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Lasagne al Forno with Bolognese and Béchamel Sauce

This is my favorite lasagne. I’ve tweaked many different recipes over the years, but always came back to the same conclusion. If you want your lasagne to taste like you’re in Italy - a classic, thick, tomato-based bolognese, with a creamy béchamel sauce - there are no shortcuts to making it. It’ll take time. It’s a process. It’s amazing.
Prep Time20 mins
Cook Time3 hrs 45 mins
Total Time4 hrs 5 mins
Course: Dinner
Servings: 6

Ingredients

Bolognese Meat Sauce:

  • 1 onion, chopped (one cup)
  • 2 celery stalks, chopped (one cup)
  • 2 carrots, chopped (one cup)
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoon butter
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • ½ cup white wine
  • 28 oz crushed Italian plum tomatoes (canned)
  • 3 cups beef stock
  • ½ cup heavy cream
  • 4 oz pancetta, chopped
  • 9 oz ground beef
  • 9 oz ground pork
  • Salt & pepper

Bechamel Sauce:

  • ¼ cup butter
  • ½ cup flour
  • 4 cups hot milk
  • Salt & pepper

Lasagne:

  • 12 pre-cooked lasagne sheets
  • ½ cup beef stock
  • 1 cup Parmesan cheese, freshly grated

Instructions

Bolognese Sauce:

  • Heat butter and oil in a large saucepan until sizzling.
  • Then add all the vegetables and pancetta, and stir occasionally for 10 minutes. You want the vegetables to soften up a bit.
  • Lower the heat a bit and add the meats.  Gently cook them by stirring and breaking up any clumps.  After about 10 minutes, season with salt & pepper.
  • Add the wine and stir for about 5 minutes until reduced.  You may have to turn up the heat a little bit for this step. 
  • Now add the crushed tomatoes and about a cup of beef stock and bring to a boil.
  • Next, lower the heat to a gentle simmer, and over the next two hours, occasionally stir and add beef stock as needed to keep the ragu from sticking to the pan.
  • Add heavy cream, stir very well, and let simmer for another 30 minutes.
  • Add some more stock to your bolognese (you want the sauce to be pretty runny).

Bechamel Sauce:

  • Preheat oven to 375℉.
  • Cook the lasagne sheets while making the Béchamel, so they’ll be ready.
  • Heat up the milk in a saucepan.
  • In a different saucepan, melt the butter, add flour, and stir for about 2 minutes.
  • Bring to a boil, slowly add the warmed milk a little bit at a time, while whisking vigorously, until the sauce becomes thick and smooth. Season with salt and pepper.

Assemble Lasagne:

  • In a greased 9” x 13” baking dish, add about a third of the bolognese, cover with a quarter of the Bechamel, and add four lasagne sheets.
  • Repeat two more times. 
  •  Add remaining Bechamel and sprinkle your Parmesan evenly on top.
  • Bake for about 40-45 minutes and let rest for about 10 minutes before serving.

Notes