Lasagna is a traditional Italian main dish consisting of alternating layers of long, flat pasta noodles, tomato or cream sauce, and cheese (typically, mozzarella, parmesan, or ricotta, or a combination of all three). Lasagna may also include layers of sautéed vegetables or ground meat, like beef or lamb. The pasta is boiled before assembly, and then the entire dish is cooked further in the oven.\n\nLasagna is one of the oldest pasta dishes in Italy, originating in Naples in the Middle Ages.\nLasagna is made with lasagna noodles, an especially wide noodle like a flat ribbon with ruffled sides. The standard lasagna noodle is made with flour and egg. In Italy, the ingredients used vary depending on the region: Semolina, [wheat flour](https://www.masterclass.com/articles/guide-to-wheat-flour), and durum wheat are all standard options. Pasta dough may also be flavored or colored with additional ingredients, like spinach or sun-dried tomatoes.\nLasagna is all about harmony between the layers, and texture is just as important as flavor. Finding the right sauce consistency or cheese mixture is a matter of preference. If it’s your first time making lasagna, here are some tips to consider:\n\n1. __Build flavor into the sauce__. The star of lasagna might be the melty, cheesy layers, but the engine is in the sauce. Traditional lasagna usually features a ragù, a tomato-based meat sauce with lean ground beef, ground pork, or sweet Italian sausage, but sauces vary regionally. Try incorporating a creamy white [béchamel](https://www.masterclass.com/articles/chef-wolfgang-pucks-bechamel-sauce-recipe) sauce or a bright, garlicky green [pesto](https://www.masterclass.com/articles/what-is-basil-pesto-easy-recipe-and-tips-for-making-perfect-pesto) with fresh basil and [pine nuts](https://www.masterclass.com/articles/complete-guide-to-pine-nuts). \n2. __Make it vegetarian__. Lasagna does not have to include meat to be hearty and filling. Instead, add chopped, sautéed spinach or kale to the cheese mixture for extra flavor and dimension, and pack it with seasonal vegetables like [eggplant](https://www.masterclass.com/articles/types-of-eggplant) or squash.\n3. __Use gluten-free noodles__. You can find gluten-free lasagna noodles for sale online or at most grocery stores, which you can use like standard lasagna noodles.\n4. __Assemble in advance__. If you’re making a few pans of lasagna for an event or celebration, you can assemble the dish beforehand and refrigerate it for up to two days before baking.\nTo layer lasagna, start with a bottom coat of tomato sauce, then follow it with a single layer of noodles, the soft cheese mixture, and any sautéed veggies or meat. Next, add a layer of sauce, and repeat layering until you reach the top of the baking dish, leaving a few inches. Finally, top the finished lasagna with cheese.\nLearn how to make homemade lasagna with this easy take on the classic Italian comfort food.