The casserole’s cool cousin. Nothing hits the spot the same way a lasagna does. A hearty bolognese sauce, creamy bechamel, all sandwiched between layers of pasta and cheese. And with the right recipe (this one), it’s a total cinch to make.Jump to Recipe
Where’s the ricotta?
Stuck inside a ravioli, where it belongs. No hate to ricotta, but bechamel sauce just hits differently in lasagna. The smooth and creamy bechamel pairs so much better with the chunky and hearty bolognese sauce. The opposing natures of the two sauces creates one of the greatest texture + flavor combos in the pasta universe.
It’s Easier Than it Seems..
Making lasagna with bechamel means making two sauces instead of one, twice the work! But I can assure you two things:
The flavor is ABSOLUTELY worth it
It’s way EASIER than you might think. As long as you know your sauces..
What is Bechamel?
Bechamel is a classic white sauce consisting of three base ingredients: Butter, flour, and milk. Everything else is just thrown in for flavor. The flour adds a nice nutty flavor as it toasts in the butter, and it helps thicken the sauce when the milk is added. It’s important to whisk frequently to prevent flour from clumping and/or burning.
What is Bolognese?
Bolognese is essentially meaty tomato sauce. There are versions of bolognese that don’t use tomato, but the version used for lasagna does. The brightness of the tomatoes cuts beautifully through the rich bechamel.
I always make way more bolognese necessary for the lasagna because it can be used for many other meals. It also freezes very well. I usually spread the bolognese in ice cube trays and transfer them over to a container after they’re frozen to have easily portioned bolognese cubes.
Really Good Lasagna (with Bechamel)
- Bolognese Sauce
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
2 lb ground beef
3 medium carrots, finely diced
2 celery stalks, finely diced
1 medium yellow onion, finely diced
8 garlic cloves, minced
6 tbsp tomato paste
2 28oz canned tomatoes
1 cup red wine
4-5 bay leaves
1 tsp dried chili flakes
1 tsp dried italian herbs
Salt and pepper to taste
- Bechamel Sauce
½ cup butter
½ cup flour
4 cups milk
½ cup grated parmesan
1 tsp salt
- Other Ingredients
1 lb dried lasagna sheets
8 oz shredded mozzarella
- Heat a large pot on medium heat. Add olive oil. Add the onion, carrot, celery, garlic. Saute until soft, about 3-5 minutes. Then add the beef. Add a big pinch of salt and pepper, about a teaspoon each.
- Heat on medium-high, breaking up the beef into small chunks with a wooden spoon. Cook until no pink remains, then add the tomato paste. Cook further until the beef is fully browned and the tomato paste is starting to caramelize, about 2-3 minutes.
- Add the wine and stir with a wooden spoon, making sure to scrape up any browned bits stuck to the pan. Add the canned tomatoes as well as half a can’s worth of water.*
- Add bay leaves. Dried chili flakes, dried italian herbs. Stir to combine. Let simmer on medium-low heat for at least an hour. Season to taste with salt and pepper.** Set aside on low heat
- In a pot, melt butter on medium heat. Once it starts to bubble, add the flour and whisk until fully combined. Slowly add the milk while whisking constantly to prevent lumps.
- When all the milk is added, bring to a simmer whisking constantly until smooth and thick.
- Add the parmesan and salt. Whisk to combine. Set aside.
- Preheat oven to 400F (200C).
- Boil lasagna noodles if necessary. Spread a thin layer of bolognese at the bottom of a 9×13 inch dish.
- Add a layer of lasagna noodles. Fully cover the noodles with a thin layer of bolognese, then a layer of bechamel sauce.
- Repeat two more times to make three total layers. Optionally sprinkle mozzarella in between the second and third layer. The topmost layer should be bechamel sauce.
- Top with shredded mozzarella. Bake in the oven uncovered for 30 minutes, then turn the broiler on low and broil until the top is browned to your liking.
- Remove from oven and let rest at least 15 minutes before slicing.
- *Pour the water back and forth between both cups to get all the tomato-y goodness
- **The sauce should taste a little too salty by itself, as the noodles and bechamel will offset it.