This proverb has become something of a motto for our family – otherwise known as “Sunday funday” and “cigar Sunday.” Naught stands in the way of our standing “appointment” with family and friends on Sunday afternoon and evening. We enjoy a cigar on the patio (weather permitting), an adult beverage or two, great conversation, and fun and adventure in the kitchen. A great meal around the table is typically followed by a boisterous game of cards and dark chocolate. Lasagna Bolognese – and fun with 4 Andersen cooks in the kitchen – certainly started this week off right.
My Lasagna Bolognese is really a combination of 3 recipes: Bolognese sauce (Turkey Bolognese & Roasted Spaghetti Squash), lasagna noodles (recipe below), and béchamel sauce (recipe below). This Roman-style lasagna is not heavy with cheese, and has no ricotta. Rather, the meat sauce is layered with creamy béchamel and fresh pasta noodles, and topped with parmesan and fresh mozzarella. Three of my four sons have an aversion to lasagna due to a strong aversion to ricotta, but they love the taste and texture of this dish. The bolognese, which is a slow-cooked meat sauce, is clearly the star in this recipe! Please read the entire recipe as it is a bit complicated. Serve with a leafy green salad and a bottle of sangiovese or chianti (medium-bodied spicy Italian reds). Buon appetito!
A classic Roman Lasagna Bolognese with bolognese (meat) sauce, béchamel, homemade lasagna noodles, and lots of love! It's not quick and easy, but it is worth the trouble...
2 hrPrep Time
1 hrCook Time
3 hrTotal Time
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 3 cups all-purpose flour plus more for kneading
- 4 large eggs, at room temperature
- 5 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 4 cups whole milk, warmed
- freshly ground nutmeg
- sea salt
- fresh ground pepper
- 8 cups bolognese*
- noodles, rough cut
- 8 ounces fresh mozarella - sliced thin
- 1 cup +/- microplaned parmesan (about 2 ounces)
- flat leaf parsley, chopped (for garnish)
Add 3 cups of flour, salt, and eggs to the bowl of a heavy-duty food processor fitted with a dough blade (I use a Cuisinart and it has never let me down). Pulse until crumbs form. Process until a dough ball forms.
Remove dough ball from the processor. If dough is at all sticky, dust with flour and knead until a stiff, dry ball can be formed. Wrap with plastic wrap. Set aside for 1-2 hours.
Set your pasta machine on the largest setting. Divide dough into 4 pieces, and dust each with flour. Working with 1 piece at a time (keep remaining pieces covered), flatten into a rectangle not wider than your machine. Run it through the rollers. Fold dough as needed to fit, and repeat. Dust with flour if dough becomes sticky.
Adjust to thinner settings and repeat until dough is 1/16" thick. Lay dough strips on a lightly floured surface.
When all 4 pieces of dough are prepared, slice into long strips (about 2" x 13"). Precision is not at all necessary. You can use smaller and irregular pieces as well. Set aside while you prepare the béchamel, but cover with a clean towel to keep them from becoming dry.
Over medium heat, melt the butter. When it is sizzling (but not browning), add the flour. Whisk lightly to combine. Allow the flour to cook in the butter for 1-2 minutes, being careful not to brown it.
Whisk in the milk a little at a time, slowly bringing to a boil. Cook until the mixture is thickened.
Remove from heat. Grate nutmeg and stir. A little goes a long way with nutmeg. I run the nutmeg over the grater 5-6 times. Give it a good stir. Add sea salt to taste, and several grinds of pepper. Stir well to combine.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees (325 convection). Lightly spray 13 x 9 baking dish with cooking spray.
Béchamel and bolognese sauces should be warm or hot. Noodles should be rolled thin and ready to go. Grate parmesan into a prep bowl, and thinly slice the the mozzarella.
Using a ladle, spread a layer of bolognese sauce (about 1/3 of the sauce) over the bottom of the baking dish. Place a single layer of noodles over top. Your completed dish will not suffer if it is not made with 4 perfect noodles per layer! Piece it together as necessary.
Spread a thin layer of béchamel, a generous layer of bolognese (about half of remaining sauce), and sprinkle with parmesan. Add another single layer of noodles.
Top the last layer of noodles with the remaining béchamel. Sprinkle with parmesan. Arrange slices of mozzarella over top.
Place dish in the preheated oven. You may wish to place foil or a large sheet pan under it. The lasagna will swell as the noodles absorb the liquid, and it may drip.
Cook about an hour (45-50 minutes convection) until cheese begins to brown on top. Remove from oven, and allow to sit 30-45 minutes before serving.
Garnish with chopped parsley if desired.
* I typically make a double batch of my bolognese sauce, and save the leftover sauce from the first meal for this lasagna. It freezes well in a zip bag. Thaw and heat the sauce prior to assembling the lasagna. If the sauce looks a bit dry, add additional broth/stock. The noodles require some liquid to absorb.
** Making lasagna noodles takes time. They require 1-2 hours rest time. We typically make the noodle dough early in the afternoon, and allow it to rest while we enjoy a cigar on the patio. You may also make it up to a day in advance, wrap it in plastic wrap, and store in the refrigerator until ready to make the noodles.
The dough recipe makes plenty of noodles for the dish. I typically toss a little bit of dough, but that's preferable to running short. It all depends on how thin you roll the dough. You want to get the dough very thin!
I make pasta dough with a food processor. If you don't have one, combine the flour and salt, make a well, and add the eggs. Combine and knead until smooth, firm ball can be formed.