Lasagna (lasagne) Bolognese is a hearty Italian classic recipe with layers of fresh pasta, Bolognese sauce, béchamel sauce and Parmesan cheese. Perfect for feeding a crowd or freezing for future use.
Last week I made a low and slow cooked traditional Bolognese sauce that is the main ingredient to this lasagna. There are just 4 ingredients to this lasagna, the meat sauce, a béchamel sauce (which is a simple white sauce), Parmesan cheese and fresh pasta sheets.
Fresh pasta vs Dried Pasta
I chose to use fresh pasta because it has a better texture than dried and you can cut through the layers so much easier with fork. I like to make my own pasta, but many stores now carry fresh pasta that is very good. If you see sheets of fresh pasta in the refrigerated section of the grocery store I highly recommend using it.
If you are using fresh pasta, there is no need to pre-boil before assembling the lasagna as they take very little cooking time. I do recommend cooking the dried pasta (just a few minutes shy of the recommended time on the box). Unless you are using the no-boil lasagna noodles that are available now.
This is a well-stacked lasagna and feeds a lot. I am not stingy on the layers here because I don’t like a whimpy tower of lasagna on my plate. Look a the layers in the picture below!
The best pan to use
You will need a deep casserole dish for this lasagna recipe, 2-3 inches deep as there are 6 layers of pasta.
Assembling the Lasagna
My number 1 rule is to divide all the ingredients into 5 even parts when you start to assemble. There will be 5 layers and this way you know that you will not run out of ingredients.
You will notice that there is no mozzarella in this lasagna. But what is that on the top that looks like mozzarella, you ask? It is the béchamel sauce melted together with Parmesan cheese to give a gooey topping.
When adding the béchamel sauce, you do not need to spread it thickly on each layer. Simply drizzle in lines across the layer. It will melt and spread as it bakes.
This is not a travesty, this is because in Bologna Italy, where the sauce and the dish originates, they do not use mozzarella in their lasagna. Nor do they use ricotta, a white béchamel sauce is used instead.
This lasagna Bolognese is the perfect make ahead dish that freezes really well. If you want to make it and freeze uncooked in the dish (make sure it is freezer friendly), just cover with 2 layers of plastic wrap and foil. When you are ready to bake, defrost in the fridge overnight and cook according to the recipe.
Leftovers freezing tip
If you want to freeze the lasagna after baking, allow it to come to room temperature, then cover with 2 layers of plastic wrap and foil, then freeze. Defrost overnight in the fridge then reheat in a 375°F oven, covered in foil for 30 minutes or until heated through.
I also like to freeze it in individual servings, by cutting in squares. This way they are quicker to defrost.
If you’ve made this or any other recipe leave a comment below. I love to hear from my readers!
- 1 pound (453 grams) lasagna sheets
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 2 cups (473 ml) whole milk, warm
- Salt to taste
- ½ teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
- 12 cups (6 pints, 2.8 liters) Bolognese sauce
- 10 ounces (283 grams) Parmesan cheese, grated
- Cook the lasagna sheets a for 8-10 minutes. Drain the sheets and lie flat on towels to cool, then stack between sheets of parchment paper until ready to use. Set aside. Skip this step if using fresh pasta sheets.
- To a saucepan add the butter over medium heat. When melted, whisk in the flour and cook for a few minutes until it turns a light golden color.
- Slowly pour in the milk while whisking. Bring to a simmer and cook for 10 minutes. Turn off the heat and stir in the nutmeg and a little salt to taste. Set aside.
- Preheat oven to 375°F/190°C.
- Set all your ingredients up in a line, Bolognese sauce, lasagna sheets, Parmesan cheese and the béchamel (white sauce).
- Use unsalted butter to grease a 9 x 13-inch (23 x 33cm) casserole dish. Spread a ladle full of Bolognese sauce over the bottom of the pan in an even layer. Divide the ingredients into 5, you will be making 5 layers. Line with lasagna sheets on top of the sauce, slightly overlapping. Spread 1/5 of the Bolognese, sprinkle Parmesan cheese then drizzle a thin layer of béchamel sauce, you don't need to cover the entire area. Repeat, pasta, Bolognese, Parmesan, béchamel until all the ingredients are gone and the pan is full. The last topping being a layer of pasta with Bolognese and béchamel, top with Parmesan.
- Cover with foil, place on a baking sheet in case it bubbles over and bake for 30 minutes.
- After 30 minutes remove the foil and bake for 15 minutes more. Use a small knife to insert into the pasta, it should be tender. If not, place back into the oven until done (cooking times will vary according to your oven and may be quicker if using fresh pasta).
- Allow to rest for 30 minutes before slicing.
Amount Per Serving Calories 572Saturated Fat 9gCholesterol 37mgSodium 1205mgCarbohydrates 70gProtein 30g