW this turned out absolutely delicious and though it was a labor of love, your recipe was perfectly written for a first-time-from-scratch- lasagna cook! The sauce is the star of the show – I was nervous about a homemade bolognese sauce since I hadn’t made one before, but omg it turned out SO good. I used gluten free lasagna noodles and ended up having to use ground breakfast sausage and add Italian seasonings – otherwise followed the recipe to a T and got rave reviews from my family. I think this lasagna is going to become an annual Christmas Eve tradition, and I can’t wait to keep making it for years to come. Thanks again!!!






    • 12.26.22
      Erin @ Plays Well With Butter said:

      Hi Natalie! Thanks so much for your comment, we are SO glad you & your family loved the lasagna & that the recipe could be a part of your holiday celebration 🙂

  12. 12.23.22
    Jen said:

    Hi!
    I somehow missed the step of stirring in the heavy cream and parm to finish the bolognese (but at least I had the Parmesan rind in there!). The lasagna is in the fridge for the night and I went ahead and poured the cream around the edges of the finished lasagna hoping it will sink down in while cooking and magically turn out ok!

    Anyway, just wondering what you sprinkled on top of your lasagna for serving – looks so pretty in the picture!

    Merry Christmas!! 🙂

    • 12.24.22

      Hey Jen! I’m sure the lasagna is going to turn out beautifully. 🙌🏼 In the photos, I just topped with some parsley or basil, crushed red pepper flakes & grated parmesan. Pretty simple! Let me know how the lasagna turns out & I hope you enjoy! Jess

  13. 12.23.22
    gail said:

    i think im going blind… i dont see anywhere how much heavy cream and parm to add to the meat sauce?






    • 12.23.22

      You’re not going blind, those fell off – but they’re back! ½ cup each, listed in the Ingredients List.

  14. 12.23.22
    Emily said:

    Hey Jess!
    I can’t find heavy cream in the ingredients but I see it in the steps to combine with the parmesan. Am I missing it? Halp!
    You’re amazing thank you!

    • 12.23.22

      Hi Emily! Thanks for bringing this to my attention! This is fixed now, you’ll need ½ cup heavy cream.

  15. 12.19.22
    MKEMomx4 said:

    Hi, Jess –
    I’m planning to make this while my 4 college kids are home over winter break. One question: can I substitute fesh raw baby spinach for the pesto with the ricotta mixture? My kids love my spinach lasagna, but they don’t appreciate pesto yet🤷🏻‍♀️

    • 12.19.22
      Erin @ Plays Well With Butter said:

      Hi there! That should be fine to substitute if that’s your preference! It will definitely have a different flavor profile for that layer but still be delicious. We’d recommend wilting the spinach on the stovetop, letting it cool slightly, and pressing out any excess moisture with a paper towel prior to adding to the ricotta cheese. Hope that helps & hope you enjoy! 🙂

  16. 12.26.21
    Katie said:

    I love that, as described, I could stretch the cooking of this recipe across 3 days, and finishing it off on Christmas Day was completely stress free! Even if this were more work to cook (which really, it’s not), it would totally make up for it with the ridiculously rich and satisfying taste. Thank you so much for sharing this recipe that our family will enjoy for years to come!






  17. 12.24.21
    Pamela McCoin said:

    Didn’t see the note about letting it sit in the fridge over night. Ooops! but I’m making it for dinner tonight so wish me luck!
    The sauce, so far, tastes amazing!!






    • 12.30.21
      Erin @ Plays Well With Butter said:

      Hi Pamela! Hope all went well & that you enjoyed!! 💜

    • 12.24.23
      Mark De Simone said:

      Whoops. I’m making in now too for tonight and missed the refrigerator part when I read the recipe yesterday. Hope it turns out

      • 12.24.23

        Hi Mark – It will. Be sure to let it rest a good 15-20 minutes when it comes out of the oven to help let everything set back up and you should be fine.

        Merry Christmas!
        Jess

        • 12.24.23
          Mark De Simone said:

          I let it rest while the garlic bread was baking. The lasagna was a smash hit! Thanks for sharing this recipe with the world! Merry Christmas!

          • 12.25.23

            Sounds perfect, Mark. So glad you enjoyed.

            Merry Christmas!
            Jess

  18. 12.23.21
    Holly T said:

    I made this for dinner last night and it was absolutely amazing. Best lasagna I’ve ever made.






    • 12.29.21
      Erin @ Plays Well With Butter said:

      Hi Holly! Thanks so much for sharing – it is a PWWB fave!!

  19. 12.22.21
    Sidney said:

    Have you tried to freeze it? I am planning on making an extra for an easy dinner but don’t want it to be ruined.






  20. 12.15.21
    Debra Lanci said:

    This recipe was delicious. I made it without the meat and it was great. Coming from an Italian family it is important to make a good lasagna. My mother in law made a great lasagna and even my picky husband loved it!






    • 12.30.21
      Erin @ Plays Well With Butter said:

      Hi Debra! Thanks so much for leaving a comment & review! It means so much to hear that you enjoyed the recipe & that your family enjoyed too! 💜

  21. 11.13.21
    Gaby said:

    Can this lasagna be frozen before is cooked? I’m trying to think of different dishes I can actually freeze and then simply bake. After leaving this overnight, can I just freeze it?






  22. 10.31.21
    Pamela said:

    I can’t rate this recipe since I haven’t made it yet. It looks delicious. Can this be made in advance and frozen?

