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Lasagna Bolognese with Bechamel

Lasagna Bolognese is nothing short of a masterclass in comfort food, layers of pasta, bechamel, Parmesan and classic ragu alla Bolognese.

Whilst it requires a bit of planning and time the perfect meaty lasagna is easy to make and all of the elements can be prepared separately and be put together later.

Classic Lasagna bolognese, baked to perfection served with a side salad.

Pefectly Layered Meat Lasagna

Lasagna means many things to many people and folk love nothing better than to argue about food, but life is way too short for that as far as I am concerned.

There are many Italian Lasagna variations, some contain boiled egg and some are not even baked. That is before we consider all the other modern global variants.

My lasagna bolognese recipe is influenced by lasagne el forno from the Emilia-Romagna area of North Eastern Italy.

It is a delightfully simple affair of 4 very good things.

  • Bechamel Sauce: No Ricotta for me, a simple bechamel mother sauce made from flour, milk and butter. Don’t worry, you’ve got this. It is esserntially the same process that I use in my parsely sauce.
  • Bolognese alla Ragu: A classic slow-cooked meaty red wine ragu that I make from a mix of beef and pork.If you want to go vegetarian you can even use my lentil bolognese!
  • Pasta: I typically use ready to use store bought pasta sheets, but this is also awesome with my rich duck egg pasta.
  • Parmesan: No effort here folks just a bit of grating!
Classic Lasagna Bolognese, baked to perfection in a baking dish with a crispy cheesy topping.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I make the ragu in advance?

Absolutely, I rarely make this recipe in a single session! I usually make a much larger version of the ragu in the slow cooker, (see my video below). I have also added the recipe for my slow cooker version below the recipe for the lasagna Bolognese.

Can I make the bechamel sacue in advance?

In theory yes although I am not keen on doing this. When the bechamel sauce cools it forms a skin, you can reheat and stir this in but it always leads to some lumps in the sauce.

If you do make the sauce in advance, use some cling film and place it over the sauce.

It is important to ensure that there is no air between the cling film is in contact with the sauce. This reduces the amount of skin formed.

Can I make build the lasagna in advance?

Yes, it will be fine in the fridge for a day or two before baking in the oven. Cover the bowl with cling film and try and remove it from the fridge for around an hour before baking.

How do I stop my lasagna spreading all over the plate?

There are a couple of ways to esure that your lasagna stands up proud when you serve it.

The first is to let it cool a little before you serve it, don’t worry it stays hot for a long time.

The second is to ensure that you do not add too much meat or bechamel in the layering.

Can I save leftover lasagna Bolognese?

Yes, it is fine in the fridge for 3-4 days and will freeze resonably well for 3 months. Defrost before reheating in a oderate oven, although you should be aware that it does dry out a little.

Close up Lasagna bolognese, baked to perfection.

Serving Suggestions.

I tend to serve my lasagna bolognese with a pretty light leaf salad. Ingredients like frisee, rocket (arugula) and watercress add a lovely peppery background note.

If I am feeling particularly greedy then I will rustle up a quick and simple garlic bread.

If you want some veggeis then consider adding some greens!

In spring I would add my air fryer garlic asparagus.

Later in the year I would add something like some roasted tenderstem broccoli or my French influenced garlic green beans amandine.

Perfectly layered lasagna bolognese with a crispy cheesy topping served with a side salad.
Yield: 4 Servings

Lasagna Bolognese Recipe

Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 2 hours 30 minutes
Resting Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 3 hours 15 minutes

A traditional lasagna bolognese is nothing short of a masterclass in comfort food, pasta, bechamel, Parmesan and a trad bolognese ragu layered and baked to perfection.

