Finally! We present the traditional Italian Bolognese Lasagna recipe (Lasagna alla Bolognese)— from the traditional Ragù Bolognese sauce, to the creamy besciamella sauce and the classic fresh spinach pasta. This is the original beef lasagna recipe promoted in the Italian city of Bologna. Simply the best… and a popular choice in Italy for holiday meals or family gatherings.
Watch the Video Recipe!
Watch the video and learn how to make this Bolognese Lasagna recipe step-by-step!
How to Make Authentic Bolognese Lasagna Recipe: Tips
Preparing the Bolognese Lasagna itself isn’t difficult or time-consuming. However, you’ll probably want to prep the ingredients the day before if you are making the ragù, bechamel or green pasta dough from scratch.
Want to save time?
It’s virtually impossible to find authentic Ragù Bolognese pre-made in most groceries. So, that’s the thing to make from scratch. In fact, this sauce freezes wonderfully so you can make it well in advance and just thaw it when you are ready to make the lasagna.
To save time, purchase the besciamella sauce and lasagna noodles pre-made. We like to grate our Parmigiano Reggiano just before use with a food processor for ultimate flavor and freshness. However, you can save time by buying the cheese pre-grated.
What makes this an authentic Bolognese Lasagna Recipe?
Italians are very picky when it comes to calling a recipe ‘traditional.’ Regional recipes are beloved in Italy, and Italians look to those communities to put their stamp of approval on what is ‘traditional’ or ‘authentic.’
The recipe we present here is promoted by the Italian city of Bologna as the official recipe.
Prep Time Notes
Prep time listed here doesn’t include preparing the ragù, béchamel or pasta, which we’ll assume you’ve done in advance.
For your convenience, we’ve included the recipes for making each of these ingredients in this post, along with their prep times.
This recipe is enough for 5 layers in an 8″ x 11″ or 20cm x 30 cm baking pan.
Use Parmigiano Reggiano—not parmesan.
Always use the real Parmigiano Reggiano. Cheese labeled parmesan is not the same thing in most countries and is virtually never used in Italy.
Use regular lasagna noodles?
Feel free to use pre-made or regular lasagna noodles if you don’t want to take the time to prepare the green pasta dough traditionally used in this dish.
We recommend looking for fresh pasta as they are tastier in lasagna.
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Bolognese Lasagna Recipe
- Baking Pan: 8" x 11" (20cm x 30 cm)
- 7 oz Parmigiano Reggiano cheese
- 4 cups Ragù Bolognese Sauce see recipe below
- 2 cups Bechamel Sauce see recipe below
- Spinach Lasagna Noodles for 5 layers – see recipe below
- Finely grate the Parmigiano Reggiano. Prepare the Ragu Bolognese. Prepare the béchamel sauce. Prepare the spinach pasta using our recipes. Then…7 oz Parmigiano Reggiano cheese, 4 cups Ragù Bolognese Sauce, 2 cups Bechamel Sauce, Spinach Lasagna Noodles
Make Pasta Into Lasagna Noodles
- Roll out the pasta dough to a bit less than 1mm in thickness. You should be able to barely see your hand through it if you hold the noodle in front of the light.
- Cut the pasta noodles just a bit shorter than the length of your lasagna pan. The noodles will expand when cooked. We’ll need 5 layers of lasagna noodles in total. You may need to cut some noodles lengthwise to completely cover the pan.
Pre Cook Lasagna Noodles
- Boil all the pasta one noodle at a time in boiling water for about one minute. Transfer the pre-cooked noodles to a non-fuzzy towel to cool, laying them flat.
- Cover the bottom of the lasagna pan with béchamel sauce. Add a layer of lasagna noodles, side by side, completely covering the pan and overlapping the noodles just a bit lengthwise.
- Spread ¾ cup (7 oz or 200 g) of ragu over the noodles. Spread a ½ cup (100 ml) of béchamel over the ragu. Sprinkle with about 4 tbsp of finely grated Parmigiano Reggiano.
- Add another layer of lasagna noodles.
- Repeat until you have 5 layers of lasagna noodles.
- Bake the lasagna in a pre-heated 400° F (200° C) oven for 25 minutes. If you have a fan option on your oven, bake at 350° F (180° C) for 15 minutes. Bake uncovered, until the top of the lasagna is a crispy golden brown.
- Let the lasagna rest for 10 minutes before cutting.
Authentic Ragu Bolognese Sauce Recipe
- 1 ¼ lb ground beef
- .6 lb pancetta finely chopped
- 1 carrot
- 3 ribs celery
- 1 onion medium
- 21 oz tomato puree
- 1 cup red wine chianti
- 2 cups whole milk
- 1 cup beef broth as needed during simmer (or water)
- fine salt to taste
- black pepper to taste
- 7 tbsp butter
Make the Sauce
- Finely chop the pork belly/pancetta. Mince the onion, carrot and celery..6 lb pancetta, 3 ribs celery, 1 onion, 1 carrot
- Melt the butter in a large sauce pan or skillet.7 tbsp butter
- Sauté the vegetables until tender and translucent.
- Make a well in the center of the vegetables. Add the pancetta and cook until no longer red.
- Make a well and add the ground beef. Cook until no longer red.1 ¼ lb ground beef
- Slowly add the red wine a little at a time. Let the wine reduce and continue adding slowly until all of the wine has been added.1 cup red wine
- Add the tomato puree. Stir. Cover and simmer on low heat for 2 hours.21 oz tomato puree
- After two hours, slowly add the whole milk over the course of an hour. Simmer over medium-low heat and stir frequently. Salt and pepper to taste!2 cups whole milk, 1 cup beef broth, fine salt, black pepper
- Buon appetito!
Fresh Spinach Pasta Dough Recipe
- 1 Large Pot
- 1 sieve or strainer
- 1 blender immersion, food processor or regular blender
- 3 ½ cups all-purpose flour or 00 flour
- 3 whole eggs
- 5 oz spinach fresh or frozen
Make the Dough
- Clean the spinach and cook it in boiling water until wilted. Transfer the cooked spinach immediately to a boil of ice water (blanching). When cool, squeeze all of the liquid out of the spinach.5 oz spinach
- Blend the spinach to a smooth puree.
- Add the flour to a large mixing bowl. Make a well in the center of the flour. Add three whole eggs to the center of the flour and the spinach puree.3 ½ cups all-purpose flour, 3 whole eggs
- Begin to beat the flour into the eggs and spinach with a fork, pulling the flour in from the sides a little at a time. You may not need to mix in all of the flour, or you may need to add more. Judge by eye and texture.
- When the dough begins to look shaggy, compress the dough into a loose ball and transfer to a floured work surface. Knead the dough until it is smooth and elastic. The final dough should not stick to your hands. When you push in on the dough, it should spring back.
- When ready, cover and let the dough rest for at least 30 minutes.
Roll and Cut Dough
- Use as you would any basic egg pasta dough. Roll the dough to the thickness of the pasta you are making. Cut the pasta accordingly.
Bechamel Sauce Recipe (Besciamella Sauce)
- sauce pan or pot
- 2 cups whole milk
- 3.5 tbsp butter or, olive oil
- 6 tbsp flour
- nutmeg to taste
- salt to taste
Make the Sauce
- Bring the milk to simmer in a saucepan, then keep the milk on low heat.2 cups whole milk
- Make a roux: In a separate sauce pan, melt the butter over medium-low heat. Add the flour and whisk vigorously for about a minute until thick and smooth.6 tbsp flour, 3.5 tbsp butter
- Add a ladle of the warm milk to the roux a little at a time, whisking vigorously until smooth before adding more milk. When all of the milk has been incorporated, continue to simmer the sauce (whisking regularly) for about 5 minutes or until the béchamel coats the back of a spoon.
- Add salt and nutmeg to taste.nutmeg, salt