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My hope is to inspire you to be fearless in the kitchen, to try new things, to take the time to make things the homemade way and most importantly, to have fun doing it!

Lasagna Bolognese Cooking View

Things have been rather frenzied for me lately.  There has been a lot going on, at work, with family, life in general.  A week or two ago I finally had a moment to come up for air one glorious weekend day, and it was time for some much-needed kitchen therapy.  I wanted to make something with multiple components and multiple steps to because for me, it was mostly about enjoying the process.  This turned out to be the perfect choice.

This dish is involved, yes, but it was actually far less taxing than I might have imagined.  It was just the sort of lazy day in the kitchen that I love.  Make the bolognese, let it simmer, wandering back in every so often to stir and add more liquid.  Plenty of time to play with the kids and do a bit of cleaning.  Then, when the kids went down for their naps (at the same time, hooray!) I made the pasta dough, the bechamel sauce, and suddenly there was an assembled lasagna going into the oven.  (Pretty sure I missed a layer somehow in my excitement but for the record, the noodles taste pretty great dipped in excess béchamel as a pre-dinner snack.)

Be sure to use a wine worth drinking because its flavor will permeate the dish.  I used a red made by my father-in-law (a recumbent bicycling enthusiast) – how fun is that?   The end result is so very different from all other lasagnas I’ve tried before.  The paper-thin sheets of lasagna noodles, the hearty bolognese and the light, creamy béchamel come together in perfect harmony – none of the components overpowers the others.  It’s hard to find words to do justice to this meal.  If you appreciate the process of cooking, just make this yourself, have a wonderful time, and you’ll see that this is so worth it.  Be sure to invite friends over to help you eat it.  This sort of thing is best enjoyed with company.

Lasagna Bolognese
Yield: about 10-12 servings

Ingredients

For the bolognese:*
1 medium onion, coarsely chopped
1 large or 2 small carrots, peeled and coarsely chopped
2 ribs celery, coarsely chopped
3 cloves garlic, coarsely chopped
2-3 tbsp. olive oil
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
2 lbs. ground chuck, round, or brisket (or a combination)
1 (12 oz.) can tomato paste
2 cups red wine
Water, as needed (about 3-4 cups)
2 bay leaves
2-3 sprigs of thyme, tied in a bundle

For the pasta:
1½ cups all-purpose flour
2 large eggs
½ tsp. salt
1-2 tbsp. water, if needed

For the béchamel:
½ cup (8 tbsp.) unsalted butter
½ cup all-purpose flour
1 clove garlic, minced
4 cups whole milk
1 tsp. salt
Dash of grated nutmeg, to taste
Freshly grated pepper, to taste

For assembling:
1 2/3 cups grated Parmesan cheese

*This recipe will yield twice as much sauce as you need for one lasagna, but since you’re already taking the time, go ahead and make the full batch.  Freeze the leftover sauce and then you’ll have it ready next time you want to make this dish.

Cooking View

Directions

  • To make the bolognese, combine the onion, carrots, celery and garlic in a food processor.  Pulse briefly until finely chopped.  Add the oil to a Dutch oven and heat over medium-high heat.  Once the pan is hot, add the chopped vegetables and season them generously with salt and pepper.  Cook the vegetables, stirring frequently, until they are a light golden brown, about 15 minutes.


  • Add the ground beef to the pan and season again with salt and pepper.  Brown the beef well.  Allow to cook for 15 more minutes.  Add the tomato paste and cook 3-4 minutes more.  Add the wine to the pot, scraping up any browned bits.  Simmer until the wine has reduced by half, about 5 minutes more.  Add enough water to the pan to bring the liquid level about 1 inch above the meat.  Stir in the bay leaves and thyme and bring the mixture to a low simmer.

  • Over the next 3-4 hours, stir the sauce occasionally, adding water as the liquid in the sauce cooks off (not more than 1-2 cups at a time).  Taste occasionally, adjusting seasonings as needed.  This will simmer for about 3-4 hours, until it has reached your desired consistency.


