Authentic Italian Lasagna Bolognese (meat recipe)

Lasagna Bolognese includes only fresh egg pasta, Bolognese ragù (slow-cooked meat sauce), creamy béchamel (white sauce) and plenty of grated Parmigiano cheese. The result is a melt in your mouth, creamy, decadent, and satisfying lasagna that is distinct to Italy. When you make this recipe you will feel like you are dining at an Italian trattoria on the streets of Italy. It is a recipe loved by all and bring me back to my home in Italy. This is the recipe I grew up eating at large tables filled with family, love, and laughter. I hope you love it as much as I do!

Made with Amore,

Elena

A huge pan of lasagna with cheese on top. Red layers of sauce and delicious cheese

What is the Difference Between Classic Lasagna and Lasagna Bolognese?

This authentic Italian Lasagna Bolognese recipe is different from the most common version, famous in the United States, made with layers of meat sauce, ricotta and mozzarella cheese. Both meat sauce and grated parmigiano cheese are common in both the recipes. But the difference between classic lasagna and lasagna Bolognese is Classic Lasagna mixes the meat sauce with fresh ricotta while the Bolognese version uses the béchamel to bind the filling. Both recipes come from two famous Italian recipes, born in two different cities: Lasagna Bolognese (from Bologna) and Classic Lasagna (from Naples) known in Italy as Lasagna Napoletana.

Let’s see what makes this authentic Italian Bolognese recipe different:

Ragu (meat sauce) What is Italian Ragu?

Ragu depending on where you are in the world is a meat-based sauce usually consisting of finely chopped vegetables, ground meat and cooked slowly with a high quality crushed tomato as a base.

For this recipe I use my Nonna’s tried and true RAGU RECIPE that we eat weekly with pasta. A certain magic happens as the beef and aromatic vegetables slowly cook down tomato sauce in this classic ragu recipe. This part of the recipe adds depth in flavor. The stewed rich tomatoes add that Italian flavor you crave when seeking a quality lasagna recipe.

STORING: You can make this and store in an airtight container for 3 days in the fridge OR freeze for several months

Bechamel (white sauce) What is Bechamel Sauce?

 Béchamel sauce (besciamella in Italian) has French origin and has become part of Italian culinary tradition for a very long time. … It is a smooth, white sauce made made with just 3 ingredients: flour, milk, and butter. If you want to make it the true Italian way, you also add a pinch of nutmeg.

This is a recipe my mamma taught me years ago. It is so simple and traditional. I know you will love it. This is the key component that sets Italian Lasagna Bolognese apart from any other version.

STORING: You can make and store this for up to 5 days in an airtight container in the fridge.

Real Parmigiano (cheese)

Don’t use anything other than the real stuff (also, grate it yourself! OR, you will get a gloppy goopy mess). You can read my article about Why you Should Grate your Own Cheese makes a difference.

final piece of lasagna on a plate with a fork ready to eat

Can you make this ahead of time?

YES!! You can make it ahead of time. You can make it a few hours earlier, for example early in the morning to bake them for lunch, but even the evening before. In this case, wrap it in plastic wrap and put in the refrigerator. When you want to cook it, leave it at room temperature for half an hour: in the meantime, preheat the oven.

slice of lasagna on a white plate with a fork ready to eat it

How to Freeze Lasagna

You can freeze lasagna bolognese both uncooked and cooked, whole or in pieces. In both cases you will get an excellent result by following these tips:

Freezing uncooked lasagna:

Simply assemble your lasagna in your oven safe dish and cover generously with plastic wrap. When ready to eat defrost the lasagna the night before so that it thaws perfectly and the cooking in the oven remains uniform. You can also pull straight from the freezer and add 30 minutes to the cooking time.

Freezing cooked lasagna:

If you cooked lasagna leftover you can freeze them by wrapping them individually. In this case you will have to let the lasagna cool before freezing. When you want to reheat it, defrost a few hours ahead then reheat in the oven at 400 degrees F for about 10 minutes. TIP: just cover the surface with aluminum foil to prevent it from further toasting.


For both freezing options it’s better using fresh products that have not already been frozen.

slice of lasagna on a white plate with a fork ready to eat it

More Recipes For YOU

Authentic Spinach and Ricotta Lasagna (Vegetarian)

Best Italian-Style Chili Recipe

Polenta and Mushrooms (with sage and butter)

Perfect Roast Chicken with Citrus and Fennel

SIMPLE Mashed Potatoes (dairy free) and Caramelized Onions

Creamy Parmigiano Herb and Mushroom Chicken

Creamy Polenta with Polpette al Sugo (meatballs in tomato sauce)

Print
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piece of square lasagna on a plate with a large lasagna pan in the background

Italian Lasagna Bolognese (Lasagne alla Bolognese)

  • Author: Elena
  • Prep Time: 20 min
  • Cook Time: 30 min
  • Total Time: 50 minutes
  • Yield: 68 servings 1x
  • Category: Savory
  • Method: Italian
  • Cuisine: Italian

Description

Lasagna Bolognese includes only fresh egg pasta, Bolognese ragù (slow-cooked meat sauce), creamy béchamel (white sauce) and plenty of grated Parmigiano cheese. The result is a melt in your mouth, creamy, decadent, and satisfying lasagna that is distinct to Italy. When you make this recipe you will feel like you are dining at an Italian trattoria on the streets of Italy. It is a recipe loved by all and bring me back to my home in Italy. This is the recipe I grew up eating at large tables filled with family, love, and laughter. I hope you love it as much as I do!


Ingredients

Scale

Bechamel Sauce:

  • 3 tbsp butter unsalted
  • 3 tbsp all-purpose flour all purpose
  • 2 cups milk
  • 1/8 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp salt or to taste

Instructions

  1.  Make the ragu sauce recipe and set aside (can be made days in advance and stored in fridge)
  2. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F
  3. Make the Bechamel Sauce (can be made days in advance and stored in fridge): Whisk ingredients: In a saucepan melt the butter and add the flour. With a whisk, whisk in the flour. Keep whisking for about 2 to 3 minutes. Add the rest of ingredients: Add the milk, nutmeg and salt and whisk everything together. Cook for another 5 minutes and whisk as necessary.
  4. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cook the pasta (6 at a time for dried pasta) until they are tender but still underdone (they will finish cooking as the lasagna bakes). Set aside in a bowl of cold water until ready to use. This will prevent pasta from sticking.
  5. Grease a 9X13 rectangular baking dish with the olive oil, add a large dollop of ragu sauce and spread it around the bottom of the pan. Put a layer of lasagna pasta (use 4-5 depending on size) in the dish (you may need to cut any excess to make them fit) top with a layer of ragu sauce, one-third of the bechamel sauce, and one-third of the parmigiano cheese (use your fingers to spread it evenly). Season with salt and pepper if desired. Repeat this process until layers are complete ending with bechamel and cheese on top.
  6. Bake until the lasagna is bubbling and the cheese is melted and lightly browned on top, about 30-40 minutes. Remove from the oven and let rest a few minutes before serving, or cool completely, cover well, and refrigerate for up to 3 days, or freeze.

Notes

See blog post for full instructions on Freezing and Storing

Keywords: lasagna, traditional Italian recipe, lasagna bolognese, lasagne bolognese, lasagna recipe, meat sauce, ragu, bechamel, white sauce, dinner recipe, Italian dinner