This Classic Lasagna is made with a traditional ragu bolognese and a creamy Béchamel sauce. This lasagna is full of flavor, layers of lasgana noodles, a rich beef and tomato sauce and a creamy cheese sauce.
Lasgana takes time, but it is definitely worth it. And it can be made in advance making it great for entertaining or a busy weekend.
The ragu is cooked slowly so the flavors intensify and mellow at the same time. You want to use a pan with a heavy fitting lid to ensure the sauce doesn’t dry out too much. The ragu will be wetter than for Spaghetti Bolognese, as the sauce has to have enough liquid to cook the lasagna noodles.
This is a classic Italian lasagna that uses a béchamel sauce rather than the American version that uses ricotta for the white layer. A béchamel is a classic white sauce that is thickened with a roux; a butter and flour mixture. This creates a silky smooth sauce that adds a beautiful richness to the lasagne.
Although a white sauces seems daunting, it does eventually come together. The flour is mixed with melted butter and then slowly milk is added until the sauce is glossy. A few minutes gentle cooking creates a thick luscious sauce.
Side: We think this classic lasagna with béchamel is best paired with a green side salad and some warm ciabatta.
Wine: The slow cooking of the ragu would suggest a bright bold red wine, but the cheese sauce makes the dish richer, so we suggest a Cabernet Sauvignon or a Malbec.
If you aren’t a red fan, an unusual but great pairing would be a s richer white like a Viognier will work.
Classic Lasagna with Béchamel
For the Ragu Bolognese:
- 2 large onions
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 2 lb ground beef (1kg)
- 5 garlic cloves
- 3 beef bouillon cubes
- 3/4 cup red wine (180 ml)
- 2 x 28oz can crushed tomato (880g)
- 1 tbsp sugar
- 1 tbsp Worcestershire Sauce
- 1 tbsp dried oregano
- 1 tbsp dried Italian mixed herbs
- 1 cup water (125ml)
- salt and pepper
For the Béchamel (White Sauce):
- 1 stick butter (120g/8 tbsp )
- 1 cup AP flour (150g)
- 2 quart milk (2 litres/8 cups)
- pinch of mustard powder
- salt and pepper
For the Lasagna:
- 10 oz dried lasagna sheets
- 1/2 cup shredded cheddar/Monterey jack
- 1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
- 1/2 cup grated parmesan
- finely chopped parsley (for garnish)
Peel and finely chop the onion.
Heat the olive oil in a large heavy-based pan. Add the onion and cook for 5 minutes until softened but not coloured.
Add in the ground beef, and use the spatula to break it apart.
Turn up the heat and let the beef cook and start to brown.
Crush in the garlic and crumble over the beef bouillon cubes.
Add in the red wine and cook for a couple of minutes.
Add the crushed tomatoes, sugar, Worcestershire Sauce, dried oregano, Italian mixed herbs and water.
Season with 1/2 tsp of salt and pepper and bring to a simmer.
Add the lid and cook on a low heat for 2 hours.
Once the ragu has had 2 hours make the Béchamel:
Melt the butter in a medium pan over medium-low heat.
Add the flour and whisk it constantly for a minute.
Add 1 cup of the milk to the flour mixture and mix until it is incorporated.
Add another cup of milk and whisk until lump free.
Keep adding the milk until it has all been added.
Turn the heat up and cook for 6-8 minutes stirring regularly until it has thickened.
Add the mustard powder and season well with salt and pepper.
Preheat oven to 350ºF (180ºC).
Spoon a thin layer of the ragu on the base of a 13 x 9 x 3" roasting dish.
Add a layer of the lasagna noodles.
Spread a layer of ragu over the noodles and then add a layer of béchamel.
Repeat the layers twice more.
On top of the 4th layer of noodles, pour out the remaining béchamel.
Sprinkle with the three cheeses and bake for 30 minutes until golden.
Let the lasgana stand for 10 minutes before garnishing with parsley and serving.