Lasagna Bolognese

Another lasagna recipe!  Kids love lasagna.  This is a very mild Italian version that incorporates diced vegetables.  Even though it is not spicy, the flavor is complex enough for adults to enjoy.  It uses a Bolognese sauce (meat and vegetables with a touch of cream) and a Béchamel sauce (a traditional white sauce with no cheese).  The Béchamel sauce can be heavy or light or somewhere in-between (based on what kind of milk you use – see variations below).  This lasagna is definitely good enough for entertaining or taking to a friend/neighbor.

You could add more vegetables to this by stirring in a 10 oz. package of thawed and squeezed frozen spinach (must remove all water!).  Stir the spinach into the Béchamel sauce while it is cooling.  I will do that the next time I make this version of lasagna.

Note:  I believe the Italian word for Béchamel is Besciamella… but the French word is more familiar and easier for me to spell!

Servings: 8

Total Time: 2 hours

Lasagna Noodles

  • 12 oz. Ripple Edge Lasagna (not oven-ready)
  • Salt
  • wax paper
  • a little butter or cooking spray
  1. Bring a large pot of water to boil over high heat.  Salt the water.  Add the lasagna noodles, stirring gently to prevent them from sticking together.  Continue to boil, stirring occasionally until the lasagna is tender, but still quite al dente, 5 minutes.  The noodles will continue to cook in the oven.
  2. Drain well and spread the noodles in a single layer on waxed paper to cool.
  3. Brush the bottom of a 9 x 13 x 2 inch casserole dish with butter or spray with cooking spray.

Bolognese Sauce

  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped yellow onion
  • 2 Tablespoons minced garlic (about 6 cloves)
  • 2/3 cup finely chopped carrots.
  • 1/3 cup finely chopped zucchini
  • 1/3 cup finely chopped yellow summer squash
  • 1/2 lb ground meat (I use lean ground beef)
  • 3 Tablespoons heavy cream
  • one 28-ounce can crushed tomatoes
  • one 6-ounce can tomato paste
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground pepper
  • 2 Tablespoons chopped fresh basil (or 1 teaspoon dried)
  1. Heat the oil in a heavy large pot over medium-high heat.  Add the onion and garlic, reduce the heat to medium0low, and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion is very tender, 8-10 minutes.
  2. Add the carrots, zucchini and squash and cook until tender, 5 minutes.
  3. Add the ground meat, raise the temp to medium-high and continue to cook, breaking up the meat with a wooden spoon and stirring often, until the meat is browned through, about 5 minutes.
  4. Reduce the heat to medium-low and add 2 tablespoons of the cream, stirring until well combined.  Add the crushed tomatoes, tomato paste, salt and pepper, and simmer uncovered for 45 minutes.
  5. Stir in the remaining 1 tablespoon of cream and the basil.  Can be stored in the refrigerator for 3 days.

Béchamel Sauce – Light

This is about as light as you want to go with the sauce.  You must use equal parts butter and flour.  You can use skim or any milk here.

  • 4 Tablespoons Butter
  • 4 Tablespoons Flour
  • 4 Cups Milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  1. Melt the butter in a large saucepan over medium-high heat.  When the butter is completely melted and bubbling, add teh flour, whisking until well blended.  Cook, stirring occasionally for 3 minutes.
  2. Gradually add the milk, whisking constantly.  Bring to a boil continuing to whisk (don’t let the bottom burn), and cook until the sauce is smooth and thickened, 8-10 minutes.
  3. Stir in the salt and pepper.  Cool in the sauce pan.

Béchamel Sauce – Heavy

This is about as heavy as you want to go.  You must use equal parts butter and flour.

  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) Butter
  • 1/2 cup Flour
  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  1. Melt the butter in a large saucepan over medium-high heat.  When the butter is completely melted and bubbling, add the flour, whisking until well blended.  Cook, stirring occasionally for 3 minutes.
  2. Gradually add the milk and cream, whisking constantly.  Bring to a boil continuing to whisk (don’t let the bottom burn), and cook until the sauce is smooth and thickened, 8-10 minutes.
  3. Stir in the salt and pepper.  Cool in the sauce pan.
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Bolognese Lasagna before it goes into the oven. My 5 year old daughter constructed this version – it doesn’t have to be exact.

Put it all Together & Bake it

  1. Place a layer of lasagna noodles over the bottom of the dish, overlapping the noodles.
  2. Spread a layer of the Bolognese Sauce (about 2 cups) over the noodles, and then a layer of the Béchamel Sauce (about 1 1/2 cups).
  3. Repeat layers twice more using only 1 cup of Bolognese for the top layer and being sure to end with the Béchamel sauce.
  4. Sprinkle the Ramano cheese evenly over the top of the casserole.
  5. Bake uncovered for 30 minutes.

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