  • To make the pasta, combine the flour, eggs and salt in the bowl of a food processor.  Process until the mixture forms a ball that is firm, but not sticky.  (If necessary, add a drop of water at a time until the dough comes together.)  Transfer to a floured work surface and invert a bowl over the dough.  Let rest for one hour.

  • Divide the dough into quarters.  One piece at a time, flatten the pieces enough that they can be fed through a pasta roller on its widest setting.  Repeat with the remaining quarters.  Continue feeding the pieces through the rollers, going to a thinner setting each time.  If the sheets become too unwieldy to work with, cut them in half and proceed.  Make the pasta sheets as thin as you can without being difficult to handle (mine were fine at the thinnest setting on my rollers, #8).  For more tips on making homemade pasta, see this post.

  • Lay the pasta sheets out on pieces of floured wax paper.  (Don’t forget to flour them – trust me.)  Bring a large pot of water to boil.  Slice the pasta sheets into rectangular/squarish shapes.  (They don’t need to be uniform by any means since everything will be all layered together.)  When the water is boiling, have a bowl of ice water ready.  Cook a few of the lasagna noodles at a time, 1-2 minutes.  Remove them from the pot with a skimmer, swish them in the bowl of ice water, and transfer to a lightly floured baking sheet.  (It’s fine if they are still wet.)  Repeat this process until all the noodles have been cooked.

  • To make the béchamel, melt the butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat.  Add the flour and garlic to the pan and whisk it into the butter until smooth.  Allow the mixture to cook for a minute or two, whisking constantly, until light golden.  Slowly whisk in a small amount of milk at a time, until about half of the milk has been added.  Whisk in the remainder of the milk.  Add the salt, nutmeg, and pepper.  Bring the mixture to a simmer, reduce the heat, and cook, whisking frequently, until the sauce thickens and bubbles, about 8-10 minutes.

  • Preheat the oven to 400˚ F.  Lightly grease a 9 x 13-inch baking dish.  Spread a thin layer of the béchamel over the bottom of the dish.  Add a layer of the cooked noodles, slightly overlapping as needed.  Add 1 cup of the bolognese sauce and spread out over the noodles.  Drizzle ½ cup of the béchamel over the bolognese.  Sprinkle evenly with 1/3 cup of the Parmesan cheese.  Repeat this process three more times (pasta, 1 cup bolognese, ½ cup béchamel, 1/3 cup Parmesan).  Add one more layer of noodles.  Spread a very thin layer of the béchamel on top of the final layer of noodles, and sprinkle with the remaining Parmesan.  Bake for 35-45 minutes, until golden brown and bubbling on top.  (Because the pasta is quite delicate, the dish may puff up a bit while baking.  Don’t worry, it will settle down when it comes out of the oven.)  Let rest at least 10 minutes before serving.

  • Make ahead:
    This lasagna can be assembled and refrigerated up to one day in advance.

Source

  • RikiTikiTembo

    What a beautiful and complex dish – love the step by step photos too – looks like a lot of work went into this post:) Im definitely setting this one aside when I have a lazy day ahead – just perfect.

  • http://lifeofsimone.wordpress.com/ Life of Simone

    Looks perfect!

  • http://lifeofsimone.wordpress.com/ Life of Simone

    Looks perfect!

  • kachna

    I love it!

  • Lori Russo

    I wish you lived closer. I would be a willing taste tester. Lasagne looks great..

  • TheMrsatSuccessAlongtheWeigh

    Wow, even homemade noodles, I’m impressed! This looks soooo good. I haven’t had lasagna in forever! Time to rectify that.

  • Denise Wesely

    Reminds me of the Pastitsio I made back in 1985. A lot of work, but oh so worth it. Unfortunately, I haven’t made it since. I think I’ll try this recipe as the sauce sounds so delicious!

  • Stephanie

    Annie you’re such an inspiration to me! So many of my friends and family don’t understand that for me the joy of entertaining and providing for my family is in the process. I love creating and I will make this and tell you how it goes (and makes me realize I need to find a few more friends who have a love for cooking & baking) :) And it gives me the reason to finally buy the pasta attachment for my kitchenaid mixer.

