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If you’re looking for a quick and easy version of my classic Inside Out Lasagne with bechamel sauce, this is it! Fresh lasagne pasta and a ricotta sauce make the topsy-turvy lasagne super simple to prepare and cook.
Important: this recipe is only for the pasta and cheesy sauce. To complete your Inside Out Lasagne, you’ll also need a suitable amount of your favourite meat (or vegetable) sauce to serve on top – Bolognese, marinara, beef stew, etc.
What is Inside Out Lasagne?
If you’re anything like me, you love lasagne. I thought I’d tried all the major variations until I stumbled upon something deliciously different in a little restaurant in Venice.
This approach turns lasagne inside out, separating the meat sauce from the pasta and cheesy sauce. The result is a mouth-watering contrast of textures – rich, savoury sauce and dense, creamy pasta.
I’ve never seen a recipe for a white lasagne quite like the one like I had in Venice, so I set about creating one myself. After many attempts I’ve managed to recreate it two ways:
- the classic version I enjoyed in Venice – Inside Out Lasagne with cheesy bechamel sauce
- and this quick and easy version, made with ricotta
Because of how it’s served, it’s even more versatile. You can serve almost anything you want on top of the lasagne.
What to serve it with?
The lasagne I enjoyed in Venice was topped with a typical Italian ragu – slow-cooked meat, tomatoes, red wine and not much more. A Bolognese sauce is probably the most popular example, and I strongly recommend you try an Inside Out Lasagne with your favourite spaghetti sauce recipe at least once.
But don’t stop there! This lasagne pairs beautifully with many different saucy dishes. It works well in place of traditional pasta (like spaghetti or penne), mashed potatoes and more. Some of my favourite pairings are with:
- Bolognese sauce
- Any rich beef stew, like Boeuf Bourguignon
- Chicken parmesan, with plenty of marinara or good tomato sauce
- Meatballs or meatloaf with tomato sauce
- Beef stroganoff
- Sausages and gravy
And you don’t have to use meat. You can make a delicious vegetarian Inside Out Lasagne with a saucy, richly flavoured vegetable dish, like:
- A good quality marinara or homemade tomato sauce
- Lentil stew
and many more – let your imagination run wild!
How do you make Inside Out Lasagne?
In this recipe post I don’t provide a recipe for what to put on top, because I’m sure you’ve already got a favourite Bolognese sauce, beef stew or something else entirely to try with it. If you don’t, I’ve linked to some great recipes at the bottom of the page.
My favourite version of Inside Out Lasagne is made with dried lasagne pasta and cheesy bechamel sauce. I prefer the denser lasagne sheets and I think the bechamel makes the lasagne smoother, creamier and richer.
But cooking pasta sheets is fiddly, and a bechamel takes time to cook, so if you’re short on time, or simply prefer ricotta, this quick and easy Inside Out Lasagne with Ricotta is delicious too.
Making an Inside Out Lasagne with ricotta
I’ll go over the process broadly here, but for specific ingredient amounts and detailed instructions please scroll down to the recipe card at the bottom of the page.
Making this version of Inside Out Lasagne is simple:
- Make a cheese sauce of ricotta, parmesan and milk.
- Build your lasagne with layers of ricotta mixture and fresh pasta sheets.
- Oven bake your lasagne to heat it through and meld all the ingredients together.
- Serve with a generous scoop of your favourite meat or vegetable main on top (Bolognese, marinara, etc).
What you need
For this easy version, the ingredient list is short:
- Grated parmesan cheese
- A pinch of nutmeg
- Fresh lasagne pasta
- and of course your favourite pasta sauce, stew or other dish to serve on top (preferably a saucy one). If you’re not sure what to try, Bolognese sauce is a great place to start.
Make your ricotta mixture
In a suitably-sized bowl, simply mix together the ricotta, milk, parmesan cheese and a little nutmeg until they are well combined.
This version of Inside Out Lasagne is designed to be quick and easy, so it uses fresh lasagne pasta.
If you’d like to use dried lasagne sheets they should be cooked in boiling water first, otherwise they will be too firm. If you haven’t done this before I provide detailed directions in the classic Inside Out Lasagne recipe.
Constructing your lasagne
Putting your lasagne together is much the same as a classic meat lasagne:
1. Choose your lasagne dish. Because the fresh lasagne sheets can be easily cut to size, you can be creative here. Choose a smaller dish for a deeper lasagne with many layers, or a wide dish for a flatter lasagne. Keep in mind that the pasta will expand a little in the oven, and that a really deep lasagne will likely take a little longer to cook.
2. If required, cut your lasagne pasta sheets to size to suit your dish. I typically do this with a pizza cutter.
3. Spread a thin layer of your ricotta mixture on the bottom of the dish.
4. Top with a single layer of pasta. If you need more than one sheet to cover the layer (in a large dish for example), make sure the pasta sheets don’t overlap – butt them up against each other instead.
