Bolognese Lasagna – It’s Worth It

Bolognese Lasagna – It’s Worth It

A lasagna worth making is a lasagna called Lasagna Bolognese.  It’s not a quick and easy recipe but you’ll be glad you spent the extra time making it because this lasagna is the BEST lasagna ever!  For years I’ve been making this Lasagna Bolognese, and it’s actually the only lasagna recipe I need.

Unlike many lasagna recipes that use ricotta and mozzarella cheese, Lasagna Bolognese uses a homemade béchamel sauce (basically a mixture of butter, flour and milk) that gives this lasagna a creamy rich texture.  The meat-based sauce which includes a very simple soffritto mix (basically a mixture of carrots, celery and onions) is gently simmered for a good length of time (the main reason why this recipe is not quick and easy) for the flavors and texture to extract and mature.

This is actually my most frequently requested recipe and most frequently requested meal from family and friends, and soon to be your frequently requested recipe too.  It freezes incredibly well so you can make it in advance and bake it at a later time (perfect idea for parties and weeknight dinners).  It also reheats to perfection (the longer it sits the better it tastes) so should there be any left-overs (but very unlikely) you know you’ll be having some great lasagna the next day.

Recipe adapted with slight changes from Simply Recipes.

Lasagna Bolognese

2017-10-23
: 8
: 30 min
: 3 hr
: Moderate

Using simple ingredients you can make the BEST Lasagna Bolognese ever. Layers of lasagna noodles baked with slow cooked bolognese sauce, béchamel, soffritto and Paramesan cheese.

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Ingredients
  • 16oz lasagna noodles
  • 500g ground beef
  • 2 yellow onions, finely chopped
  • 2 carrots, finely chopped
  • 3 celery stalks, finely chopped
  • 240g pancetta, diced and finely chopped
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 4 cloves garlic, finely minced
  • 1 cup white wine
  • 4 (14oz can) whole tomatoes
  • 1.5 cups whole milk
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black ground pepper
  • A dash of cinnamon powder
  • 1.5 cups Parmasan cheese, finely grated
  • approximately 1/4 cup olive oil
  • BECHAMEL SAUCE:
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
Directions
  • Step 1 In a medium frying pan cook the ground beef. Drain the grease and set aside.
  • Step 2 In a large pan or dutch oven make the soffritto: Melt butter. Add garlic and cook for about 30 seconds. Then add the onions, carrots, celery and pancetta. Saute over medium heat until the onions are translucent and pancetta is cooked. Add the cooked ground beef to the soffritto and cook to combine for about 2-3 minutes.
  • Step 3 Add white wine and cook until the wine is almost evaporated, about 5-7 minutes. Then add 1 teaspoon of salt, 1/2 teaspoon black pepper and a dash of ground cinnamon. Stir to combine.
  • Step 4 Add your whole tomatoes, including the juice. For a thicker sauce leave out the juice from 1 can. Break up the tomatoes as you stir the sauce. Cook for 20 minutes on medium heat.
  • Step 5 Add 1.5 cups of milk. Stir well. Turn down the heat to low and let it simmer for about 2.5 hours, stirring occasionally so that the bottom does not burn. The sauce will simmer down and thicken during this time.
  • Step 6 TIP: I usually make the sauce the day before i assemble the lasagna. This allows the flavors and texture of the sauce to mature and extract. In other words, the longer the sauce sits the better your lasagna will taste.
  • Step 7 PREPARE YOUR LASAGNA NOODLES: Cook your lasagna per package instructions. Add about 2 tablespoons of salt and 1 tablespoon of olive oil to the cooking water. Drain with cold water. Lay individual lasagna layers on kitchen towel, not touching, so they don’t stick to each other.
  • Step 8 MAKE THE Béchamel SAUCE: In a small saucepan heat the milk until it is almost boiling. Meanwhile in a separate medium saucepan melt the butter. Once the butter is melted add the flour and stir with a mini whisk or spoon to create a yellow sauce-like texture. Turn heat off. Once your milk is at boiling point add it slowly to the butter/flour mixture, stirring rapidly as you pour the milk in. The texture will become suddenly thick but as more milk is added it will eventually thin out. Remember to keep stirring rapidly as you add the milk. Then add garlic powder and salt.  Turn heat on to low, give it a last stir to combine until very smooth. Remove from heat.
  • Step 9 ASSEMBLE YOUR LASAGNA: Using a 9×13″ pan (preferably glass or stainless steel) spread some olive oil directly on the bottom of the pan. Then put a layer of lasagna noodles. Then pour a layer of Bolognese sauce over the noodles. Then a layer of béchamel sauce. Sprinkle with grated Parmesan. Repeat these steps until your pan is filled to the top (makes 3-4 total layers, depending on the size of the pan you use and the amount of sauce you use in each layer). Just make sure you reserve approx. 1/2 the Parmesan cheese for the final top layer. When baked the Parmesan will become crispy and create a beautiful golden color. (TIP: If you have any sauce left, then you can use it later over individual lasagna servings for those that like it with extra sauce.)
  • Step 10 BAKE: Preheat your oven to 375F (190 degrees Celsius). Tent the lasagna pan with aluminum foil and bake for 20-30 minutes so that the inner part of the lasagna is heated through. Remove the foil and bake uncovered for another 15 minutes until the top layer is nicely golden and reaches your preferred crispiness.
  • Step 11 Remove from oven and let cool 10-15 minutes before serving. Enjoy.