Beef lasagna is without a doubt one of the ultimate comfort foods. A rich meat sauce, creamy Bechemel, and plenty of cheese makes this lasagne alla Bolognese recipe really hit the spot! (It’s also great for sharing.)
Sofrito & Meat Sauce
- 1 large onion
- 2 celery stalks
- 1 small carrot
- 1 kg ground beef (not super lean)
- 1 cup apple cider vinegar (or white wine, or water)
- 650 ml tomato puree (aka. tomato passata)
- 28 oz peeled tomatoes, pureed
- 1 litre milk, full-fat (about 4 1/5 cups)
- 50g all-purpose flour (about 1/3 cup)
- 80g unsalted butter (about 1/3 cup)
- A pinch of ground nutmeg
- A pinch of salt
- Lasagne sheets, oven-ready/cooked (approximately 15 sheets)
- ¼ cup Parmigiano Reggiano
- ¾ cup Mozzarella
- Butter, softened or melted
Prepare the soffritto
- Using a blender or food processor, chop up the onion, celery stalks, and carrot. (You can do this by hand too.)
- Cook the chopped soffritto in a generous amount of olive oil, using a large heavy-bottomed pan over low heat. Keep the lid on, removing it only to stir the mixture on occasion. If you notice browning taking place immediately, then ensure to reduce the heat. The longer you can cook this the better, but 30 minutes is generally sufficient for a deep flavour and some colour to develop.
Prepare the meat sauce
- Add the ground beef to the soffritto, and cook over medium heat. Stir regularly to break up the meat, and allow for it to be cooked through (as well as sweat out the liquid in the beef).
- Once the liquids in the beef have been cooked off (evaporated!), add apple cider vinegar, and cook it off. Add passata, the pureed tomatoes, and season to taste.
- Cook over 4-5 hours on low heat, and the lid not fully closed.
Prepare the bechamel
- In a pot over medium-low heat, cook butter and flour together in order to form a roux.
- Whisk in the milk, stirring consistently for around 10 minutes, until the roux thickens. Season with just a touch of nutmeg and salt.
Assembling your beef lasagna
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
- Brush the bottom and sides of your large baking dish with butter. Cover the bottom with a thin layer of sauce. Add a little béchamel and sprinkle on around 1 ½ tablespoons of Parmigiano Reggiano. Cover with the first layer of pasta.
- Add sauce, béchamel, Parmigiano (about 1 ½ tablespoons per layer), and mozzarella (I casually dollop 6-8 tablespoons of mozzarella each layer). Cover with another layer of pasta. Repeat until the dish is almost filled to the top – around 5 layers for me (depending on your baking dish, it may be different).
- Top the lasagne with sauce, béchamel, Parmigiano and mozzarella.
- Bake for 45-60 minutes. Share with someone you care about. Watch them fall in love with you.
It’s worth pointing out that I usually work on this recipe using weight and volume, and for this recipe – I’ve left some of these measurements unconverted because I think it’ll be easier for you to work with. (For example, I think it’s easier to buy 1kg (or 2.2 lbs) of ground beef, than it is to buy approximately 4 ¾ cups of ground beef. Or, in the case of tomato passata, I’ve used 650ml instead of cups because that’s usually the size of the bottles!)
(Fun Fact: I grew up in Europe where that’s the standard way of doing things. So, most of my recipes are converted from that to the standard cup measurements you usually see on the site.)
When preparing the meat sauce
- Don’t worry about browning the beef, the main aim is to make sure it’s fully cooked through.
- I know, I know…4-5 hours of slow cooking. Snooze fest. You can reduce this time to 2 hours, but 4-5 hours is optimal. (Or you can use a good store-bought ragu…)
- When adding the pasta layers, don’t be afraid to cut up those pasta sheets to fit your baking dish.
- If your pasta edges out of the sides of the baking dish, that’s totally fine. Crispy edges are loved by all. (Okay, I’m not sure. But crispy edges are loved by Riz.)
- The number of lasagna sheets you need will depend on the shape and size of your baking dish. I used about 15 sheets, but this may vary so prepare accordingly! Note: I used a 9×13-inch Pyrex baking dish.
- I’ll be completely honest with you, bestie. When I make this recipe at home, I never actually measure out the amount of cheese or sauce used for each layer. I grab a tablespoon, put on a playlist full of traditional Italian music, and eyeball it. And I think you should do the same. If you want your lasagna to be extra cheesy, use a bit more Parmigiano Reggiano (but note that it will also bring more of that tangy flavour); if you want more cheese pulls, add a few more dollops of mozzarella; and if you want more sauciness, add more of your meat sauce (but know that it may ‘drown’ your lasagna a little in the baking stage).
- Category: Main Course
- Method: Baking
- Cuisine: Italian
Keywords: lasagna, lasagne, beef lasagna, lasagne alla bolognese