Have you ever made lasagna Bolognese?
But the original ones, the true lasagna Bolognese. A rich and sumptuous recipe.
Seven layers of goodness.
Over the centuries Bologna has conquered the nickname of “Bologna la Grassa” (Bologna-The-Fat) also for dishes like this one. Layers of ragù and béchamel held by a shiny, green sheet of pasta dough represent a triumph of colours and flavours.
The last layer that becomes crunchy during the cooking in the oven, the béchamel that, at the first cut, seems undecided whether to show itself or remain embraced by the meat sauce, the scent and warmth, all contribute to making it a unique dish where adjectives such as rich, decadent, baroque seem to be coming out dancing from the dictionary especially for the occasion.
My favorite part? When I sink the knife into the hot lasagna and for a moment a cloud of smells envelops my thoughts, taking me back in time and evoking happy tables and lovely memories of dear people. Okay, I really like eating it too.
Below the recipe, I’ll wait for you with the characteristics that turn a simple lasagna in a lasagna Bolognese .
Cooking lasagna Bolognese takes time (even if you choose a ready-made pasta dough). Make it during the weekend or when you can enjoy your time in the kitchen. And organize the work. For example, it’s better to make sfoglia (pasta dough) and ragù the day before. The next day you’ll make béchamel sauce. And, at least, you’ll be ready to make your lasagna binding all the ingredients.
Cooking Bolognese and life will smile on you.
Pasta dough: fresh or ready? If you want to eat a good Italian dish, I suggest you to cook your own besciamella and ragù alla bolognese. As for sfoglia, I understand that not everyone want or can to make it. In this case, buy a good quality green sheet of pasta, already cut into rectangles that you will then adapt to your baking pan (the rectangles of pasta should be placed side by side, layer after layer, if necessary cut the excess dough).
If 7 layers look like a mountain too high, you can stop at 5, I think nothing bad will happen. But, I recommend you to use green pasta dough, good béchamel and Bolognese sauce (on the blog you can find the recipe to make the traditional one).
If you don’t want the lasagna sticks to the pan, put a small ladle of béchamel in the middle of the pan, then spread it with a spoon.
If you make fresh sfoglia, you can make it the day before. Place it to dry, already cut into rectangles that you do not have to overlap, covered with a clean cloth that keeps it moist.
more than cooking, you have to blind together the ingredients, already cooked.
That’s why it bakes quite quickly, only half an hour in the oven. Usually I bake lasagna covered with aluminum, (180C degrees, static function), after about 20 minutes I turn up the temperature, then I wait another 10 minutes before to remove the aluminium lid and leave the lasagna in the oven for the last 5 minutes to make crust. Maximum 10 mins!
If, however, I have to freeze them, I make this step just before to serve.
after cooking, when lasagna is at room temperature, you can freeze it. Or keep it in the fridge for 2-3 days. Before eating it, let it defrost outside the refrigerator, then heat lasagna in the oven, covering the baking tray to prevent it from drying out.
I usually take it out of the freezer in the morning for the evening or the night before for lunch.
Lasagna Bolognese Recipe
Fresh green pasta dough, 500 g (or ready-made dry pasta dough, 250 g)
Ragù alla Bolognese, 500g (it’s an abundant quantity but I make 7 layers and if some ragù is left over I can freeze it or make croutons).
béchamel sauce, 1 liter (1 liter milk, 100g flour, 100g butter, nutmeg sprinkling)
Fresh, grated parmigiano reggiano, to taste
Butter, a few flakes
A day or two before making lasagna, I suggest you to make sfoglia (read in the Food Tips how to preserve it) and to cook ragù that needs some time to get even better. Then keep it in the fridge until you use it (you know, find the recipe for making the Bolognese sauce on the blog).
Before proceeding with lasagna Bolognese, make the béchamel sauce: it takes you more time if you go out to buy it than to make it. Not to mention the cost. Let’s make it together.
Place butter in a pot, melt it on low heat and add in flour always whisking.
Then turn off the heat and add the milk a little at a time, hot or cold doesn’t matter, always stirring so that no lumps form. When you have incorporated all the milk, put the pot on a medium-low heat always stirring. When while stirring you start to find a slight resistance, turn the heat down again. Cook for another minute and turn off.
Let’s make lasagna!
Take a rectangular baking pan, 20cmx18cm, place some béchamel in the middle of the the bottom and widen with a spoon. Place the first layer of pasta dough, cover with a generous layer of meat sauce, leaving about 1 cm from the edges. Add the béchamel in the middle, sprinkle with grated parmigiano, cover with another layer of pastry and press lightly with your hands. Repeat after each layer.
How much béchamel should be added per layer? Depends on your taste. I like it with a lot of béchamel so lasagna is more creamy. For that, I’ll add 4-5 large spoons per layer.
Repeat all until to the seventh layer that you will have to cover only with béchamel and not, also, with meat sauce (usually I make a layer almost 1cm high of béchamel, but you make as you prefer). Finally sprinkle with parmigiano reggiano, add a few flakes of butter, cover the pan with a lid or aluminium and bake in a preheated oven (180C degrees, static function) for 30 minutes.
If you want to know how to make “crosticina” (crunchy crust), read the food tips.
Serve lasagna Bolognese hot and with a good wine.
The Sunday Lunch
If you were born on the Via Emilia, lasagne alla Bolognese is one of the classic Sunday lunch dishes. But not the holidays. At Christmas only tortellini, at Easter better lasagne goccia d’oro or vegetables. Or at least, it used to be. Today lasagne is considered, rightfully, a dish so special to deserve even the festive table.
It is a traditional recipe, already mentioned by Pellegrino Artusi in his famous late nineteenth century manual dedicated to Italian cuisine because, despite the years spent in Florence, he was born and raised in Romagna. In short, he knew Bolognese cuisine well and appreciated it.
Today it is among the Bolognese recipes deposited at the local Chamber of Commerce.
What does it mean? That you can make it however you want but the real Bolognese lasagna has precise characteristics that must be respected.
Traditional Lasagna Bolognese
To make the real lasagna Bolognese, you have to follow some tricks.
They are prepared by alternating layers of pasta dough, ragù, béchamel sauce and grated parmigiano reggiano.
The pasta dough is always the green one, of spinach not nettle. The sauce is Bolognese. There are 7 layers and the last one should not be covered with ragù but only with béchamel sauce, a few flakes of butter and grated parmigiano.
After having “assembled” the lasagne in the casserole, bake in the oven for about half an hour, no more. Just enough time to bind the ingredients, already cooked, to each other. And how to make the crust without burning a masterpiece? Read the food tips.
Personally I don’t like the top layer too much crusty. For me, the top layer should be soft in the middle and crunchy in the corners.
If you want to cook an all bolognese lunch, you can look for among the traditional recipes on the blog.
The lasagna Bolognese you see in the picture is for two. If you make one for 4 people, it has to be bigger.