Bolognese Lasagna. The authentic recipe

Learn how to prepare Bolognese lasagna with the authentic and traditional recipe, just like the Italians nonne cook it in Emilia Romagna!

Undoubtedly one of the pillars of traditional Italian cuisine is this delicious and creamy lasagna Bolognese, a dish that is know all over the world and one of the most delicious recipes out there.

What is Bolognese Lasagna?

Bolognese lasagna takes its name from the city where its original recipe comes from: Bologna.

This type of lasagna differs from other types of lasagna, for example: The type of pasta with which it is prepared, that is, with sheets of green pasta instead of regular pasta all’uovo (fresh pasta dough with eggs).

Another notable difference is the complete absence of mozzarella cheese, which at first may be inconceivable because – Who can imagine a lasagna without that thick layer of gratin cheese?

Well, in lasagna bolognese there is not mozzarella at all, instead, the traditional recipe uses a rich and delicious besciamella sauce that will just gratin and melt as cheese.

The ragù sauce

And then there’s the bolognese sauce, aka the ragout. Is not a simple minced meat and tomato sauce. Bolognese sauce is made with special attention, using traditional ingredients and cooking it for hours. Yes, hours.

Bolognese ragù is usually almost dry, with very little tomato sauce, just enough for the lasagna to absorb the flavor of it, the color therefore tends to be more about brown than red.

ragú apenas preparado para hacer lasaña boloñesa.

A good Bolognese sauce is prepared with beef and pork meat and sometimes fat (for example Pancetta), some recipes also include mortadella, but that is already a variation.

A very important question about the preparation of the Bolognese sauce is: Does it include cream / milk or not? You have no idea about how many discussions and arguments I have heard because of this question between my italian family and friends and still, I don’t know the correct answer.

In some families it is customary to add a splash of milk to balance the acidity from the tomato sauce, but since it includes so little, I don’t think it is absolutely necessary.

I have never seen cream added, but in any case it is always a matter of taste and customs and here in Italy, as in the rest of the world, each family has its own.

About the ingredients

Below, in the recipe card, are listed all ingredients with the exact measurements. But first, I want to tell you about the most important ones, besides from the ragù that I told you about before:

GREEN PASTA: You can buy it in the supermarket, fresh or dry but it has to be spinach pasta (green). Otherwise, you can also make it -even ahead of time- with our recipe for green fresh pasta.

BESCIAMELLA SAUCE: If you want to use store-bought bechamel sauce, it’s fine. Or you can make it and it will be a lot more delicious. Read our recipe for besciamella sauce.

SOFFRITTO: Soffritto is an Italian basic preparation used on many traditional recipes. Below I tell you how to prepare it but if you want to know more about it you can read our post-guide about how to make Italian soffritto at home.

Bolognese Lasagna Recipe

Finely chop the onion, carrot and celery. In a deep saucepan, heat the olive oil and fry the vegetables for 8-10 minutes on a very low heat until tender.

Add the pancetta and fry for another 5 minutes, add the meat and continue cooking, mixing constantly for about 10 minutes, or until the meat is not longer pink and all the juices that have been released are gone. Add the wine and let it evaporate completely.

Soffritto and meat cooking on a pot.

Add the tomato sauce, salt and pepper, then pour about 4 cups of hot water. Bring to a boil then let it simmer for about 1 hour.

Meat with sauce and water on a pot.

After one hour has passed add another 4 cups (1 lt) of hot water and keep cooking, uncovered, for one more hour or until almost all liquid has evaporated.

Pour 4 more cups of water and keep cooking for one more hour, then add the tomato paste and adjust of salt and pepper. At the end the ragout should have a thick texture with almost not liquid and with a brownish color.

Ragout ready.

Put a pot with water and salt to boil and cook lightly the lasagna sheets, 30s would be enough if they’re made with fresh pasta dough, otherwise follow the package instructions if you’re using dry pasta.

Oil a 12″x9″ (30 x 20cm) lasagna pan with olive oil. Place one or two tablespoons of bechemel sauce on the bottom to evenly cover it so the pasta won’t stick.

Now, working on layers place first a pasta layer, then a ragout layer and then some dollops of bechamel sauce, finish with a sprinkle of parmigiano cheese and repeat until all ingredients are gone.

Making layers of ingredients on a pan.

Finish with a generous layer of bechamel sauce and a good sprinkle of parmigiano cheese.

Adding last layer of parmigiano cheese on top of bolognese lasagna before baking.

Heat the oven with the fan on at 360°F (180°C) and bake for about 15 to 20 minutes or until you see the sauce on top is bubbling and has a nice golden color.

Recipe Notes

Make ahead: Assemble the bolognese lasagna completely but don’t bake it. Place it in the refrigerator for up to 2 days before serving it.  Then just bake as suggested in the recipe.