  • http://twitter.com/fakeginger amanda

    I’ve been wanting to try this recipe! It looks awesome! You also reminded me that I need to buy the pasta attachment now that I finally have a Kitchenaid mixer!

  • http://atthepatisserie.wordpress.com/ Ann P.

    ANNIE! Greetings from Ghana, i am lucky to be able to load your site where i am! I missed your posts so much while I was gone, but I am arriving back in the states on Thursday, and will have a wealth of delicious food to ogle. This lasagna is torturing me right now–i could eat half a pan, i miss Italian dishes so much!

  • Wendi

    That looks wonderful!!! Seriously though….how do you keep your glass top range soooooo clean!! :)) I love lasagna. thank you!!

  • http://themollybuckley.com/ still being [Molly]

    wow this is CRAZY intense! i love it. NOTE TO SELF: get pasta roller thing.

  • jaclynscookies

    Every time I see your pasta recipes it makes me wish I had a pasta machine. It’s definitely going back on the christmas list again this year.
    This recipe looks delicious!

  • http://www.kitchentreaty.com/ Kare @ Kitchen Treaty

    Yum! I know what you mean about kitchen therapy. Just something about the process of it all is so calming and happy-making. This looks divine, and I’m inspired to finally try my hand at homemade pasta. Maybe I’ll keep a little of the red wine for myself to help get me through.

  • mariescuisine

    I was actually thinking this morning of making lasagna but was not sure which kind. I think I might try this one :)

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Paula-Feldman/100000555664749 Paula Feldman

    you know, those are the best-looking lasagne this side of the boot-shaped peninsula….my cousin makes them just the same way – paper thin sheets of pasta just like yours…the sauce is dense and meaty, the parmigiano is mellowed and aged, the bechamel is creamy…heavens I’m drooling….great job…hey from the WEST PORTICO, P

  • http://torsolo-di-mela.blogspot.it/ Chiara

    A perfect italian recipe ^_^ compliments. Have a good, sweet day. See u ^_^

  • Bobi Jensen

    Wow! Complex! :). But I get what you mean when sometimes the making of the thing is what you are in the mood for…

    Bobi

  • annieseats

    Ann! I was just thinking of you a few days ago, hoping you were enjoying your trip and that I’d be hearing from you soon. Perfect timing! Hope it’s been great and you have a safe trip home!

  • http://fourandtwentyblackberries.blogspot.com/ Elizabeth

    I love the handmade pasta photos!

  • http://heartsinmyoven.blogspot.in/ Lynna

    i’ve always wondered how this would taste! it looks incredibly tempting…

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=632132682 Chelsia Rief

    Can you come over and make this for me please? It looks so good!

  • Sarah

    YES – PROPER lasagna, thank you! I make mine the same way (sans the homemade pasta which I haven’t mastered yet), except with ground veal and white wine.

  • http://tideandthyme.com/ Laura

    Yum. I’ve always wanted to try a lasagna with a red and white sauce – but couldn’t find a recipe I knew I could rely on. Problem solved.

  • http://thebakingapprentice.blogspot.com/ Elizabeth

    This looks amazing!
    Why doesn’t Chef Boy Ardee make these?!?!

  • Deborah

    ok…so one word…YUM! Looks amazing, Annie!

  • http://thefoodcharlatan.wordpress.com/ Karen @ the food charlatan

    Anyone who makes their own pasta is a closet superhero in my mind. If I ever discover that I too have super powers, this will be the first recipe I try. Love your pictures!!

  • http://beachbakeaholic.blogspot.com/ Bakeaholic

    Wow! This looks amazing. I just made veggie lasagna tonight. There’s just something about a hot, delicious lasagna. Yum!

  • Beth

    Do you feed this to your two kids since it has 2 cups of wine in it? I know that the alcohol will not burn out. I know that my kids liver could metabolize the alcohol but I don’t want their liver to have to do that as a child. What I am getting to is, what can I substitute the 2 cups of wine for?