Ingredients

For the Ragu alla Bolognese:

  • 300g (10oz) Minced Beef
  • 200g (7oz) Minced Pork
  • 150g (5oz) Smoked Streaky Bacon
  • 50g (⅓ Cup) Onion
  • 50g (⅓ Cup) Carrot
  • 50g (⅓ Cup) Celery
  • 25g (1 Tbsp + 2 Tsp) Butter
  • 125ml (½ Cup) Red Wine
  • 1 Tbsp Tomato Puree
  • ½ Tsp Salt
  • ¼ Tsp Black Pepper
  • 1 Bay Leaf
  • 75ml (⅓ Cup) Full Fat Milk

For the Bechamel Sauce:

  • 500ml (2 Cups) Whole Milk
  • 50g (¼ Cup + 1 Tsp) Plain Flour
  • 50g (3 Tbsp + 1 Tsp) Butter
  • 1 (100g) Medium Onion
  • 1 Bay Leaf
  • 12 Black Pepper Corns
  • ¼ Tsp Salt

To build the Lasagna:

  • 12 Lasagne Sheets
  • 125g (1¼ Cups) Parmesan Cheese

Instructions

For the Ragu all Bolognese (Make this ahead of time and cool):

  1. Cut the celery and carrot into a 3mm dice.
  2. Peel the onion and chop it into a dice the same size as the carrot and celery.
  3. Cut the bacon into a 7-10mm dice.
  4. Heat a 28cm or 11" frying pan (not non-stick) over medium a high heat, when it is hot add the bacon and cook for 2 minutes.
  5. Add the butter and when it begins to foam add the onion, carrot and celery and cook until softened, this will take about 10-12 minutes. Do not colour the vegetables.
  6. Add the beef to the pork mix and cook until it starts to caramelise, stirring occasionally. This will take around 10-12 minutes.
  7. Turn the heat up and add the minced pork and beef and cook until well-browned stirring occasionally, this will take 10-15 minutes.
  8. Stir in the add the tomato puree and red wine.
  9. Cook for 5 minutes before adding a lid, then reduce the heat to low and cook on for 90 minutes.
  10. Remove the lid and stir in the milk, return the lid and cook for another 30 minutes.

For the Bechamel Sauce:

  1. Peel the onion and cut it in half.
  2. Place the onion in a medium (16-17cm or 6-7") saucepan and add the pepper and bay leaf.
  3. Slowly heat the milk for 10 minutes but ensure that you do not boil it hard.
  4. Melt the butter over a medium-low heat and when melted stir in flour.
  5. Cook out the flour and butter mix for 3 minutes stirring continuously, if the mix starts to brown reduce the heat, we want a white sauce, not a golden one.
  6. Add a little (50ml or around 3 tablspoons) of the hot milk into the pan with the butter and flour and mix until the milk is combined.
  7. Repeat this process until all of the milk is incorporated and you have a rich and thick Bechamel Sauce that is lump-free.
  8. Add the salt to taste and set aside to cool for 10 minutes.

To build the Lasagna:

  1. Cut your lasagna sheets to the same size as your bowl. I use one that is 22cm by 15cm by 6cm deep, 10" x 6" x 2.5" for those who work in imperial.
  2. Add a little of the bechamel sauce to the bottom of the baking dish followed by a little of the ragu.
  3. I use 55g of white sauce, 75g of ragu per layer and 10g of Parmesan cheese per layer.
  4. Sprinkle on the parmesan cheese and then add a layer of pasta.
  5. Repeat this process 5 or 6 times.
  6. Top the final layer with the remaining bechamel sauce and Parmesan cheese, there should be more leftover of these than you used in each layer.
  7. Place it in the oven and bake at 180°C or 350°F for 45 minutes.
  8. Allow it to rest for at least 15 minutes before serving.

Nutrition Information:

Yield:

4

Serving Size:

1

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 1080Total Fat: 145gSaturated Fat: 70gTrans Fat: 3gUnsaturated Fat: 59gCholesterol: 671mgCarbohydrates: 141gFiber: 16gSugar: 45gProtein: 178g

Calorific details are provided by a third-party application and are to be used as indicative figures only.

Did you make this recipe?

If you made this recipe, I'd love to see what you did and what I can do better, share a picture with me on Instagram and tag me @krumplibrian and tell me how it went!

