Lasagna Bolognese

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Lasagna Bolognese might not be the type of lasagna you grew up with, but it’s certainly one of the very best (and unquestionably most authentic) ways you’ll ever eat this Italian dish.

What is Lasagna Bolognese?

Lasagna Bolognese is a layered pasta dish, composed of layers of homemade bolognese sauce, bechamel, lasagna pasta, and parmigianno reggiano. The ingredients and cooking methodology itself isn’t all that complicated, but it does take time.

You may have been raised on more cheesier, saucier lasagnas (we love those too!), but this Lasagna Bolognese is an absolute delight. The flavors from the slow-cooked bolognese sauce alone are uncomparable, and when you compare that base with the homemade bechamel and pasta, the combination is simply unbeatable.

How To Make Lasagna Bolognese

Making Lasagna Bolognese can be broken up into 4 simple steps. The most time consuming of them all is the first– making the homemade bolognese. You can make this up to 3 or 4 days in the fridge ahead of time to break up the recipe.

1- Make the bolognese sauce. We’ll need a double batch of our authentic bolognese recipe. It doesn’t take too long to dice the vegetables and brown the meat. The difficult part is slow cooking everything for a minimum of 2 hours– we promise it’s worth the wait!

2- Once the bolognese is finished (or nearly complete), cook the pasta and make your bechamel sauce. Once the pasta water is boiling, you only need to cook the pasta for about 4 minutes. The bechamel sauce is very straightforward and should take about 15 minutes total.

3- Assemble the lasagna. Spread a thin layer of the bechamel on then bottom of your pan and then layer each section first with pasta, then bolognese, then bechamel, and finely a good amount of parmigiano reggiano. Repeat until you’ve assembled 6 layers, and top the final layer with pasta, bechamel, then bolognese, and finally copious amounts of parm.

4- Bake the Lasagna Bolognese at 350 for roughly 30-35 minutes, uncovered. The lasagna will be irresistibly fragrant and warm all the way through, and the cheese on the top should be completely melted.

How To Layer Lasagna

After adding a small amount of bechamel sauce on the bottom of the pan (this prevents the pasta from sticking), lay pasta until it forms one complete layer. You may need to overlap the pasta slightly to achieve a complete layer. If possible try to not let the pasta overlap more than 1/2 inch. Pasta may lay positioned horizontally or vertically across the pan depending on which brand you use.

Use a measuring cup to add 3/4 cup of the bolognese sauce on top of each layer of pasta. Spread the sauce evenly with a spatula, then add about 1/2 cup of the bechamel sauce directly on top of the bolognese, spreading again with the spatula. It’s okay if the bechamel and bolognese appear mixed as you spread the bechamel on top.

The final portion of your lasagna is the Parmigiano Reggiano. You can grate your cheese prior to assembly or grate as you go. After sprinkling on the Parmigiano Reggiano, repeat the entire layering process beginning with the pasta. To completely layer this lasagna, repeat the layering process a minimum of 6 times, or until you have used all of your ingredients.

How long to Cook Lasagna at 350° F

Many lasagna recipes call for a cook time of up to one hour, which may be necessary if you have large amounts of cheese or cold ingredients. Because this Lasagna Bolognese is minimalist and authentic, it only calls for a cook time of 30-35 minutes at 350° F. If you need to test your lasagna for doneness, you can cut directly in the middle of the lasagna and check the temperature to make sure that it’s nice and hot in the thickest part of the lasagna.

What To Serve With Lasagna Bolognese

There is no limit when it comes to what you can serve with lasagna. We suggest some sort of bread (sourdough, ciabatta, a baguette, or even focaccia) that will allow you to mop up and enjoy any excess sauces remaining from the Lasagna Bolognese.

Vegetables also make a great side accompaniment for lasagna and we recommend corn, green beans, sauteed greens, a caesar salad, or an arugula salad with a homemade vinaigrette.

How To Reheat Lasagna

If you’re in a time crunch, reheating lasagna in the microwave is the quickest way to do the job. If you have an extra large piece of lasagna, you’ll want to cut it in half (and possibly even in quarters) and microwave for 1-2 minutes. The best way, however, to reheat lasagna is in the oven. Simple place the desired amount in an ovenproof dish (an 8×8″ square pan is perfect), cover with foil, and place in an oven heated to 350° F for about 30 minutes.

Can You Freeze Lasagna?

