Lasagna Bolognese Recipe

One of the best Italian dishes to perfect and keep in your back pocket is a hearty bolognese sauce, and if you’re even in need of a more-filling dish that incorporates that Italian classic, then look no further than Food52’s delicious recipefor an expertly-crafted lasagna bolognese dish.

Ingredients for the lasagna bolognese sauce

5 fresh basil leaves

⅔ cup of extra virgin Italian olive oil

3 cloves of garlic (2 peeled and smashed; 1 finely-chopped)

2 teaspoons of crushed red pepper (optional)

8 cups of crushed tomatoes

2 cups of water

2 tablespoons of tomato paste

1 teaspoon of kosher salt

1 teaspoon of freshly ground black pepper

1 tablespoon chopped basil

1 small onion (finely-chopped)

¼ pound of pancetta (finely-chopped)

1 pound organic ground beef (93% lean)

½ cup of nice red wine

1 bay leaf

½ cup of mascarpone cheese

Ingredients for lasagna bolognese

4 cups of bolognese sauce

¼ cup of butter

¼ cup of all-purpose flour

3 cups organic dairy milk (warmed)

9 sheets of lasagna (typically one package)

2 cups grated Parmigiano cheese (half grated)

Fresh mozzarella (sliced)


  1. When beginning the bolognese (red) sauce, combine your olive oil, basil leaves, and garlic in a small saucepan. If you prefer a spicy sauce, this is when you can add the crushed red pepper flakes. Let the saucepan simmer on very low heat for 10 to 15 minutes. This process is known as steeping, and it allows the olive oil to become quite fragrant. Be careful that the garlic inside the pot is toasted brown and not black; once it is, remove it from the heat and strain the aromatics, saving your olive oil, setting it aside.
  2. Either in a Dutch Oven or large pot, pour in your tomato sauce, water, tomato paste, salt, and pepper. Afterward, pour in your remaining olive oil into the sauce and mix it together to combine. Bring it to a boil and immediately reduce it to a simmer. Partially cover the pot, allowing the sauce to simmer for at least 45 minutes and at maximum 2 hours. As accomplished chefs can attest, the longer it cooks, the better the final product tastes.
  3. Though this recipe yields approximately 8 cups, you’ll only need 4 to make the actual bolognese. To make it, heat the olive oil in a large sauté pan and brown your pancetta until it’s crisp. Add in your onion and garlic, maintain a low heat, and cook until the onions and garlic are translucent. During this step, keep a watchful eye and be sure not to brown them.
  4. Now, increase your heat to medium-high and add the ground beef. Break the pieces apart with the sides of awooden cooking spoon, incorporating the onions and garlic as you do so. Allow the meat to brown until it’s almost cooked through and all the excess liquid has evaporated.
  5. Using your small amount of red wine, deglaze the pan and let the pan cook until the m is aromatic and the wine is reduced by half. Afterward, add 4 cups of red sauce and your bay leaf to the pan, reduce the heat to a simmer, and cover it. Simmer this for 1 ½ hours until the sauce has become very thick. After 90 minutes, remove the sauce from the heat, add mascarpone cheese, and mix it all together to melt it completely and create a slightly pink hue.
  6. When making your lasagna, preheat the oven to 350°F as you make your “besciamella sauce.” In a large pot, melt your butter and then add flour, whisking until a light brown roux forms. Slowly add your warmed milk afterward and whisk the mixture constantly until you create a thick sauce that is able to coat the back of a spoon. Add 1 cup freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese to the sauce, and then gently combine it with the bolognese sauce.
  7. In a large lasagna pan (suggested size is 9 x 13-inch), add a single layer of your sauce, followed by 3 lasagna sheets. Cover the layers with more meat sauce, and continue this process until all sheets are used. The top layer should be a very thick layer of sauce. Grate additional Parmigiano on top, cover with foil, and bake it in the oven for 30 minutes.
  8. Afterward, you have the option to add some fresh mozzarella and place it under the broiler for an additional five minutes or simply sprinkle some more Parmigiano on top before serving.

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