Do you know anyone who doesn’t enjoy the best classic lasagna bolognese? This is one of those recipes that appeals to everyone. It features a rich ragù, lovely pasta, flavorful cheese, and homemade béchamel sauce – the elements that come together to create a truly unique meal.
The recipe for a simple Italian lasagna is a great idea for a Saturday or Sunday lunch. If you’re wondering what to prepare over the weekend to please the whole family, you’ve come to the right place.
I love recipes that can satisfy a crowd of hungry people. Whenever my family comes to visit, lasagna bolognese is a must-have centerpiece on the table.
How to make homemade lasagne
The foundation, of course, is the ragù, or meat sauce. There are various ways to make an excellent ragù for the best classic lasagna. To start with, you need to select quality meat. You have several options, but the most common choice is ground beef.
However, don’t hesitate to visit the butcher shop and pick up a beef brisket, for example. It’s quite popular for meat sauce because it beautifully tenderizes during longer cooking, imparting the sauce with a rich, deep flavor. After cooking, you can easily shred it with a fork.
Ground beef works wonderfully for a simple lasagna. If you can find Italian sausages, consider combining them with your ground beef.
But if you want to stick with ground meat, add some ground pork to the beef; it will add excellent juiciness to the sauce. A good ratio to aim for is 650 grams of beef and 350 grams of pork.
Some people also like to include pancetta, which can be cut into small cubes and added after sautéing the onions.
Béchamel or Ricotta Cheese?
Traditional Italian lasagna calls for a béchamel sauce. However, that doesn’t mean you always have to use it in your recipe. Sometimes, I like to switch it up. Mostly, I make béchamel for the classic lasagna, and sometimes I prepare a mixture of ricotta cheese, egg, and fresh parsley.
To make béchamel sauce, melt butter in a saucepan and add flour. As soon as the mixture thickens, gradually add milk while stirring. Finally, add salt, pepper, nutmeg, and possibly Parmesan cheese.
For lasagna with ricotta, simply combine ricotta cheese, egg, and finely chopped parsley in a bowl. Season with salt and pepper and add a bit of Parmesan.
I find the second option much easier and perhaps healthier. I think ricotta works perfectly for warm summer weather, while béchamel suits me better during the winter months. Try both versions and let me know which one you prefer.
Give this tasty Shepherd’s Pie recipe a try as well!
How to Assemble Classic Homemade Lasagna
Make sure you have a large enough baking dish. For this recipe, I typically use a baking dish measuring approximately 12 x 8 x 3 inches, which is about 30 cm x 20 cm x 8 cm in metric measurements.
Begin by spreading a layer of meat sauce on the bottom. Then layer the lasagna noodles to cover the entire surface (use high-quality noodles that you can soak in hot water for a while).
Next, spread another layer of ragout and béchamel sauce (or ricotta). Add pieces of mozzarella and sprinkle freshly grated Parmesan cheese. Repeat this process until the dish is filled. It should go like this: Meat sauce (to start with) – Lasagna – Meat sauce – Béchamel – Mozzarella + Parmesan.
After baking for approximately 40 minutes, remember to remove the foil to ensure the top becomes nice and crispy. Once the lasagna is done, let it rest for at least 15 minutes to allow it to thicken. This is, without a doubt, the trickiest step of the whole recipe, as your eager eaters will surely be tempted to dive in right away!
Tips for the best classic Lasagna:
- Don’t forget to include a combination of onions, celery stalks, and carrots in your meat sauce. The smaller you dice the vegetables, the better.
- Using freshly grated Parmesan cheese guarantees exceptional taste and consistency. If possible, buy a whole Parmesan cheese and grate it just before use. If you have leftovers, consider using it in recipes like creamy salmon tagliatelle, spaghetti carbonara, or a creamy mushroom risotto.
- Your ragù should be thick enough to maintain the desired consistency in your best homemade lasagne.
- If you have the time, feel free to let it simmer for 3 to 4 hours.
- The classic lasagna can be served with fresh basil or parsley as a garnish.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) for Classic Homemade Lasagna:
Is it possible to make lasagna without meat?
Definitely! Crafting a delightful vegetarian lasagna is easily achievable by substituting ingredients such as sautéed mushrooms, spinach, zucchini, or eggplant for meat. Furthermore, you can introduce various cheeses to elevate the overall flavor.
Can I use no-boil lasagna noodles for a classic beef lasagne recipe?
Yes, you can opt for no-boil lasagna noodles to streamline the preparation process. Ensure that your meat sauce retains sufficient moisture to cook the noodles during baking, or consider softening them beforehand by soaking them in hot water before layering.
Can I prepare lasagna ahead of time?
Certainly, lasagna is an ideal make-ahead dish. You have the option to assemble it and refrigerate it for up to 24 hours before baking. Alternatively, you can freeze it for an extended period, but ensure thorough thawing in the refrigerator before baking.
What complements the best classic lasagna well?
Classic lasagna pairs wonderfully with a fresh garden salad and garlic bread. For a well-rounded meal, consider serving it with steamed vegetables or a side of roasted asparagus.
Can I prepare homemade lasagne without using pork in the meat sauce?
Certainly, pork can be omitted from the meat sauce. You can replace it with ground chicken, turkey, or even opt for a meatless alternative such as lentils.
Can I incorporate vegetables into classic lasagna?
Absolutely! Enhance the nutritional content of your lasagna by layering vegetables like spinach, mushrooms, bell peppers, or thinly sliced zucchini between the traditional layers.
How can I prevent my lasagna from becoming too watery?
To prevent excess moisture, ensure that your meat sauce maintains the right consistency, avoiding excessive liquid. Additionally, drain any surplus liquid from the ricotta cheese or vegetables. Allowing the lasagna to rest for approximately 15 minutes after baking will aid in setting and thickening the dish.