How to Store: After baked, leave the lasagna to cool completely, then cover with cling film the pan and place it in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.

Freeze it: After baked and cooled down, place the lasagna covered in the freezer for up to 3 months.  Thaw it overnight in the refrigerator before reheating. This tip works better if you make the lasagna in a foil pan has you won’t need to transfer to a freeze-proof container.

How to Reheat: Cover with foil and place the whole pan in the oven, bake the bolognese lasagna for about 20 minutes at 400°F (205°C). Or you can also reheat small portions for about 15 minutes.

More italian pasta recipes

Bolognese Lasagna. The authentic recipe

Learn how to prepare Bolognese lasagna with the authentic and traditional recipe, just like the Italian nonne cook it in Emilia Romagna!
PREP 30 minutes
COOK 4 hours
TOTAL 4 hours 30 minutes
Print Pin Rate
Servings: 8
Author: Maricruz

Ingredients 

  • 12 oz (350 gr) green pasta sheets, read notes
  • 0,70 lb (300 gr) minced beef meat
  • 0,70 lb (300 gr) minced pork meat
  • 0,35 lb (150 gr) of pancetta, or bacon
  • 4 cups (1 lt) bechamel sauce, read notes
  • 1 cup (250 gr) tomato sauce
  • 1 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 ½ tbsp (30 gr) extravirgin olive oil
  • 1 cup (240 ml) white wine
  • 2 cups (200 gr) parmigiano cheese, freshly grated
  • salt and pepper

For soffritto

  • 1 (50 gr) medium onion
  • 1 (50 gr) small carrot
  • 1 (50 gr) celery stick

Instructions

  • Finely chop the onion, carrot and celery. In a deep saucepan, heat the olive oil and fry the vegetables for 8-10 minutes on a very low heat until tender.
  • Add the pancetta and fry for another 5 minutes, add the meat and continue cooking, mixing constantly for about 10 minutes, or until the meat is not longer pink and all the juices that have been released are gone.
  • Add the wine and let it evaporate completely.
  • Add the tomato sauce, salt and pepper, then pour about 4 cups of hot water. Bring to a boil then let it simmer for about 1 hour.
  • After one hour has passed add another 4 cups (1 lt) of hot water and keep cooking, uncovered, for one more hour or until almost all liquid has evaporated.
  • Pour 4 more cups of water and keep cooking for one more hour, then add the tomato paste and adjust of salt and pepper. At the end the ragout should have a thick texture with almost not liquid and with a brownish color.
  • Put a pot with water and salt to boil and cook lightly the lasagna sheets, 30s would be enough if they’re made with fresh pasta dough, otherwise follow the package instructions if you’re using dry pasta.
  • Oil a 12″x9″ (30 x 20cm) lasagna pan with olive oil. Place one or two tablespoons of bechemel sauce on the bottom to evenly cover it so the pasta won’t stick.
  • Now, working on layers place first a pasta layer, then a ragout layer and then some dollops of bechamel sauce, finish with a sprinkle of parmigiano cheese and repeat until all ingredients are gone.
  • Finish with a generous layer of bechamel sauce and a good sprinkle of parmigiano cheese.
  • Heat the oven with the fan on at 360°F (180°C) and bake for about 15 to 20 minutes or until you see the sauce on top is bubbling and has a nice golden color.

notes

About the ingredients:

GREEN PASTA: You can buy it in the supermarket, fresh or dry but it has to be spinach pasta (green). Otherwise, you can also make it -even ahead of time- with our recipe for green fresh pasta.
BESCIAMELLA SAUCE: If you want to use store-bought bechamel sauce, it’s fine. Or you can make it and it will be a lot more delicious. Read our recipe for besciamella sauce.
SOFFRITTO: Soffritto is an Italian basic preparation used on many traditional recipes. Below I tell you how to prepare it but if you want to know more about it you can read our post-guide about how to make Italian soffritto at home.
RECIPE NOTES:
Make ahead: Assemble the lasagna completely but don’t bake it. Place it in the refrigerator for up to 2 days before serving it.  Then just bake as suggested in the recipe.
How to Store: After baked, leave the lasagna to cool completely, then cover with cling film the pan and place it in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
Freeze it: After baked and cooled down, place the lasagna covered in the freezer for up to 3 months.  Thaw it overnight in the refrigerator before reheating. This tip works better if you make the lasagna in a foil pan has you won’t need to transfer to a freeze-proof container.
How to Reheat: Cover with foil and place the whole pan in the oven, bake for about 20 minutes at 400°F (205°C). Or you can also reheat small portions for about 15 minutes.
Nutrition
Serving: 1grams | Calories: 980kcal
Tried this recipe?Don't forget to tag us on Instagram! @maricruzava.blog

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