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Can I make this ahead of time for large group and freeze?
Read all the comments… made the recipe pretty much per the instructions… added garlic. Best ever. Will make again and again… also, excellent on pasta.
I love your suggestions! I made a bolognese sauce the other day, served over pappardelle pasta, and it was delicious, but I had a lot of leftover sauce. I’m planning to use it for lasagna bolognese, and have purchased the thin barella lasagna noodles. I’d like to make it with more layers, using the thinner noodles, and am wondering if the bolognese sauce should be made finer (less chunky) by using my immersion blender. How fine should the meat be, for using in the lasagna? I don’t expect to get a response in the next 5 days, but maybe it will help next time. Thank you.
Hi, Joyce! I would not recommend blending the sauce as I think you’ll end up with puree. Instead, I’d warm up the sauce on the stovetop and use spoon to break up any large chunks of ground meat. You might be able to use a potato masher as well. Enjoy!
Thank you Emma, for your thoughtful comment. I think the sauce wasn’t to chunky, but I do have a potato masher which could eliminate the large chunks, if there are any. Sometimes I just wing it with recipes, and sometimes I like to be sure I get it right. This is why I’m not a great baker; too much precise measuring. I do appreciate your suggestion!
Made it , loved it .One of my regular meals to make for the family now .
I made this last night and it is absolutely delicious – everyone loved it! The only thing I would change is the amount of béchamel. I made slightly more than the recipe called for, but it was still not enough. It tasted amazing with a thin layer of béchamel on the top layer of noodles, but even with making extra, there was hardly enough. Baking time seemed like it needed to be closer to 35-40 minutes. Overall, I would absolutely make this recipe again! Time consuming but SO worth it!
I am planning on making this soon….can I make it a day in advance and just remove from the fridge, bring it to room temp(leave out about an hour) and then bake?
Hi Kim, I haven’t tried making it ahead as you’ve described, but don’t see why it wouldn’t work.
I made this last night for a small group and it was a hit; even with the three Italian-Americans in the house lol. I took Vittoria’s suggestions and did not use sausage or clove and added nutmeg. I also doubled the béchamel and this may have made it less traditional, but it tasted delicious. I used oven-ready lasagna, mostly because I was in a time crunch and I hate boiling lasagna noodles; I always screw it up or burn myself. Thank you Elise, for a simple Bolognese béchamel lasagna that finally gave me the courage to try it! It was sooo good.
For the canned tomatoes do i drain it juice or include the juice??
Hi Amy, you can use all of the juice, it will evaporate as the sauce simmers.
I hafta say, this is my staple lasagna recipe and love that it’s not overloaded with mounds of ricotta cheese. This is exactly how lasagnas are served in Italy. I usually use jus a little less tomato tho since traditional bolognese has a little less tomato and more milk. I absolutely love to clove and cinnamon. Such a depth of flavor. This is the BEST recipe out there and probably one of the most authentic.
I’m so glad you like it Darren! It’s my favorite lasagna recipe as well.
This is my go to recipe for an authentic lasagna bolognese. Somone had mentioned that they never heard of cloves or cinnamon in Bolognese sauce but, I’ve been to Italy and Bologna around 14 times and I can attest that in fact they do use the Clove and cinnamon in many of their recipes. It’s pretty traditional. Perhaps not everyone, but a large number use it; a kind of “secret ingredient”. True tho, it should be a bit less tomato; usually a tomato paste and beef broth is used. But honestly, I prefer the tomato. And for gods sakes, dont go adding garlic, basil, oregano etc. let the simple ingredients all meld together. Don’t ruin a perfect dish by over seasoning. Italian cooking is simplistic.
I rarely write reviews but came across this recipe for Lasagne alla Bolognese and just had to comment based on my own culinary experience. I do not mean to find fault with this recipe since all tastes are different and personal and creating your own version of a recipe is what makes recipes unique and cooking fun.
I would just like people to know how lasagna Bolognese is made in Bologna where the recipe originated.
I must agree whole heartedly with Carmelita, the Italian cooking instructor from Bologna. I too am born and raised in Italy with many relatives from Bologna and have eaten and made Lasagne Bolognese all my life. Regardless of where eaten, whether in a home or a restaurant, I have never seen it prepared with cinnamon and/or cloves. I truly believe this variation is Greek inspired since these are flavors very often found in many Greek recipes.
A little freshly grated nutmeg would be the only spice used.
Also, the use of Italian sausage is also very rare since any combination of ground pork, veal and/or beef along with unsmoked bacon (pancetta) would be the only meats used.
I have found since living in the US that what is known as “Italian” sausage here is really Sicilian style sausage, a sausage made with spices like fennel.