5. Spread a good layer of your ricotta mixture on top of the pasta, ensuring you fully and generously cover it.
6. Repeat Step 4 and Step 5 until you run out of pasta or sauce, making sure you finish with a layer of ricotta mixture.
7. Cover the baking dish tightly with foil.
Cooking your lasagne
- Preheat your oven to 350F (180C).
- Cover the lasagne and cook for 30 minutes, or until thoroughly heated through.
- Remove from the oven and rest for 5 minutes before serving.
You can cut the lasagne in the baking dish and carefully remove pieces with a spatula, but if you’re serving up most or all of it I find it easier to lift the whole lasagne out onto a cutting board with a large spatula. Then you can cut it more cleanly, as well as get under individual pieces more easily.
Then simply plate it up and top it with your preferred main – Bolognese sauce, beef stew, etc.
Have some fun with it!
You don’t need to serve it in boring rectangular slabs either. The lasagne can be quite easily cut into simple shapes with cookie cutters. Circles and stars work really well. And I’m sure you can come up with a suitable shape for a special Valentine’s Day meal 😉.
Storing & Reheating
Once cooked, your Inside Out Lasagne will last well tightly covered in the fridge for several days. It’s best if it’s kept without your Bolognese or other sauce on it, and you can reheat it in the following ways:
- In the microwave on about 500W (half power) for 7 to 10 minutes depending on your microwave and how deep your lasagne is. Half power ensures you heat it through slowly rather than overcooking the outside and leaving the middle cold.
- In a pre-heated oven at 350°F (180°C) for 30 minutes. Make sure you cover the dish with foil to prevent the lasagne from drying out too much.
Recipes to try with your Inside Out Lasagne
As you can imagine the possibilities are almost endless when it comes to choosing a dish to complete your Inside Out Lasagne, but here are some great recipes to try.
- Bolognese Sauce from Gimme Some Oven
- Kenji’s Beef Stew on Serious Eats
- Ratatouille from Recipe Tin Eats
- Ciao Florentina’s Marinara Sauce
- Devilled Sausages from Don’t Go Bacon My Heart
- Healthy Recipe’s Meatballs in Tomato Sauce
- Lentil Mushroom Stew from Minimalist Baker
- Foodie Crush’s Roasted Mushroom Beef Stroganoff
- Chicken Parmesan from Inspired Taste
- The Pasta Project’s Tuscan Wild Boar (Pork) Ragu
Quick & Easy Inside Out Lasagne with Ricotta
For the ricotta mixture
- 1 pound ricotta cheese (approx. 450g)
- 1 cup milk (approx. 235ml)
- 1 cup finely grated parmesan cheese
- 1 pinch nutmeg
For your lasagne
- one pack fresh lasagne pasta 9 to 13 oz (250-375g) (Note 2)
- 4 portions of your favourite pasta sauce or stew to serve on top (Note 1)
- Preheat your oven to 350°F (180°C).
- Put the ricotta, parmesan, nutmeg and milk in a bowl and mix until well combined.
- Cut your lasagne pasta to size to suit your baking dish. A pizza cutter is ideal for this.
- Spread a thin layer of your ricotta mixture on the bottom of the dish.
- Top with a single layer of pasta (without overlaps if you need more than one sheet per layer).
- Spread a good layer of your ricotta mixture on top of the pasta, ensuring you fully and generously cover it.
- Repeat Step 4 and Step 5 until you run out of pasta, finishing with the ricotta mixture.
- Cover the baking dish tightly with foil (note 3).
- Cook for 30 minutes or until thoroughly heated through, then remove from the oven and rest for 5 minutes before serving.
- Cut your lasagne into single serves in the baking dish, or carefully lift the whole lasagne out onto a cutting board with a suitable sized spatula.
- Place a serve on a plate, then top with a generous serving of your favourite meat or vegetable dish (e.g. Bolognese sauce).
- Pasta sauce or stew required. The Inside Out Lasagne is created by combining the recipe above with your favourite pasta sauce, stew or other saucy main. Bolognese sauce is the go-to option, but many other dishes combine with the pasta to create a delicious Inside Out Lasagne, including:
- Beef stroganoff
- Marinara or tomato sauce
- A hearty, saucy beef stew
- Cooking pasta sheets. If you’d like to use dried lasagne sheets they should be cooked first. If you haven’t done this before I provide detailed directions in the classic Inside Out Lasagne recipe.
- If you’re not eating it straight away, you can stop once you’ve constructed your lasagne and keep it tightly covered in the fridge for 1 to 2 days before moving to the next step.
- Nutrition. Stated nutrition figure only represents the white lasagne, and does not include the pasta sauce or stew served on top.
- Your microwave oven on about 500W (half power) for 7 to 10 minutes depending on your microwave and how deep your lasagne is. Half power ensures it heats through slowly rather than overcooking the outside and leaving the middle cold.
- A pre-heated oven at 350°F (180°C) for 30 minutes. Make sure you cover the dish with foil to prevent the lasagne from drying out too much.