Classic Italian Lasagna Bolognese with Bechamel Sauce

Jump to RecipeLeave a Comment

This post may contain affiliate links. Please read our disclosure policy.

If you’re looking for the BEST Classic Lasagna Bolognese recipe straight from Italy, this is the recipe for you. It is loaded with perfectly cooked lasagna pasta, homemade bolognese and béchamel sauce, mozzarella, and Parmigiano cheeses for an unbelievable classic Italian lasagna recipe!

Also, try Authentic Spinach and Ricotta Lasagna with Tomato Sauce. See this post for What to Serve with Lasagna (50 Best Side Dishes).

a pan of cooked authentic lasagna bolognese
Want to save this recipe?
Just enter your email and get it sent to your inbox! Plus you’ll get new recipes from us every week!
Please enable JavaScript in your browser to complete this form.

This is a classic Italian lasagna recipe (lasagne al forno) that my Italian family has made for generations. I know you will love it too! I wrote a story about my love for lasagna here: Sunday Story: Lasagna Love.

You may also want to try these recipes: Authentic Spinach and Ricotta Lasagna (Vegetarian), Polpette Con Sugo (Italian meatballs in tomato sauce), Italian Eggplant Parmigiana, BEST Italian Beef Short Rib Ragu and Baked Eggplant Slices Recipe with Ricotta Cheese.

Ingredients for Lasagna Bolognese with Bechamel Sauce

Lasagna

Bechamel Sauce

  • Butter unsalted
  • All-purpose flour all-purpose
  • Milk
  • Parmigiano 
  • Nutmeg
  • Salt

Exact measurements on the recipe card

Classic Italian Lasagna Bolognese Recipe

Lasagna Bolognese includes only fresh egg pasta, Bolognese ragù (slow-cooked meat sauce), creamy béchamel (white sauce), and plenty of grated Parmigiano cheese.

The result is a melt-in-your-mouth, creamy, decadent, and satisfying lasagna that is distinct in Italian-style lasagna recipes.

When you make this recipe you will feel like you are dining at an Italian trattoria on the streets of Italy.

This is a recipe loved by all and brings me back to my home in Italy!

This lasagna recipe is my Nonna Laura’s recipe that I grew up eating at large tables filled with family, love, and loud laughter. I hope you love it as much as I do!

Honestly, it is the BEST lasagna recipe!

How to Make Classic Lasagna Bolognese Step by Step with Photos

How to Cook and Prevent Lasagna Noodles from Sticking Together:

1 – Make sure the salted water is at a roaring boil before adding the lasagna noodles. This will make sure the pasta cooks evenly and has plenty of room to swim so it doesn’t stick.

Pot of boiling water.

2 – Cook the pasta until al dente (a little undercooked- see photo). If the pasta is overcooked they are more likely to stick together and get mushy.

Cooked lasagna noodle.

3 – Make sure to put the lasagna noodles on a clean tea towel and cover them while you are waiting to layer them in the lasagna pan.

Layers of cooked pasta in towels.

How to Layer Lasagna in a Pan

Lasagna sauce on the bottom of a pan.
  1. Start by adding a little tomato sauce or ragu sauce to the bottom of the pan to prevent the pasta from sticking.
Ingredients for lasagna at the bottom of a white pan.

2. Add the first layer of pasta (lasagna noodles). Depending on the exact shape of the pan you may need to cut the ends to fit the pan.

Ingredients for lasagna at the bottom of a white pan.

3. Add 1/3 of the bechamel sauce over the layer of pasta layer.

Ingredients for lasagna at the bottom of a white pan.

4. Add 1/3 of the bolognese meat sauce over the layers of pasta and bechamel sauce.

lasagna layers in a pan

5. Add 1/3 of the Parmigiano cheese.

Optional: add a little bit of mozzarella cheese as seen in the photo above.

Ingredients for lasagna in a pan.

6. Repeat the process until all the layers are complete. Finish the final layer with bechamel sauce and extra parmigiano cheese (and mozzarella, if desired). Bake to perfection!

What is the difference between Lasagna and Lasagna Bolognese?

In short, one uses ricotta, and the other uses bechamel sauce. Instead of thick layers of ricotta and mozzarella cheese, lasagne alla bolognese features delicate layers of pasta noodles coated in a luxurious mix of hearty ragù bolognese (slow-cooked meat sauce) and creamy béchamel (white sauce).

This authentic Italian Lasagna Bolognese recipe is different from the most common version, commonly found in the United States, made with layers of meat sauce, ricotta, and mozzarella cheese. The Italian version is lighter and more wholesome, in my opinion.