Square image of pasta served with a ragu bolognese meat sauce served in a white bowl with basil and grated Parmesan cheese
Yield: 10 Servings

Ragu Alla Bolognese Recipe

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 5 hours 30 minutes
Total Time: 5 hours 40 minutes

I always make this pretty traditional Italian Ragu Alla Bolognese Sauce in my slow cooker with plenty of extras to freeze!

Ingredients

  • 500g (17oz) Minced Beef
  • 400g (140z) Minced Pork
  • 150g (5oz) Smoked Streaky Bacon
  • 100g (⅔ Cup) Onion
  • 100g (⅔ Cup) Carrot
  • 100g (⅔ Cup) Celery
  • 50g (3 Tbsp + 1 Tsp) Butter
  • 250ml (1 Cup) Red Wine
  • 2 Tbsp Tomato Puree
  • 1 Tsp Salt
  • ½ Tsp Black Pepper
  • 3 Bay Leaves
  • 125ml (½ Cup) Full Fat Milk

Instructions

  1. Begin by cutting your celery, carrot and onion into a uniform fine dice approximately 3mm in size.
  2. Cut the bacon into a 7-10mm dice.

Slow Cooker Instructions

  1. Heat a frying pan (not non stick) over a high heat and add the bacon and minced pork and cook for two minutes.
  2. Add the beef to the pork mix and cook until it starts to caramelise, stirring occasionally. This will take around 10-12 minutes.
  3. After cooking season well for with salt and pepper, then add the bay leaves and transfer to a slow cooker..
  4. Return the pan to the heat and add the butter.
  5. When melted add the onion, carrot and celery and cook over a medium heat until softened, this will take about 10-12 minutes. Do not colour the vegetables.
  6. Turn the heat up to high and add the tomato puree and red wine, then mix well.
  7. Add this mix to the slow cooker and mix well.
  8. Add the lid and cook on low for 4 hours or high for 2 hours.
  9. Pour in the milk and continue to cook on for a further 45-60 minutes.

Stove Top Instructions:

  1. Heat a 28cm or 11" frying pan (not non-stick) over medium a high heat, when it is hot add the bacon and cook for 2 minutes.
  2. Add the butter and when it begins to foam add the onion, carrot and celery and cook until softened, this will take about 10-12 minutes. Do not colour the vegetables.
  3. Add the beef to the pork mix and cook until it starts to caramelise, stirring occasionally. This will take around 10-12 minutes.
  4. Turn the heat up and add the minced pork and beef and cook until well-browned stirring occasionally, this will take 10-15 minutes.
  5. Stir in the add the tomato puree and red wine.
  6. Cook for 5 minutes before adding a lid, then reduce the heat to low and cook on for 90 minutes.
  7. Remove the lid and stir in the milk, return the lid and cook for another 30 minutes.

Notes

Have a taste 30 minutes into cooking and add more salt and pepper if needed.

Nutrition Information:

Yield:

10

Serving Size:

1

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 381Total Fat: 24gSaturated Fat: 10gTrans Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 12gCholesterol: 107mgSodium: 436mgCarbohydrates: 5gFiber: 1gSugar: 2gProtein: 30g

Calorific details are provided by a third-party application and are to be used as indicative figures only.

Did you make this recipe?

If you made this recipe, I'd love to see what you did and what I can do better, share a picture with me on Instagram and tag me @krumplibrian and tell me how it went!

Jeff the Chef

Monday 2nd of November 2015

Thia is not what I think of when I think "lasagna," and that makes me want itall the more! I wish I could stick a fork right in my computer screen and grab a bite!

Brian Jones

Monday 2nd of November 2015

Cheers Jeff, I love how a classic recipe in one part of the world is completely different elsewhere, I would love to see what Lasagne is like in your part of the world... I have got a few versions of the dish and they are all very different and there is always room to add another :D

Razena | Tantalisemytastebuds.com

Sunday 1st of November 2015

That ragu and creamy béchamel and the golden cheese topping are making me salivate!

Brian Jones

Monday 2nd of November 2015

Thanks Razeena :)

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