  • http://twitter.com/JenatPBandP PB and Peppers

    Just gorgeous!! I love this recipe and homemade noodles is the best!!!

  • http://amyscookingadventures.blogspot.com/ Amy’s Cooking Adventures

    This looks amazing–sometimes cooking is the best therapy!

  • Lindsey

    I just want to say that the first photo in this post is gorgeous. No kitschy props, no gimmicks, just a beautiful plate of home-cooked lasagna.

  • http://jessicainsd.blogspot.com/ Jessica

    I don’t think there are very many things that give me a greater sense of accomplishment than a meal made entirely from scratch. Lovely.

  • Kathleen Richardson

    I like that there is just a touch of cheese in your lasagna. Using the food processor to chop the veggies and mix the pasta, ah, love the simplicity of that. Although it’s hours-long, doesn’t seem to be a stressful process… and for those of us who love to cook, it is as much about process as it is about the the finished product. A lovely recipe with beautiful photos.

  • Valerie Brunmeier

    Bolognese is the absolute comfort food to me. The homemade pasta totally puts this over the top. So Yum!

  • Helena Mouta

    This is almost exactly the process I use to make lasanha, except I usually add a generous amount of béchamel sauce over the last layer of noodles, topped with some torn mozzarella. It must be wonderful, mine always turns out great! It’s nice to see I’m not the only one doing it this way :-)

  • http://www.shemakesandbakes.com/ Emily @ She Makes and Bakes

    I love kitchen projects, and this looks like a great one. It is great how every piece of this is made out of your kitchen. Can’t wait for a rainy day to try this!

  • annieseats

    Much of the alcohol does cook out in a dish like this where the sauce simmers for several hours. We fed it to our kids. You can see the FAQ page regarding substitutions.

  • Michelle

    I just found your blog today, and almost fell out of my chair when I saw the bottle of wine in this post. My husband is a recumbent bike enthusiast (to say the least!), and we both love wine. I would love to surprise him with a bottle! Is there a place I can go to track it down and order some??? Thanks! :)

  • Erin

    Made this today….it was wonderful!

  • annieseats

    As I mentioned in the post, this is my father in law’s homemade wine, and unfortunately it’s not for sale. Sorry!

  • Katie F.

    What brand of pasta machine do you have. I’m in the market to buy one and I’m looking for good recommendations. Thanks!

  • annieseats

    Please see the “Annie’s Equipment” section (sidebar or FAQ page). Thanks!

  • Jkatheta

    This looks so yummy! It’s so nice to see a lasagna that doesn’t have ricotta cheese in it….I’m just not a fan of it. I will definitely be making this very soon! Love, Love, Love your blog!!

  • Jen

    I made this for supper last night and oh my was it awesome!! My mom even sung its praises and asked for the recipe! I did skip boiling the noodles and it turned out fine, so I’ll probably never do that step! Thanks for the inspiration!

  • Melissa

    I’m so jealous you have a lasagna attachment for your mixer! Is it easy to use?

  • http://twitter.com/michaelahapgood Michaela Hapgood

    Just made this for dinner tonight, however instead of making a béchamel sauce and adding a layer of cheese, I used a good ol’ cheese sauce. (This one, to be precise http://www.bbc.co.uk/food/recipes/cheesesauce_1299) and I have to say, its smelling yum!

  • annieseats

    They are pasta attachments, and yes, very easy to use.

  • Jules

    Looks fantastic – making this for dinner tonight! My kids love this dish – in fact my daughter inspired me – she had this at a friend’s house and convinced me to make it…

  • Michelle Brunswick

    I’m planning to make this lasagna on a Wednesday and serve it on a Saturday. This means I will need to freeze it. I’m wondering if it is best to freeze lasagna when it is just assembled, partially cooked, or fully cooked. Thanks!

  • annieseats

    I freeze it uncooked and then thaw a day or two before I plan to bake it in the fridge. Enjoy!