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Lasagna Bolognese with Fresh Pasta and Béchamel Sauce

This lasagna is layered with freshly made pasta sheets, flavor-packed bolognese sauce, and a ricotta cheese and spinach mixture. Then it's topped with a cheesy béchamel sauce, and baked to golden-brown perfection. So good.

Prep Time 1 hour 40 minutes
Cook Time 4 hours 10 minutes
Total Time 5 hours 50 minutes

Ingredients

For the bolognese sauce:

  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 4 carrots diced
  • 1 yellow onion diced
  • 3 celery stalks diced
  • 4 cloves garlic left whole, smashed to release flavors, peeled
  • salt to taste
  • black pepper to taste
  • red pepper flakes to taste
  • 1.5 pounds ground beef 80% lean
  • 1 pound ground pork 90% lean
  • 2 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1.5 cups Chianti Classico red wine
  • 2 28-oz. cans San Marzano tomatoes whole-peeled and puréed
  • 1 cup beef broth or water
  • 1 parmesan (or pecorino) cheese rind
  • 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1/2 tsp black truffle oil
  • 1/2 tsp white granulated sugar

For the fresh pasta sheets:

  • 3 cups "00" flour
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tsp salt

For the ricotta-spinach filling:

  • 2 cups ricotta cheese
  • 1 10-oz. package frozen spinach defrosted, water removed
  • 1/2 cup parmesan cheese grated
  • 1 egg
  • 1 pinch nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper freshly cracked

For the béchamel sauce:

  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 1 tbsp all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups milk
  • 1 cup mozzarella cheese grated

Other ingredients:

  • 3 cups mozzarella cheese grated

Instructions

For the bolognese sauce (make one day ahead):

  1. Heat your Dutch oven on the stove over medium-high heat. Add in olive oil. Once oil is hot enough, add in carrots, onion, celery, whole smashed garlic cloves, salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes. Stir frequently until onions are translucent.

  2. Add in ground beef and ground pork. Season the meat with salt and pepper. Stir and break up the meat into small chunks.
  3. When the meat is lightly browned, add in tomato paste, continue stirring, and cook down tomato paste for two minutes.
  4. Add in wine. Stir in and scrape up all the browned bits from the Dutch oven. Let wine cook down for two minutes
  5. Next, stir in San Marzano tomatoes, beef broth, and cheese rind. Season more with salt, pepper, and red hot pepper flakes.
  6. Bring to a boil, lower the heat, cover, and simmer for 3 hours.

  7. Remove the cheese rind and whole garlic cloves.

  8. Stir in balsamic vinegar, sugar, and black truffle oil. Season with more salt and pepper to taste.

For the fresh pasta sheets:

  1. In your mixer bowl, add in the "00" flour and create a well in the middle with your hand. Crack eggs into the well, along with salt and extra virgin olive oil.

  2. Attach the paddle to your mixer and set it to the lowest speed. Mix until the ingredients incorporate and the dough comes together into small, sticky clumps.

  3. Gently knead the dough with your hands for about 10 minutes, until smooth. Add flour to your work surface as needed, to ensure your dough does not stick

  4. Form the dough into a ball and tightly wrap in plastic wrap. Place in the refrigerator to chill for 15 minutes.

  5. Remove the dough from the refrigerator and cut it into three even pieces.

  6. Replace the mixer paddle with the pasta roller. Set the mixer to the lowest speed. Run each piece of dough through the pasta roller. Start with setting #1 -- the widest setting -- and continue the process through setting #8 -- the thinnest setting -- until you've rolled out all the dough into pasta sheets for lasagna.

For the ricotta-spinach filling:

  1. Defrost frozen spinach, and squeeze all of the excess water from the spinach with your hands.

  2. In a bowl, mix together the ricotta, spinach, parmesan, egg, nutmeg, and black pepper, and set it aside. 

For the béchamel sauce:

  1. In a pan over medium heat, melt the butter, and then whisk in the flour. Continue whisking for one minute. 

  2. Add in a few drops of milk, and whisk. Continue adding in milk, a little at a time, whisking all the while. If any lumps form, just keep whisking. 

  3. Bring the sauce to a boil, and continue whisking. Boil for 2-3 minutes.

  4. Stir in the mozzarella cheese.

To make the lasagna:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

  2. In a lasagna baking dish, smooth a small spoonful of bolognese sauce over the bottom of the pan. 

  3. Add one layer of pasta sheets. Add a thin layer of the ricotta spinach mixture. Add a sprinkling of mozzarella cheese. Cover the cheese with bolognese sauce.
  4. Repeat this pattern until the pan almost full to the top, ending with the bolognese sauce. Gently pour the béchamel sauce over the top of the lasagna and sprinkle on a bit more mozzarella. 

  5. Bake for about 40 minutes, until the top of the lasagna is bubbling and is golden-brown.

Recipe Notes

For assembling the lasagna:

For the fresh pasta:

For the bolognese sauce: