Making lasagna. I always use a mixture of ricotta, pram and mozzarella. Wanted to try béchamel. What is the difference and what is better?

  • Posted by: Tasha
  • January 4, 2016


ChefJune January 7, 2016
I also much prefer bechamel for lasagne. In fact, I'm pretty sure I've never made it any other way. With or without bolognese.
Smaug January 6, 2016
Still waiting for Garfield to weigh in on this.
QueenSashy January 6, 2016
Bechamel... No questions asked :) The classic lasagna bolognese does not recognize cheese. As others have said, it's a lighter, and happier lasagna, and bechamel works with both meat and vegetable options.
Bevi January 6, 2016
I prefer bechamel and think Stanley Tucci's recipe is terrific.
702551 January 4, 2016
French chefs often grate a little nutmeg into savory milk/cream-based sauces like bechamel.

The main key to a great tasting bechamel is really good milk. It is difficult to get a memorable bechamel if you are using generic low-fat/non-fat mass market milk from the supermarket. Use good ingredients.

Starting with good ingredients has been the mantra time and time again. My guess is that ingredient quality counts for about 80-95% of the outcome of the final dish.
LE B. January 4, 2016
Wow, it upsets be to hear someone say beschamel is bland. No way!
But a good beschamel needs to have have some black pepper and parm in it and, most importantly, FRESHly grated nutmeg. After being shown about nutmeg by a friend, my mom insisted upon freshly grating her nutmeg whenever she cooked with it. And what a difference it makes! (This is a very unpopular thing to say, I know, but a good beschamel has much more flavor than your typically found ricotta and mozzarella, imo.) I love the rich creaminess of the beschamel when ribboned across a spunky hearty marinara. My canneloni (tubes like manicotti) are nestled in a marinara with a wide band of beschamel across the top. And yes, the parm in the beschamel makes for a lovely browning! Congrats on getting a delicious new sauce under your belt!
Nancy January 4, 2016
This hotline thread started by QueenSashy about a month ago asked for great lasagna recipes using bechamel. See it for info &/or recipe ideas you may like:
Garlic F. January 4, 2016
I prefer bechamel for vegetarian lasagnas that use green leafy veg. I like to add a touch of grated nutmeg in the sauce to pair with dark green leafy vegetables.
Annie S. January 4, 2016
I couldn't get a link to post but my new favorite lasagna is from Saveur mag. It is the vegetarian lasagna with beschamel and Shitake mushrooms. It is lovely and complex and much more delicate. I prefer it to bologonese. I add a little more cheese. I also use the Pyrex pan they recommend as the perfect pan. They were right! It has just the right amount of caramelization. If you don't want to spend the money on shiitakes think about the great texture they provide and the money you are saving on all that cheese. Check it out I think you will like it. I grew up in New York and have eaten lots of great lasagna and this is my favorite!
amysarah January 4, 2016
I definitely prefer the bechamel/bolognese version (just season the bechamel well with S&P and a little nutmeg.) It makes the lasagna a bit less heavy, but moreover, I think it allows the other elements - a great sauce, good quality parm, mozzarella, if using it - to come through more clearly.
HalfPint January 4, 2016
I prefer the bechamel sauce too. Too much cheese with the mozzarella and ricotta. My favorite is the lasagna bolognese with the bechamel and meat sauce. Mario Batali's is the recipe that I use.
Tasha January 4, 2016
Thanks so much. I'm going with the béchamel
Mary January 4, 2016
Béchamel by itself is very bland. If you are using tomato sauce as well you might want to make sure it is extra tasty.
Donna January 4, 2016
I prefer the bechamel variation for lasagne. It has a light, smooth texture as opposed to the heavier, sometimes stringy cheese layer. You can still sprinkle some Parmesan on each layer and over the top to get a nice browned finish.

Voted the Best Reply!

Smaug January 4, 2016
Bechamel is a basic sauce made by thickening milk with flour- if you make gravy, pretty much the same procedure. It makes a much lighter lasagne than the heavy cheese favored in many American versions in the dish. As for better or worse, a matter of taste, but to me a proper lasagne should not be a gut buster.
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