Tuesday, June 3, 2008


I forgot to take a picture of dinner last night, so I figured I would do it with my leftovers. When I was in high school my sister would always make Bolognese sauce from scratch and taught me how. It's a long, laborious, all-day process so she would always make a whole bunch and freeze half of it. And with that sauce she would make lasagna Bolognese, which is in my opinion, the superior lasagna. Most Americans make lasagna Romana, which uses ricotta cheese or even cottage cheese in between layers of tomato or meat sauce. Lasagna Bolognese, instead, has a meaty, flavorful Bolognese sauce and a creamy Béchamel sauce for every other layer. And lots of gooey mozzarella cheese (not cheddar--too greasy and to strong). The first time Lisa made it for me, I felt like I was in Japan again, eating at a quality Italian restaurant all over again. Happy memories. Anyway, a couple years ago, Lisa discovered a quick and easy way to make the Bolognese sauce that doesn't take all day. So now it is a much more convenient meal, but still delicious:) And I make the Béchamel out of low-fat milk instead of whole milk, and I don't really notice too much of a difference because it still comes out creamy and with the cheese, it's just right. So there's my story about the perfect lasagna.

Oh, and you'll have left over Bolognese sauce for another pasta day:)

Lasagna Bolognese
makes a 9x 13 pan
1 box no-boil lasagna noodles (I use Barilla brand)
2-1/2 C Mozzarella & Parmesan cheese

for the Bolognese sauce:
2 cans crushed tomatoes
1 medium yellow onion, chopped fine (
I use my food processor)
equal amount of carrots, chopped fine
1~2 stalks celery, chopped fine
4-5 cloves of garlic, minced (optional)
vegetable or olive oil
1 lb lean ground beef
1/2 C red wine (optional)

for the Béchamel:
3 T butter
3 T flour
3 C milk
1/4 onion, chopped fine
salt & pepper to taste
1/8 t grated nutmeg (optional)
  1. For the Bolognese: In a large pot, cook onions, garlic, celery and carrots on medium-high heat until soft and slightly browned, stirring constantly. Once cooked, add beef, breaking up as you go. Cook through. Add red wine, if using, and cook until completely evaporated. Add the crushed tomatoes, and cook, stirring constantly, until slightly thickened.
  2. For the Béchamel: In a medium pot, melt butter and cook onions until soft. Add flour and stir constantly. Add milk gradually and stir quickly and make sure no lumps form. Add salt and pepper and nutmeg and combine. Keep cooking until sauce thickens. Set aside.
  3. In a 9x13 inch pan, pour a layer of Bolognese sauce on the bottom. Layer with 3 pieces of lasagna noodles. Top with Béchamel and generous amount of cheese. Place 3 more pieces of noodles. Repeat until no noodles are left. I put a combination of Bolognese & Bechamel with left over cheese on the top layer (because Blake insists that we have Bolognese on top).
  4. Bake at 375° for 50-60 minutes. Pull out of the oven and let cool for 15 minutes before serving.


Lisa Allen said...

Way to go! That lasagna definitely looks way better than any lasagna I've ever made.

Katie said...

That looks freakin' delicious. We're packing up our house, so we had cereal and chicken nuggets (shaped like dinosaurs) for dinner. I'll have to try this in three months or so.