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Freshly baked lasagna – timballo

Lasagna (timballo)

The very first recipe I learned to make when I moved to Italy over three decades ago was delicious lasagna, with my mother-in-law Lidia as my teacher. She called it timballo rather than lasagna but basically it's a baked pasta dish with a wonderful tomato meat sauce, fresh mozzarella and homemade pasta.
Course First Course, Main Course, Pasta
Cuisine international, Italian
Keyword lasagna, timballo
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour 45 minutes
Total Time 2 hours 15 minutes
Servings 8
Calories 773kcal


  • A 13" (33cm) x 10”(25cm) baking pan, preferably glass or ceramic.
  • Tinfoil to cover the lasagna.


For the tomato meat sauce:

  • 1 kg peeled tomatoes
  • 6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves peeled and minced
  • 500 g ground meat about 400 g beef and 100 g pork
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Other lasagna ingredients:

  • 500 g Lasagna sheets
  • 500 g mozzarella cheese grated or cut into tiny cubes
  • 800 mL béchamel sauce optional
  • 100 g freshly grated Parmesan
  • 2 tbsp Additional olive oil to grease the lasagna pan.


  • Preheat the oven to 200°C (390°F)

Make the tomato meat sauce:

  • Sauté the minced garlic cloves in the 6 tablespoons of extra-virgin olive oil until sizzling.
  • Add the ground meat and cook on medium until cooked through.
    Tomato meat sauce for lasagna
  • Add the can of peeled tomatoes and continue cooking until the sauce thickens and the oil begins to float to the surface, 20 to 30 minutes.
  • Every five minutes or so stir the sauce and use a potato masher to mash down the tomatoes into a pulp-like consistency.
  • While the sauce is cooking prepare your other ingredients.

Prepare the other lasagna ingredients:

  • Grate, or finally cube, the mozzarella cheese.
    Cubed mozzarella for lasagna
  • Grate the Parmesan cheese.
  • Grease the bottom and sides of the lasagna pan with the additional olive oil.

Assemble the lasagna:

  • Use a soup ladle to evenly spread a ladleful of tomato meat sauce onto the lasagna pan, about ½ cup.
  • Top with a single layer of lasagna sheets.
  • Top with a ladleful of tomato meat sauce, again spreading evenly.
  • Top with a layer of grated or cubed mozzarella cheese, about ½ cup.
    Put cubed mozzarella on lasagna sheets
  • Drizzle on some béchamel sauce, about ¼ cup. Remember, this is optional.
    béchamel for lasagna
  • Sprinkle lightly with Parmesan cheese.
  • Continue layering the lasagna in the same order until you have used all of the lasagna sheets.
  • If you have additional tomato meat sauce save it to serve with the lasagna.
  • Cover the lasagna with a sheet of tinfoil.
  • Bake the lasagna for 30 minutes covered, then an additional 10 minutes uncovered.
  • Serve immediately or cool down and refrigerate, or freeze, to serve later.
    Baked lasagna


Serving: 120g | Calories: 773kcal | Carbohydrates: 54g | Protein: 38g | Fat: 45g | Saturated Fat: 17g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 3g | Monounsaturated Fat: 21g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 102mg | Sodium: 817mg | Potassium: 605mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 5g | Vitamin A: 666IU | Vitamin C: 12mg | Calcium: 528mg | Iron: 4mg