Lasagna Bolognese is a typical dish of Emilia Romagna cuisine, in particular of the city of Bologna. It’s a famous main course, a symbol of Italian cuisine in the world.
In Italy Lasagna Bolognese is a typical Sunday lunch dish or the main course for festivities and anniversaries. It’s appreciated by adults and children for its flavor, rich and tasty. It’s made with layers of fresh lasagna sheets, Bolognese sauce, béchamel sauce and plenty of grated Parmesan cheese. So, there are three different recipes, which you can make at different times: for example you can make Bolognese sauce a few days before and freeze it and the sheets of fresh pasta and the béchamel sauce can be made the day before. After you have prepared them, you can start assembling the layers of this delicious and rich Italian dish.
Lasagna Bolognese Variants
Each Italian region has its variants: in mountain areas, for example, ragù often is made with mushrooms. In Liguria, with pesto sauce; in Veneto with red radish of Treviso. In Umbria and in Marches, there is a particular version, the “vincisgrassi”, in which the ragù is enriched with chicken and prepared with coarsely chopped meat, béchamel is denser and, as spice, clove. In Sicily there is also the Lasagna version called “alla Norma”, with grated eggplants. At last, there is also Sardinian Lasagna made with “carasau” bread.
Lasagna Bolognese is a first dish very rich and nutritionally complete. For this reason it’s often served as a main dish. You can prepared it a day before, cooked and left in the refrigerator ready to gratinate. Lasagna Bolognese is so good that leftovers are delicious even the next day.
Lasagna Bolognese Recipe
For 600 g (1,3 lbs) of Bolognese Sauce (total time: 2h 30 min)
You can make Bolognese sauce even 2/3 days before and keep it in the fridge. You can also freeze it and defrost before use.
- 300 g (10 oz) of ground beef
- 150 g (5 oz) of minced pork
- 50 g (1,70 oz) of carrot
- 50 g (1,70 oz) of celery
- 50g (1,70 oz) of onion
- 300g (10 oz) of tomato passata
- ½ glass of dry white wine or red wine
- ½ glass of whole milk
- 1/2 lt of meat broth
- 3 tablespoons of olive oil or 50 g (1,7 oz) of butter
- salt and pepper
For 500 g (1,1 lbs) of fresh lasagna sheets (total time: 1 h)
You can make them while cooking bolognese sauce
- 400g (4 cups) “00” flour
- 4 medium eggs
- a pinch of salt
For 500 ml of bèchamel sauce (total time: 15 min)
Make it at the end, after Bolognese sauce and fresh pasta
- 500ml of milk
- 50g of butter (1,7oz)
- 50g of all-purpose flour (1,7oz)
- a pinch of salt
- grated nutmeg
- 200 g (7 oz) of grated Parmesan cheese
Are you ready to make some delicious homemade lasagna bolognase? So first you have to make Bolognese sauce, this delicious dish made with minced meat and tomato, useful for seasoning any type of pasta, so make plenty.
1) – Chop carrot, celery and onion then, in a saucepan, place olive oil (or butter) and the chopped vegetables. Simmer for 3 minutes over low heat. Add ground meats and mix with a wooden spoon.
2) – Cook for 5 minutes and occasionally stir. Raise a little the heat and add wine (red or white). Mix gently until the wine has completely evaporated.
3) – Add tomato passata. If the tomato passata is too thick, add 1 or 2 ladles of meat broth. Season with salt and pepper then add milk to dampen the acidity of the tomato.
4) – Cover with a lid and cook slowly over low heat for about 2 hours. Bolognese Sauce will be ready when you can see an oily, creamy sauce on the surface.
While Bolognese sauce is cooking, you can make fresh lasagna sheets. It will take about an hour. Here’s how to do it.
5) – Place the flour on the kitchen table and make a well in the center. Crack the eggs into the well and add a pinch of salt. With the help of your fingers, mix the eggs with the flour, incorporating a little at a time, until everything is combined. Knead the pieces of dough together.
6) – Now you have to knead and work the dough with your hands for about 10 minutes. Pay attention: if the dough is too soft and sticky, add flour; if it is too hard and with too much flour yet, add water. This is the hardest work but it’s necessary. If you don’t knead the flour with the eggs very well, the dough will be soft when cooked and not al dente as it should be. After ten minutes, make a big ball and wrap it in a cling film. Let it rest for 15/30 minutes. The cling film is usefull not to dry out the dough and let it go crusty around the edges.
7) – Now the dough is ready and we have to make lasagna sheets. Start removing a piece of dough as thick as an orange, dust it with flour and roll it by hand using a long wooden rolling pin. This is only to make it easy what will come later. Take a pasta machine (make sure that it’s clamped firmly to a clean surface), then roll the thick sheet of dough through the widest setting of your pasta machine. Remember to dust the pasta dough with flour if you feel it’s becoming sticky. Fold the pasta in half and repeat the process for 4/5 times. You have to work the dough till it’s smoother. Now roll the dough through all the settings of your machine, from the widest to the narrowest, until it reaches a thickness of one/half millimeter. Finally, cut the fresh pasta into rectangles and cook for 1 minute in plenty of salted water (add 1 tablespoon of oil to the water so that they do not stick to each other). Put them one at a time on clean dishcloths. Now fresh lasagna sheets are ready.
Finnally let’s make bèchamel.
8) – In a saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat then add the flour using a flour sieve while mixing it quickly with a whisk.
9) – Add milk while stirring rapidly. It must be cold and should be added at once. Cook while mixing until you have a fairly thick consistency (about 10/15 minutes). The bèchamel sauce is ready when it sticks to the spoon. Finally, add a pinch of salt and grated nutmeg.
Now that we have made all the main ingredients, we can start assembling the layers of our lasagna bolognese.
10) – Spread on the bottom of a baking dish two tablespoons of bechamel and two of bolognese sauce.
11) – Then place the first layer of pasta sheet. Now add two tablespoons of bechamel and two of bolognese sauce, then sprinkle with two tablespoons of Parmesan cheese. Finally place the second layer of pasta sheet.
12) – Repeat these steps for at least five layers (lasagna sheet, bolognese sauce, bèchamel and parmesan cheese) and in any case up to fill your baking dish. Finish by covering the last layer with plenty of Parnesan cheese that cooking will make a crispy crust.
13) – Bake at 190° (380F) for about 30 minutes. Leave Lasagna Bolognese cool out of the oven for 10 minutes before serving.