This Lasagna alla Bolognese recipe is made in the traditional way using slow-cooked bolognese sauce, fresh pasta sheets, and homemade besciamella sauce. It takes time to make but the result is beyond delicious!

Lasagna alla Bolognese is an Italian dish that originates from the city of Bologna in Italy. It’s a type of lasagna prepared with layers of wide flat pasta sheets, a rich meat-based sauce known as ragù alla Bolognese, besciamella sauce, and Parmigiano-Reggiano.

This is how my in-law family in Bologna makes the recipe, I included a step-by-step process with photos to show you that despite it sounds complicated, the recipe is actually easy to make if you have a little patience and plan ahead.

A portion of lasagna alla bolognese in a plate with a fork.

Ingredients

  • Pasta sheets: In traditional lasagna alla bolognese the use of spinach pasta sheets is mandatory. However, regular fresh pasta sheets are also acceptable.
  • Cheese: You only need Parmigiano-Reggiano to make the authentic recipe.
  • Besciamella: This creamy white sauce, also known as bechamel, is made with flour, butter, and milk.

For the ragu sauce

  • Meat: A combination of ground beef and pork, plus some fatty cut such as pancetta or bacon.
  • Soffritto: This is an Italian basic preparation made of onion, carrot, celery, and sometimes garlic. And it’s used in many traditional recipes.
  • Tomato sauce: You will need tomato passata and tomato paste.
  • Wine: Use white dry wine or skip if you prefer.
  • Oil: Preferably use extra virgin olive oil.
  • Seasonings: Only salt and pepper to taste.

How to Make Lasagna alla Bolognese

Step 1. Make the ragu sauce

Heat a good glug of olive oil in a heavy pot. Add first the pancetta and cook for 3-4 minutes over medium heat, then add in the soffritto and cook for 5-6 minutes.

Soffritto and pancetta cooking in a pot.

Mix in the ground beef and pork, cooking for approximately 10 minutes or until the meat loses its pink color and releases its juices entirely.

Pour in the wine and continue cooking until it completely evaporates.

Ground beef and pork cooked in a pot with soffritto and pancetta.

Add the tomato passata and tomato paste, and season with salt and pepper. Mix in and cook for 1 minute, then pour 3-4 cups of hot water and bring to a boil.

Cover the pot loosely and simmer over medium-low heat for 2 hours, checking from time to time if more water is needed.

After 2 hours, remove the lid from the pot and increase the heat to medium-high. Cook for an additional 10-15 minutes or until the sauce thickens and develops a rich consistency.

Showing the fully cooked ragu sauce with a wooden spoon.

Step 2. Assemble

Bring to a boil a pot with salted water 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.

Butter a 11×8 inches lasagna pan.

Place one or two tablespoons of bechamel sauce on the bottom to evenly cover it so the pasta won’t stick. Arrange a layer of pasta sheets and then cover them with a layer of ragu sauce.

Spreading meat ragu sauce on a layer of fresh pasta sheets in a dish.

Add a few dollops of besciamella sauce and carefully spread them all over with the back of a spoon. Finish with a good sprinkle of Parmigiano-Reggiano.

Spreading besciamella sauce on top of lasagna meat.

Continue layering the pasta, ragu sauce, besciamella, and cheese until the pan is filled to the top.

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

The assembled lasagna alla bolognese before baking.

Step 3. Bake

Preheat your oven to 360°F (180°C).

Bake in the middle rack for 30-40 minutes or until the sauce on top is slightly golden and the borders of the lasagna pasta are nicely crispy.

Fully baked lasagna alla bolognese in a kitchen countertop.

Allow the lasagna alla bolognese to rest for about 10-15 minutes once removed from the oven. This helps the layers set and makes it easier to slice without falling apart.

Serve with a side salad, garlic bread, or some roasted vegetables to complete the meal. A glass of red wine pairs wonderfully with its rich flavors.

Lasagna alla Bolognese in a baking dish with two portions cut and removed from the dish.

Recipe Tips & Notes

  • Lasagna alla bolognese is a time-consuming recipe, but you can speed up the preparation with a bit of planning. I usually make the meat sauce and besciamella 1 or 2 days ahead, then assemble and bake later.
  • If you want to make your own pasta sheets I strongly recommend making them also the day before, see my instructions to make fresh pasta from scratch and store it.
  • An important question about the preparation of the Bolognese sauce is: Does it include cream/milk or not? You have no idea 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. Some families do, some not.
  • As you can see, there’s not mozzarella added to this lasagna recipe, that is because the traditional recipe doesn’t include it. The cheesy element comes from the delicious creamy white sauce!
An authentic lasagna alla bolognese in a baking dish with a portion taken out.