Both meat sauce and grated Parmigiano cheese are common in both recipes. Using a homemade ragu meat sauce makes all the difference for this classic lasagna bolognese recipe.

The difference between classic lasagna and lasagna Bolognese is Classic Lasagna mixes the meat sauce with fresh ricotta while the Bolognese version uses béchamel to bind the filling.

Both recipes come from two famous Italian recipes. Lasagna Bolognese comes from the city of Bologna and Classic Lasagna is said to originate in Naples. There is still some debate as to where exactly lasagna bolognese originates, but those are the most common speculations among most Italians!

a slice of lasagna on a plate with a fork

Classic Italian Lasagna Ingredients

Let’s look at each component of this Lasagna Bolognese Recipe to find out what makes it different:

What is Italian Ragu Sauce?

Ragu is a meat-based sauce that includes finely chopped vegetables, and ground meat and is cooked slowly with high-quality crushed tomato as a base. See this post for my recommendations on canned tomatoes.

For this recipe, I use my Nonna’s tried and true RAGU RECIPE that we eat weekly with pasta. A certain magic happens as the ground beef and aromatic vegetables slowly cook down tomato sauce in this classic ragu recipe. Your house will smell amazing with this is cooking.

The homemade ragu sauce stewed with rich tomatoes adds that Italian flavor you crave when seeking a quality lasagna recipe.

STORING: You can make store homemade ragu sauce in an airtight container for 3 days in the fridge OR freeze it for several months.

What is Bechamel Sauce?

 Béchamel sauce (besciamella in Italian) has French origin and has become part of Italian culinary tradition for a very long time.

It is a smooth, creamy white sauce made with just 3 ingredients: flour, hot milk, and butter.

If you want to make it the true Italian way, you also add a pinch of nutmeg.

How Do You Know When Your Bechamel is Done?

Know your béchamel is done: when it is thick enough it will “coat the back of a wooden spoon,” which means dip your spoon into the béchamel and then draw a finger through the coated spoon.

The sauce shouldn’t run together and you should see a clean line. The sauce will wipe clean and leave an open space.

The béchamel is done and ready when it sticks to the spoon like in this photo of the spoon on the pot of bechamel.

This is a recipe my mamma taught me years ago. It is so simple and traditional. I know you will love it.

This is the key component that sets Italian Lasagna Bolognese apart from other versions of lasagne.

STORING Bechamel Sauce: You can make and store bechamel for up to 5 days in an airtight container in the fridge.

bechamel sauce in pan

Cheese(s)

Use Freshly Grated Parmigiano and Mozzarella to make your Lasagna Bolognese.

Don’t use anything other than the real stuff (also, grate it yourself!) OR, you chance the risk of getting a gloppy goopy mess. You can read my article about Why you Should Grate your Own Cheese.

Some people use cottage cheese in lasagna- you can do this, but it is not the authentic Italian way to make lasagna.

If you want a lasagna recipe with ricotta cheese make: Authentic Spinach and Ricotta Lasagna with Tomato Sauce.

Make your Own Fresh Pasta Noodles for Lasagna

This is optional! If you want to go all out try making your own fresh pasta sheets for the pasta layers: Best Homemade Pappardelle Recipe (Italian Egg Pasta).

After making the pasta sheets do not cut them into strands leave them whole to fit into your lasagna pan.

Can you Make Lasagna Ahead of Time?

YES!! You can make it ahead of time.

You can make it a few hours earlier, for example early in the morning to bake them for lunch, but even the evening before.

In this case, wrap it in plastic wrap and put it in the refrigerator.

When you want to cook it, leave it at room temperature for half an hour: in the meantime, preheat the oven.

a slice of lasagna on a plate with a fork

How to Freeze Lasagna

You can freeze lasagna bolognese uncooked and cooked, whole or in pieces. In both cases, you will get great results by following these tips.

Freezing Uncooked Lasagna:

Assemble your lasagna in an oven-safe dish and cover it generously with plastic wrap.

When ready to eat, defrost the lasagna the night before so it thaws evenly.

If pressed for time, you can pull the lasagna straight from the freezer and add about 30 minutes to the cooking time. Cover your lasagna until the last 10 minutes so you don’t overcook the top.

Freezing Cooked Lasagna:

If you have any cooked lasagna that is leftover, you can freeze it in portions by wrapping individual slices in plastic wrap and store in an airtight container. Make sure to let the lasagna cool before freezing.

When you want to reheat it, defrost a few hours ahead then reheat in the oven at 400 degrees F for about 10 minutes.

