Lasagna Bolognese
Recipe type: Dinner, Main, Pasta
Cuisine: Italian, Entertaining
Serves: 8-10
Authentic Lasagna Bolognese is a fair amount of work, but well worth it!
  • For the Pasta:
  • 1 10 oz. package Frozen Spinach, defrosted
  • 2 c. All-Purpose Flour, plus additional for kneading and rolling the dough
  • 2 Whole Eggs
  • 2 Egg Yolks
  • 1 Tbsp. Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • For the Béchamel Sauce:
  • 4 c. Whole Milk
  • a few gratings of Nutmeg
  • 2 Bay Leaves
  • 3 Tbsp. Butter
  • 4 Tbsp. All-Purpose Flour
  • ¼ c. Grated Parmesan
  • And Finally:
  • ½ batch (about 4 c.) ">Bolognese Sauce
  • 3 c. grated Fontina Cheese (or any good Italian melting cheese)
  • 2 c. grated Parmesan Cheese
  • 1-2 Tbsp. softened Butter, for greasing the pan
  1. First, we’ll make the pasta dough. Squeeze the thawed spinach to remove as much liquid as possible. When you are convinced it can’t get any drier, place the spinach in the bowl of a food processor. Pulse until the spinach is finely chopped. Add 2 c. flour and pulse to combine. Whisk together the eggs, egg yolks, and olive oil in a liquid measuring cup. With the food processor running, slowly pour the egg mixture into the flour and process for 30 seconds. Scrap down the sides and the bottom of the bowl and continue to process until a rough ball of dough forms on the blade. Transfer the ball of dough to a floured board or countertop and knead briefly until it feels smooth and elastic. Wrap tightly in plastic wrap and allow to rest at room temperature for at least 30 minutes before rolling.
  2. While the pasta dough rests, make the béchamel sauce. Combine the milk, nutmeg, and bay leaves in a medium saucepan and heat to almost a boil. While the milk heats, melt 3 Tbsp. butter in a second saucepan over medium heat. When the butter starts to bubble and foam, whisk in 4 Tbsp. flour. Continue to whisk until the mixture is very smooth and lightly golden. Now slowly pour the hot milk into the butter and flour mixture while stirring. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat slightly and continue to cook at a steady perk until the sauce thickens, about 5 minutes. Pour the sauce, through a mesh sieve, into a medium bowl and stir in the ¼ c. of Parmesan. Taste; season with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Press a small sheet of plastic wrap to the surface of the sauce to keep a film from forming. Set aside until you are ready to assemble the lasagna. You could certainly make this a day or 2 ahead and refrigerate until you’re ready to use it.
  3. Get a large pot of water on the stove to boil while you roll out the pasta. Divide the dough into 6 even pieces. Working with 1 piece at a time, flatten it slightly with your palms, then lightly flour it and roll it through a pasta roller, starting at the thickest setting and gradually working your way down to the thinnest. If the pasta gets too long to comfortably manage, feel free to cut them in half. Don’t worry if the sheets of pasta aren’t perfectly rectangular—once you build the lasagna no one will be able to tell. As you finish each sheet of pasta, lay them flat on a flour-dusted clean kitchen towel on top of a baking sheet.
  4. Now prepare to cook the pasta. Salt the boiling water and prepare a large ice bath to shock the pasta after it has cooked. I use a large roasting pan set over 2 burners of my stove so it is nearby and transferring the pasta is easy. You’ll also need another baking sheet and more clean kitchen towels (sorry, the laundry is piling up almost as fast as the dishes!) for the cooked pasta. Cook the pasta, 1 or 2 pieces at a time, by slowly lowering each piece into the boiling water. As you lower it in, the water will take over and grab it from you. Cook the pasta until it floats up to the top and appears evenly cooked, about 1 minute. Gently remove, letting the hot water drain off, and place in the ice bath to stop it from cooking any farther. As soon as the pasta has cooled, pull it out of the ice water, let the water drain off, and transfer to a clean towel. Repeat until all of the pasta has been cooked. You’ll find a rhythm in the process and it will not take very long at all (promise!).
  5. If you are planning to bake the lasagna as soon as it’s assembled, now would be a good time to preheat your oven to 375°.
  6. Time to assemble the lasagna! If you’re organized about it, the process goes more a lot more smoothly. If you made your Bolognese sauce a day or more ahead of time, warm it just to the point of being spreadable, otherwise it may tear the pasta. Have your 2 sauces (each with its own spatula), the grated cheeses, and pasta all within an arm’s reach of a deep 9 in. x 13 in. baking dish. Grease the bottom and sides of the baking dish with the softened butter. Coat the bottom and sides of the dish with a thin coating of the béchamel. Now spread about ½ c. of Bolognese sauce over the bottom of the pan. Place pasta sheets side-by-side to cover the bottom of the pan and extend over the edges of the pan a few inches (see pictures above). Cover the pasta with a thin layer of béchamel, and then top with another thin coating of Bolognese sauce. Now place pasta sheets perpendicular to the first layer of pasta, extending a few inches over the other sides of the pan. Okay, now we have a good, sturdy base established and we can start building slightly thicker, cheesy layers. Top the pasta with béchamel, Bolognese, and a sprinkling of Parmesan and Fontina cheeses. Arrange pasta sheets to cover the sauces and cheese and repeat. The amount of each ingredient you spread between the layers will depend a little on how many sheets of pasta you wound up with—use your best judgment. I think I ended up with about 6 layers of pasta in my lasagna, with about ½ c. of each sauce between each layer. When you get to the top, fold the overhanging edges up over the lasagna and fit a piece of pasta to cover the center. Spread the last bit of each sauce over the top and sprinkle with the remaining cheese.
  7. Now you can bake the lasagna or wrap it, put it in the fridge, and bake it tomorrow. When you are ready to bake the lasagna, have the oven preheated to 375°. Tent the lasagna loosely with foil (be sure the foil isn’t touching the cheese or it you’ll pull the cheese off when you remove it). Poke a few holes in the foil to allow steam to escape. Bake for 45 minutes or until the lasagna is bubbling hot. If your baking dish isn’t very deep, you may want to bake the lasagna on a baking sheet to catch any potential bubbling over. Remove the foil tent and return the lasagna to the oven until the cheese on top is golden and crispy. Let the lasagna rest for at least 15 minutes before serving.
  8. Make someone else do the dishes. Those are direct orders.
Recipe by strawberryplum at