Lasagna Alla Bolognese | Authentic Italian Lasagna Recipe
Updated: Nov 20, 2020
Widely considered to be the original lasagna recipe, this decadent dish deserves its famed reputation. It may come with some surprises for the uninitiated, such as green pasta!
Watch the Pasta Grammar video where we make this recipe here:
The most time-consuming part of this lasagna's preparation is making the ragù alla Bolognese. It takes several hours to simmer, so plan ahead! You can find our ragù recipe here, and in the meantime we will move forward assuming you have the sauce ready.
For this recipe, you will need:
- 6 1/4 cups (750g) all-purpose flour, plus a little extra for dusting
- 5 eggs
- 10 1/2 oz. (about 300g) spinach
- 4 1/4 cups (1 liter) whole milk
- 7 tbsp (100g) unsalted butter
- Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese for grating.
- Fresh black pepper
Bring a pot of water to boil and add the spinach. Cook until very tender. Drain and squeeze all the excess water out, then chop finely and set aside.
On a large work surface, pour 5 1/2 cups (650g) of flour into a pile. Hollow out the middle so that it resembles a volcano, and crack the eggs into this depression. Also add the chopped spinach and begin gently whisking all together with a fork. Gradually start mixing in flour from the sides of the flour volcano until the mixture thickens into a goopy substance.
Continue to work and knead the dough by hand, dusting with flour as needed. The final consistency should be smooth, uniform, and moist but not too sticky. Form the dough into a ball, wrap in plastic wrap, and allow to rest for at least 30 minutes.
After the dough has rested, roll it out on a well-floured surface until it is quite thin—about 1/16th-inch thick. Flip and dust the dough as needed while you work. If you have limited space or difficulty rolling it out in one sheet, feel free to cut the dough ball into more manageable pieces and work in batches.
When the pasta has been rolled out, use a paring knife to cut it into rectangular pieces. We made our lasagna in a 10x15-inch casserole dish and found that roughly 4x6-inch pieces worked well, but feel free to adapt to the size and shape of the dish you plan on using.
Bring a large pot of water to boil and salt liberally. Working in batches of 3-4 sheets at a time, boil the pasta. Remove each sheet after it floats to the top of the water and spread on a tea towel to dry. Be careful not to stack the cooked sheets on top of one another without either a towel or wax paper divider as they will stick together like glue!
To make the besciamella sauce, heat the milk in a small saucepan until it is warm, but not hot. Melt the unsalted butter in another small saucepan over medium heat. Add the flour and whisk until it combines into a putty with the butter, then pour in the warmed milk while continuing to whisk.
Add a pinch of ground nutmeg, salt and pepper to taste. Stir almost continually until the besciamella thickens into a gravy-like substance.
Now that the ragù, pasta and besciamella are ready, it's time to assemble to lasagna. First, preheat your oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C).
Begin by spreading a thin layer of ragù on the bottom of the dish, then cover with a single layer of pasta sheets. Be sure that there are no gaps showing, and feel free to cut smaller pieces of pasta to fill any that might appear.
Then add another layer of ragù, a thin layer of spread besciamella sauce, topped with a generous grating of Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese.
Top with another layer of pasta and repeat until you have 4-6 such layers. The final, top layer should end with ragù/besciamella and an extra-heavy grating of Parmigiano.
Bake for 35-40 minutes, or until the top is slightly browned and beginning to crisp. Remove from the oven and allow to cool for 10-15 minutes before serving.