Believe it or not the majority of sausage made in Italy does not include fennel, so there are many flavors in this particular recipe that would not be found in a true Bolognese sauce.
One of the basic things to know is Bolognese sauce is not a tomato sauce with meat, but a meat sauce with a touch of tomato, so that is why, in Bologna you will not find a sauce heavy with tomatoes, or cheese for that matter and never with the heavier cheeses like ricotta.
Another basic principle of Bolognese style lasagne is that the pasta be very thin so it will create a light and delicate lasagne. Many Italians make their own lasagna noodles but without practice that is not an easy task so using a store bought “no cook” lasagne noodle is a very good idea since they are much thinner then the typical dry lasagna noodles found in American grocery stores that require boiling. The one thing I would suggest if using a no cook lasagna, is to immerse the sheets in water for a few seconds just before layering. This will add a touch of moisture that would benefit the finished product.
Also, topping the lasagne with bechemel and finishing with a good Parmesano Reggiano will give you the melt in your mouth texture and slightly browned finish you want.
I hope my comments will not insulted anyone since that was not my intent. I do hope you will all give traditional lasagne Bolognese a try. It is one of the most delicious dishes ever created. Ciao tutti!
Hello Vittoria, thank you so much for your thoughtful comment! I love the suggestion to immerse the no-boil pasta sheets in water for a few seconds.
These are wonderful comments. This will be my first time making a lasagna with béchamel and not the American way with ricotta, etc. You’re comments make it much easier for me to finally try it this way. I’ve mastered a pretty good Bolognese thanks to other chefs’ recipes and I also make Carbonara the good old fashioned Italian way. Wish me luck, as I am making lasagna for friends tonight and 2 of them are Italian (one 1st gen American)!
This recipe looks absolutely scrumptious, and I do plan on making the lasagna later on. What if I’m unable to find pancetta? Is it possible that I can substitute bacon? Thanks!! :-)
When making pasta in Italy the ratio was i egg for every 100 grams of flour, and recipes would often specify a “4 egg lasagna”, so – when making fresh pasta for this, would a 4 egg/400 gram flour pasta be adequate?
This sounds so good but I am allergic to parsley family. Can’t eat celery, carrots, fennel, parsley etc. I can work around the sausage by seasoning my own ground pork but am concerned about the flavoring of the meat sauce if I eliminate the carrots and celery. Any suggestions?
If you can’t do celery and carrots, I would use onions, onion greens, and tomato. Of course this will change the flavor, especially the tomato, but it will still be good. ~Elise
Hello. As I’m not from the States, do you have any suggestions what I can use as a replacement for the italian sausage?
Just use ground pork with a sprinkling of fennel seeds, salt, and pepper. ~Elise
Wonderful! I had some leftover ragu (I make and love the recipe from Mario Batali’s Babbo cookbook) so I made half the recipe. So, so good. This is definitely my go to lasagna recipe from now on! I love it that it’s not packed with cheese. Really lets all the elements shine.
Where do I find the pancetta?
Sometimes you can find it packaged in the meat department, or available for slices in the deli section of your grocery store. ~Elise
Yum. I’ve made this twice now (the latest was for dinner on Xmas Eve), and it’s been a challenge both times to resist eating the sauce right out of the pan!
Our local store doesn’t provide all the correct meats, so we improvised both times with little pieces of smoked spek (Dutch bacon), a container of 50% ground pork and 50% ground beef, and bratwurst. The end result is a delicious but seriously fatty sauce, so I’ve been removing some of the fat from the pan before adding the tomatoes.
For Xmas Eve I stuck to parmesan, but we branched out to mozzarella previously. Both were delicious, but the parmesan version definitely has a richer, more decadent taste.
I also admit I can’t resist adding a little extra clove…
I highly recommend this recipe, and think it’s flexible enough for improvisation of the meat and cheese if necessary.
Thank you for sharing the recipe, it will be first time.
Can I used the 2% milk instead of the whole milk?
Can I prepare the bechamel sauce the day before I prepare the whole course? The bechamel sauce will still be good the next day?
Hello Qing, it’s probably fine using 2%. As for preparing the bechamel a day ahead, I don’t know. I haven’t tried doing that. If you do, please let us know how it turns out for you. ~Elise
Elise, once again, rave reviews from my family. My husband grew up next to a very traditional Italian family in Australia and misses the food dearly. He loves lasagna, but hates ricotta so I’ve tried dozens of recipes over our 10 year marriage in an attempt to win his heart lol – all fell short until this one. The only change I made was to use Shiraz rather than water when the sauce started sticking. I made a double batch for company and it’s all gone. Thanks again for then wonderful recipe. My search the perfect lasagna is over.