Make Ahead

Classic Bolognese Lasagna

October 19, 2021
0 Ratings
Photo by Rachel Phipps
  • Prep time 15 minutes
  • Cook time 1 hour 40 minutes
  • Serves 4-6
Author Notes

This classic bolognese lasagna is has everything you could possibly want in your go-to lasagna recipe: a rich meat sauce, plenty of mozzarella and parmesan cheese, and a creamy, nutmeg spiked béchamel sauce.

It is usually my go-to recipe when I have people over with a green salad and homemade garlic dough balls as I can make it ahead and pop it in the oven when they arrive, cooking and resting as we drink wine and chat over cured meats and things. I do all the cooking in our house so it is also the dish I make time to prepare and leave in the fridge whenever I go away so my boyfriend can have a home cooked meal from me every night until I return! It will happily sit and wait until someone is ready in the dish covered with food wrap, with the heating and resting instructions pinned to the top on a sticky note.

Dried lasagna sheets work here too, but I prefer the texture of fresh. Homemade pasta is divine here, and a real labour of love if you have the time. —Rachel Phipps

What You'll Need
  • For the Bolognese Sauce
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 large brown onion
  • large pinch flaky sea salt
  • 4 large garlic cloves
  • 14 ounces ground beef
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup red wine
  • 2 14 oz cans chopped tomatoes
  • For the Lasagna
  • 2 ounces unsalted butter
  • 4 tablespoons all purpose flour
  • 1 2/3 cups semi skimmed milk
  • large pinch freshly grated nutmeg
  • 10 ounces fresh lasagna sheets
  • 9 ounces fresh mozzarella
  • 3 1/2 ounces pre-grated parmesan
  1. First, make the bolognese sauce. Heat the oil in a large saucepan over a medium heat. Soften the onion - peeled and finely chopped - with a very generous pinch of salt for about 5 minutes until they are translucent, then add the garlic, each clove peeled and finely grated. Cook for another 2-3 minutes, until soft and fragrant.
  2. Add the beef and turn up the heat to medium high. Breaking up the mince with the back of your spoon as you go, fry it until the meat is brown all over.
  3. Stir in the tomato paste, dried oregano, sugar, and lots of black pepper. Then add the red wine and tinned tomatoes, washing the tins out with the wine so you don’t leave any of the tomato juices behind!
  4. Bring the sauce to the boil, then reduce to a simmer, leaving without a lid for at least half an hour. Pre-heat the oven to 180 degrees celsius (355 fahrenheit).
  5. To make the béchamel, in a smaller saucepan, melt the butter over a medium low heat. Using a balloon whisk, stir in the flour, and cook, still stirring, for a few minutes to cook out the flour and get rid of that raw flour taste. Gradually whisk in the milk until you have a smooth sauce. Add the nutmeg, and continue to whisk until the sauce has thickened and will coat the back of a spoon. Remove from the heat.
  6. o assemble the lasagna, spread a little of the bolognese sauce over the bottom of a large, square baking dish (mine is 8 inches x 8 inches) and lay two lasagna sheets on top. Start building the layers, starting with a ladle of bolognese, a ladle of béchamel, a few mozzarella pieces (just rip the balls with your hands, laying the pieces ready on a piece of kitchen towel to catch any excess water), a sprinkle of parmesan and two more lasagna sheets, laid in the opposite direction. Keep going until you run out of béchamel, and you only have a ladle of bolognese, and about 1/3 of the mozzarella and parmesan left. To build the top layer, spread over the remaining bolognese, then sprinkle over the remaining cheese.
  7. Bake the lasagne for 50 minutes, covering the top with foil after 30 minutes to stop the cheese on top burning. Remove from the oven and leave to rest for 30 minutes, like a steak, before serving.

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