Lasagna can be frozen before or after it’s baked, but for best results freeze the lasagna after it has been assembled but before it has been baked. Before placing it in the freezer wrap it tightly with foil and then plastic wrap. Once ready to use, let the lasagna sit at room temperature while the oven preheats to 350° F. Remove the plastic wrap and bake for roughly 60 minutes, until warmed completely through.

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Lasagna Bolognese

This lasagna Bolognese is extraordinarily delicious, can be made in stages, and is as authentic as lasagna gets!
Course Main Course
Cuisine Italian
Keyword authentic Italian lasagna, lasagna, lasagna bolognese
Prep Time 3 hours
Cook Time 30 minutes
Servings 8 servings

Equipment

  • Parchment paper

Ingredients

Bolognese Sauce

  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 4 ribs celery, diced
  • 2 large carrots, peeled and diced
  • 1 lb. 80/20 ground beef
  • 1 lb. ground pork
  • 2 cups cooking wine or chicken stock*
  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 1 32 oz. can whole, peeled san marzano tomatoes
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 parmigiano reggiano rind (optional)
  • kosher salt

Bechamel

  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup all purpose flour
  • 4 cups whole milk, warmed
  • kosher salt

Additional Ingredients

  • 1 lb. uncooked lasagna pasta*
  • 3 cups finely grated parmigiano reggiano, plus more for topping
  • 1 Tablespoon unsalted butter

Instructions

Bolognese Sauce

  • Heat a large dutch oven to medium heat. Add the olive oil and once warmed add the onion, celery, and carrots, and cook until soft and vegetables have begun to caramelize, about 10-20 minutes. Do not overcook or burn vegetables- if heat is too high adjust heat to medium-low or low.
  • Crumble the ground beef and ground pork over the vegetables, stir to combine, and cook until the meat is cooked completely and no longer pink. Add the cooking wine or chicken stock and cook until evaporated, about 5-10 minutes. Add the whole milk and cook until also evaporated, another 5-10 minutes.
  • Using an immersion blender, traditional blender or food processor, pulse tomatoes for a few seconds, until they are mostly blended, but small scant pieces are still intact. Add the tomatoes, bay leaves, and parm rind to vegetables and meat and stir to incorporate. Salt to taste. Cook for a minimum of 2 hours and up to 5 hours, on the lowest possible simmer, uncovered, stirring every so often. Once complete, taste again and add additional salt if needed. Discard the parm rind and bay leaves. Set aside.

Bechamel

  • Heat a medium-sized saucepan over medium heat and melt the butter. Whisk the flour into the butter and cook for 1-2 minutes, until a paste is formed. Slowly whisk in the warmed milk. Allow bechamel to thicken (about 7-10 minutes), whisking regularily. Add kosher salt to taste (a minimum of 1 teaspoon and up to 2 teaspoons) and set aside.

Lasagna

  • Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Salt water heavily and add lasagna, using tongs to keep each piece of pasta separated (this prevents sticking). Cook for 4 minutes, just until pasta has firmed slightly, and place lasagna into a large bowl of ice water. Transfer pasta to cookie sheets, separating layers with parchment paper so that lasagna does not stick together.

Assembly and Baking

  • Preaheat the oven to 350° F. Spread 1 tablespoon of unsalted butter on the surface of a 9×13" baking dish, and spread 1/2 cup of the bechamel sauce on the bottom.
  • Layer the lasagna until it forms a complete layer, allowing pieces of pasta to slightly overlap if necessary (this could be three long pieces of pasta laid lengthwise or 4 shorter pieces laid widthwise). Second, spread approximately 3/4 cup of the bolognese sauce onto the pasta layer, using a spatula to spread until even. Next spread roughly 1/2 cup of the bechamel directly onto the bolognese sauce and spread. And finally top the bechamel layer with approximately 1/2 cup of finely grated parmigiano reggiano. Repeat this layering process (pasta, bolognese, bechamel, and parm) 6 times or until ingredients have been used.
  • Once the top layer of pasta has been laid, place the remaining bechamel on top, then the remaining bolognese, and finally one last layer of Parmigiano Reggiano until all of the bolognese is covered with Parm (a little bit more than the other layers). Bake for 30-35 minutes uncovered, until the lasagna is warmed through completely and the cheese on the top is melted. Let sit for 5-10 minutes and serve warm.

Notes

*Recommended brands of lasagna for this recipe are De Cecco and Barilla. 

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