Store and Reheat

Lasagna alla Bolognese stores wonderfully in the fridge for up to 3-4 days. You can either cover the dish where the lasagna was made with plastic wrap, or you can transfer the leftovers to an airtight container.

If you want to freeze it. Transfer to containers and label them with the preparation date. It will last up to 2-3 months.

To reheat, thaw overnight if your lasagna was frozen, then reheat in the oven for 15-20 minutes at 400°F (205°C).

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Lasagna alla Bolognese recipe.

Lasagna alla Bolognese

8 servings
This lasagna recipe is made with slow-cooked bolognese sauce, homemade besciamella, and fresh pasta sheets. An authentic and beyond-delicious Italian dish to serve for a crowd.
prep 30 minutes
cook 2 hours 30 minutes
total 3 hours

Equipment

  • 11×8 inch baking dish

Ingredients 

  • 1 recipe homemade spinach pasta sheets (read notes)
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 pound ground pork
  • cup pancetta or bacon (diced)
  • 1 ½ cups tomato passata sauce
  • 1 Tablespoon tomato paste
  • 3 Tablespoons extravirgin olive oil
  • 1 cup dry white wine (optional)
  • 2 cups parmigiano cheese (freshly grated)
  • cup soffritto (chopped onion, carrots, celery, and garlic)
  • 1 recipe besciamella sauce (read notes)
  • salt and pepper (to taste)

Instructions
 

Make the bolognese sauce

  • Heat the olive oil in a heavy pot. Add the pancetta and cook for 3-4 minutes over medium heat, then add in the soffritto and cook for 5-6 minutes.
  • Mix in the ground meats, cooking for approximately 10 minutes or until the meat loses its pink color and releases its juices entirely.
  • Pour in the wine and continue cooking until it completely evaporates.
  • Add the tomato passata and tomato paste, and season with salt and pepper. Mix in and cook for 1 minute, then pour 3-4 cups of hot water and bring to a boil.
  • Cover the pot loosely and simmer over medium-low heat for 2 hours, checking from time to time if more water is needed.
  • After 2 hours, remove the lid from the pot and increase the heat to medium-high. Cook for an additional 10-15 minutes or until the sauce thickens and develops a rich consistency.
  • Adjust salt to taste and turn off the heat. Set aside and allow to slightly cool down.

Assemble

  • Bring to a boil a pot with salted water 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.
  • Butter your lasagna pan and spread one or two tablespoons of bechamel sauce on the bottom.
  • Arrange a layer of pasta sheets and then cover them with a layer of ragu sauce.
  • Add a few dollops of besciamella sauce and carefully spread them all over with the back of a spoon. Finish with a good sprinkle of Parmigiano-Reggiano.
  • Continue layering the pasta, ragu sauce, besciamella, and cheese until the pan is filled to the top.
  • Finish with a generous layer of besciamella sauce and a good sprinkle of parmigiano cheese.

Bake

  • Preheat your oven to 360°F (180°C).
  • Bake in the middle rack for 30-40 minutes or until the sauce on top is slightly golden and the borders of the lasagna pasta are nicely crispy.
  • Remove from the oven and let the lasagna sit for 10 minutes before cutting and serving.

Notes

  • You can use store-bought pasta sheets or homemade pasta sheets. Those two are also popular options for spinach fresh pasta sheets.
  • Lasagna alla bolognese is a time-consuming recipe, but you can speed up the preparation with a bit of planning. I usually make the bolognese sauce and besciamella 1 or 2 days ahead, then assemble and bake later.
Nutrition Information
Serving: 1 serving | Calories: 904kcal | Carbohydrates: 48g | Protein: 42g | Fat: 58g | Saturated Fat: 25g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 4g | Monounsaturated Fat: 23g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 153mg | Sodium: 1711mg | Potassium: 654mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 4g | Vitamin A: 436IU | Vitamin C: 5mg | Calcium: 336mg | Iron: 3mg
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One Comment

  1. 5 stars
    I love Italian foods so much, it is really prepared with love just like this Bolognese Lasagna. It tastes so good and creamy, just like how they tasted when I visited Italy. Your blog is such a lifesaver!