  23. 1.5.21
    Tanya said:

    Amazing lasagna! The best we’ve ever had actually… the only way to improve would be if I made the pasta from scratch.🎯 It’s an easy to follow recipe and worth every step. Thanks for the wonderful new recipe💃🏻






  24. 12.27.20
    Caroline said:

    I was looking for some inspiration for Christmas Eve dinner (my first time cooking it for the family) and this recipe was both easy to execute and still impressive! It was delicious and honestly may be a new tradition in my family.






    • 1.27.21
      Erin @ Plays Well With Butter said:

      Hey Caroline! We are so so glad it was a hit – this is a great recipe to serve the whole family! Thanks for trusting us with your first Christmas Eve dinner!!

  25. 12.25.20
    Lisa said:

    I made this lasagna for my family for Christmas and it was a big hit! It was super nice to be able to make the bolognese and pesto ricotta earlier in the week and then assemble the day before so that on Christmas Day I didn’t have to spend it in the kitchen! The fillings were really flavorful and creamy and delicious! Definitely will be making this my go-to lasagna recipe!






    • 3.17.21
      Erin @ Plays Well With Butter said:

      Lisa, thank you SO much for sharing! We are so glad to hear that this lasagna was a hit & that you got to take advantage of the make-ahead aspects of this recipe & enjoy your Christmas day!!

      • 12.15.21
        MommaofTwo said:

        Can I assemble and freeze? Or must I cook it, cool down, then freeze?

        Thanks a mil!

  26. 12.25.20
    Maria said:

    Made this for Christmas Day since it’s just me, my husband and our son this year. My husband just learned he’s 20% Italian (I’m jealous!) so I thought this was called for! It’s well worth the effort and I enjoyed making it. Thank you for sharing.






    • 1.27.21
      Erin @ Plays Well With Butter said:

      Hi Maria! Such a wonderful way to celebrate & glad you enjoyed making it & sharing with your family!

  27. 12.23.20
    Sara said:

    I don’t know how you fit all of this into a 9×13?!! (I only have pyrex or an aluminum one that is the same depth as pyrex 9×13) I had a feeling that wouldn’t work, so I used a 10×15…and it is packed above the rim!! I hope it bakes up ok tomorrow! I’m so excited! I know the sauce is bomb, I couldn’t stop taste-testing it! I’ll update later.

    • 1.27.21
      Erin @ Plays Well With Butter said:

      Hi Sara! Great call out – this recipe was tested & developed using a 9×13 pan, roughly 3 inches in depth. If your baking dish is a little smaller, you’ll want to layer the lasagna using slightly less bolognese sauce than described in Assembly Steps 2-4. Then we recommend freezing the extra bolognese sauce. It make for a wonderfully easy Pasta Bolognese dinner down the road. Hope the lasagna was a hit!

      • 11.28.21
        Sarah said:

        Well I completely forgot to update, until I see my comment because I’m totally making this again this year, and I’m already drooling about it!! Such a delicious lasagna!! And I do remember the 10×15 dish worked fine; but I’m looking to buy a deep dish 9×13 haha.






  28. 10.16.20
    Megan said:

    I’m not even a big lasagna person, but I loved this so much. I can’t wait until it is safe to host again, this is at the top of my list of recipes to serve to a group you want to impress.






  29. 10.16.20
    Rachel said:

    I was so proud to serve this lasagna to my family at Christmas, and it was a hit! My husband and I kept stealing samples of the bolognese as it simmered all day, and have talked about it for months since then. Can’t wait to make it again this holiday season!






    • 3.12.21
      Erin @ Plays Well With Butter said:

      Thank you for sharing & including PWWB in your holiday celebration – that means SO much! & haha sounds like you have a good built in taste-tester at home. Again, so glad you enjoyed!!

  30. 10.15.20
    Melanie said:

    Looks delicious! But I would probably change the title of this recipe. Italians do not eat meat on Christmas Eve!

    • 10.15.20

      Melanie, thanks for the comment. As I mention in the blog post, it’s a tradition at my home & that’s what inspired the recipe.

      • 10.16.20
        Melanie said:

        Yes I read your blog post, I was mostly just referring to the “Eve” part of the title. Nothing wrong with calling it “Christmas Lasagna”! 🙂

  31. 4.13.20
    Sarah said:

    This recipe is expensive to make and a lot of work, but WORTH IT FOR THE BEST LASAGNA YOU’VE EVER HAD. I use GF noodles so that it’s not a gluten bomb and it still turns out delicious. (Side note- i first made this around Christmas, and am making it again now in April because it’s that good!)






  32. 2.15.20
    Jodi said:

    Do not sleep on this recipe. It the best lasagna I’ve ever had! You haven’t lived until you’ve had basil pesto ricotta!






    • 2.18.20
      jess said:

      Haha, I’m so glad you loved it, Jodi! Basil pesto ricotta on everything, please!!!

      • 12.26.21
        Deb Wilson said:

        Decided to make this for our Italian themed Christmas Eve dinner….wow….it was perfect and delicious! I used regular noodles not no boil and it turned out perfectly after sitting in the fridge assembled over night. This is a keeper for sure. Thank you!






        • 12.29.21
          Erin @ Plays Well With Butter said:

          We LOVE the idea of an Italian themed Christmas Eve dinner & are so happy to hear you enjoyed! Thanks so much for taking the time to leave a comment – it means so much!

  33. 1.4.20

    Everytime I see this recipe on Pinterest I seriously start droooooling. Those layers are INSANE!

    • 1.5.20
      jess said:

      Aw, thanks so much girl!! xx