Lasagna (lasagne) Bolognese is a hearty Italian classic recipe made with layers of fresh pasta, Bolognese sauce, béchamel sauce and Parmesan cheese. It just might be the perfect Italian dish for feeding a family (or a small crowd) and is perfect for freezing for future use.

A slice of lasagna showing the many layers from the side

I recently made a ‘low and slow’ cooked Traditional Bolognese Sauce that is the main ingredient to this lasagna. Now, you might think lasagna is a complex dish to make but in reality 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. That’s it! But, it’s the quality of the ingredients and the method of putting it together that makes my recipe so delectable. 

A closeup showing the cooked lasagna

Lasagna without Mozzarella

In Northern Italy (like Bologna, home of Bolognese) they do not use mozzarella or ricotta in their lasagna, just like my recipe here. But what is that on the top that looks like mozzarella, you ask? It is béchamel sauce topped with Parmesan cheese to give it that wonderful, gooey topping when baked.

In Southern Italy, they make their lasagna with ricotta and mozzarella. It’s so interesting that the same country will have two different takes on the same dish, just based on either the northern or southern part of the country. 

Béchamel in Lasagna

When adding the béchamel sauce, you do not need to spread it thickly on each layer. Simply drizzle in lines across each layer. As it bakes, it will melt and spread evenly.

An overhead showing the lasagna in then pan

Fresh pasta vs Dried Pasta for Lasagna

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 a fork. I do like to make my own pasta, but these days many stores now carry fresh pasta that is very good indeed to don’t be afraid to go that route. So, if you happen see sheets of fresh pasta in the refrigerated section of the grocery store, I highly recommend using them!

If you are using fresh pasta, there is no need to pre-boil before assembling the lasagna as they take very little cooking time. With dry pasta, however, I do recommend cooking it just a few minutes shy of the recommended time on the box. That is, unless you are using the no boil noodles that are available now.

The completed lasagna ready for the oven

This is a well-stacked lasagna and feeds a lot! I am not stingy on the layers here because I don’t like a wimpy tower of lasagna on my plate. Look a the layers in the picture below! Seriously.

The best pan to use for Lasagna

You will need a deep casserole dish for this lasagna recipe, 9 x 11-inches (23  x 28 cm) 2-3 inches (5-7 cm) deep, as there are 5 layers of pasta.

A closeup of a slice of lasagna showing the layers of pasta, meat sauce and cheese.

Tips for Assembling Lasagna

My number one rule is to divide all the ingredients into 5 even parts when you start to assemble your masterpiece. There will be 5 layers and this way you know that you will not run out of ingredients. Another tip is – you don’t need thick layers of sauce between the past sheets.

Lasagna Bolognese make ahead instructions

Prepare the recipe up to step 5 (all the layers are complete). Cover tightly with foil and refrigerate for up to 1 day. The day you’re ready to bake, remove from the fridge and bring to room temperature while the oven preheats. Never put a cold ceramic dish in a hot oven. Bake as directed.

Best way to Freeze Lasagna

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 your dish 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 cooking instructions.

Lasagna Leftovers Freezing Tips

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/190°C 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.

The meat sauce on top is peaking through the béchamel sauce and melted Parmesan.

Lasagna Variations

Vegetarian Lasagna

A delicious idea instead of using the meat-based Bolognese sauce is Mushroom Vegetarian Bolognese Sauce. For vegetarian béchamel, just switch out the milk to dairy-free.

Italian Sausage Lasagna

Italian sausage is an easy way to make a meaty Italian Sausage Ragu di Salsiccia that you can also use in this Lasagna.

Yield: 8 -10

Lasagna Bolognese

A slice of lasagna Bolognese on a white plate with a fork

Layers of fresh pasta sheets, Bolognese sauce, bechamel sauce and Parmesan cheese. Perfect for feeding a crowd or freezing.

Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 45 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 5 minutes


  • 1 pound (453 grams) lasagna sheets
  • 2 ½ tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 ½ 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 (see note for recipe link)
  • 10 ounces (283 grams) Parmesan cheese, grated


  1. 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.
  2. 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 until thickened. Turn off the heat and stir in the nutmeg and a little salt to taste. Set aside.
  3. Preheat oven to 375°F/190°C.
  4. Set all your ingredients up in a line, Bolognese sauce, lasagna sheets, Parmesan cheese and the béchamel (white sauce).
  5. 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. See note for directions to prepare ahead.
  6. Cover with foil, place on a baking sheet in case it bubbles over and bake for 30 minutes.
  7. 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).
  8. Allow to rest for 30 minutes before slicing.


Bolognese Recipe

To make ahead: Prepare the recipe up to step 5 (all the layers are complete). Cover tightly with foil and refrigerate for up to 1 day. The day you're ready to bake, remove from the fridge and bring to room temperature while the oven preheats. Never put a cold ceramic dish in a hot oven. Bake as directed.

Nutrition Information



Serving Size


Amount Per Serving Calories 313Total Fat 20gSaturated Fat 10gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 7gCholesterol 53mgSodium 1199mgCarbohydrates 21gFiber 4gSugar 10gProtein 13g

This nutrition calculation is provided by Nutronix that is only a guideline and not intended for any particular diet.