TIP: When reheating lasagna in the oven cover the surface with aluminum foil to prevent it from cooking the top of the lasagna even more.

a slice of lasagna on a plate with a fork

Have you checked out my NEW CBE PRODUCTS? Take a look at the 2-in-1 cutting and charcuterie board, gorgeous apron, and unique pasta server that you absolutely need. The wood products are all handmade in Salt Lake City, Utah. They make great gifts as well!

The BEST Lasagna Bolognese! Layers of flat lasagna noodles baked with alternating layers of Bolognese sauce, bechamel, and Parmigiano cheese.

💙 MADE THIS RECIPE AND LOVED IT? 💙 Please leave a ⭐️STAR rating and COMMENT below- I love connecting with you! Tag me with your creations on Instagram and find me on Pinterest.

Print
clock clock iconcutlery cutlery iconflag flag iconfolder folder iconinstagram instagram iconpinterest pinterest iconfacebook facebook iconprint print iconsquares squares iconheart heart iconheart solid heart solid icon
slice of lasagna on a plate

Classic Lasagna Bolognese with Bechamel Sauce

5 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars 2 Stars 1 Star

5 from 18 reviews

Lasagna Bolognese includes only fresh egg pasta, Bolognese ragù (slow-cooked meat sauce), creamy béchamel (white sauce) and plenty of grated Parmigiano cheese. The result is a melt in your mouth, creamy, decadent, and satisfying lasagna that is distinct to Italy. When you make this recipe you will feel like you are dining at an Italian trattoria on the streets of Italy. It is a recipe loved by all and bring me back to my home in Italy. This is the recipe I grew up eating at large tables filled with family, love, and laughter. I hope you love it as much as I do!

  • Total Time: 50 minutes
  • Yield: 68 servings 1x

Ingredients

Units Scale

Bechamel Sauce:

  • 3 tbsp butter unsalted
  • 3 tbsp all-purpose flour all purpose
  • 2 cups milk
  • 1 tablespoon of parmigiano
  • 1/8 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp salt or to taste

Instructions

  1.  Make the ragu sauce recipe and set aside (can be made days in advance and stored in fridge)
  2. Make the Bechamel Sauce (can be made days in advance and stored in fridge):  In a medium saucepan on low medium heat melt the butter.
  3. Whisk in the flour until well combined with butter. Keep whisking for about 2 to 3 minutes. Add the rest of ingredients: milk, nutmeg and salt and whisk everything together.
  4. Cook for another 5 minutes and keep whisking as it gets thicker. Add the parmigiano and stir to combine. You will know it is ready when it sticks to the back of the spoon. Turn off heat and set aside.* 
  5. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F
  6. Make the Bechamel Sauce (can be made days in advance and stored in fridge): Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cook the pasta (6 at a time for dried pasta) until they are tender but still underdone (they will finish cooking as the lasagna bakes).
  7. Set the al dente pasta noodles on a clean tea towels as you are layering the lasagna. Cover with another tea towel so the pasta doesn’t dry out or stick together.
  8. Grease a 9X13 rectangular baking dish with the olive oil, add a large dollop of ragu sauce and spread it around the bottom of the pan.
  9. Put a layer of lasagna pasta (use 4-5 depending on size) in the dish (you may need to cut any excess to make them fit) top with a layer of ragu sauce, one-third of the bechamel sauce, and one-third of the parmigiano cheese (use your fingers to spread it evenly).
  10. Season with salt and pepper if desired. Repeat this process until layers are complete ending with bechamel and cheese on top.
  11. Bake until the lasagna is bubbling and the cheese is melted and lightly browned on top, about 30-40 minutes. Remove from the oven and let rest a few minutes before serving, or cool completely, cover well, and refrigerate for up to 3 days, or freeze.

Notes

*Know your béchamel is done: A properly thickened roux should “coat the back of the spoon,” which means dip your spoon into the béchamel and then draw a finger through the coated spoon. Does the sauce wipe clean, leaving an open space? Then your béchamel is done and ready. 

  • Author: Elena Davis
  • Prep Time: 20 min
  • Cook Time: 30 min
  • Category: Savory
  • Method: Italian
  • Cuisine: Italian

You May Also Like

About Elena

My dream is to share delicious wholesome recipes that you will share around the table with all your loved ones. The memories surrounded by food are the heart and soul of CucinaByElena.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe rating 5 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars 2 Stars 1 Star

38 Comments

  1. We made this for the Super Bowl. It turned out incredible! It is definitely an authentic Italian recipe with the bechamel. If you are used to American lasagna with ricotta, you may find this recipe a bit different. I personally love the combination of creamy bechamel, with the veggies and ragù sauce. It’s not for everyone but the flavors take my back to Italy. Thank you Elena for sharing this recipe ❤️🇮🇹