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Classic Lasagna - layers of silky smooth, creamy parmesan béchamel sauce, a slow simmered Bolognese meat sauce, sheets of pasta, and lots of mozzarella cheese make this the World’s Best Lasagna recipe.

Classic Lasagna Recipe


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5 from 31 reviews

  • Author: Kelly
  • Total Time: 4 hours 20 minutes
  • Yield: 12 1x

Description

Classic Lasagna - layers of silky smooth, creamy parmesan béchamel sauce, a slow simmered Bolognese meat sauce, sheets of pasta, and lots of mozzarella cheese make this the World’s Best Lasagna recipe.


Ingredients

Scale

For the Bolognese sauce:

  • 2 tablespoons (28g) butter
  • 2 tablespoons (25g) olive oil
  • 1 onion chopped
  • 1 celery stalk chopped
  • 1 carrot chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves (finely minced)
  • 1 ½ lbs (680g) ground beef
  • 1 cup (227g) whole milk, hot but not boiling
  • 28 oz can (794g) crushed tomatoes (or a can of San Marzano whole tomatoes, crushed)
  • 1/2 cup (113g) water
  • ½ teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 bouillon cube
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon red vinegar
  • Fresh basil (optional)

For the Béchamel

  • 4 tablespoons (57g) butter
  • 1/4 cup (35g) all-purpose flour
  • 3 1/2 cups (795g) milk
  • 1 cup (85g) freshly shredded parmesan
  • pinch of nutmeg
  • Salt and pepper to taste

To assemble the Lasagna:

  • Lasagna noodles:
  • Fresh pasta sheets to make 3 layers
  • OR 12-16 dried pasta noodles (enough to make 3 layers)
  • 16 ounces (454g) fresh mozzarella cheese, shredded
  • Optional garnish: 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh parsley

Instructions

Make the Bolognese sauce

  1. Chop the onion, carrot, and celery very fine. If it’s too big, it might not get soft enough in the sauce. I like to chop mine up in the food processor.
  2. Sauté the chopped onion, carrot, and celery in butter and olive oil until it is soft and golden. Add the garlic and sauté another minute.
  3. Add the ground beef and cook until brown, breaking it up into small pieces, and all of the liquid is absorbed.
  4. Pour in milk and let simmer until the liquid is absorbed. If I’m in a hurry, I skip this step, but it does mellow the flavor and add a silky texture to the sauce.
  5. Add the crushed tomatoes, 1/2 cup of water, Italian seasoning, bay leaf, bouillon cube, salt, pepper, sugar, and vinegar. Bring to a simmer. If I’m in a hurry, I allow it to simmer for about 30 minutes, however a long, slow 3 hour simmer is best if you have the time.
  6. When the ragu sauce is finished, it should be thick as shown in the pictures above. If it's too wet, it will be runny when it's sliced.
  7. Optional: stir in some chopped fresh basil when it’s done.

Make the Béchamel sauce

  1. Melt butter in a skillet over medium-high heat.
  2. Whisk in the flour until a smooth roux forms. Let cook about 30 seconds.
  3. Whisk in hot milk, and stir until the sauce thickens and can coat the back of a spoon.
  4. Take off the heat and whisk in parmesan until melted. Cover and set aside. If a skin forms on top, just stir it in before using, it will dissolve.
  5. Add pinch of nutmeg and salt and pepper to taste
  6. Soak the dried lasagna noodles
  7. If you’re using dried lasagna noodles, thirty minutes before assembling the lasagna, soak the noodles in hot tap water. Don’t let them soak longer than 30 minutes or they will become too soft, then become mushy in the baked lasagna.

How to Layer Lasagna

  1. Spread ¼ of the ragù sauce, about 2 cups, onto the bottom of a 9 by 13 inch baking dish.
  2. Top with a layer of lasagna noodles or fresh pasta sheets.
  3. Spread on ¼ of the ragù sauce, about 2 cups
  4. Spread on 1/3 of the béchamel sauce, about 1 1/3 cups
  5. Sprinkle with 1/3 of the mozzarella, about 1 1/3 cups
  6. Make 2 more layers:
  7. noodles, ¼ ragù, 1/3 béchamel, 1/3 mozzarella
  8. noodles, ¼ ragù, 1/3 béchamel, 1/3 mozzarella
  9. Cover the Lasagna with foil that has been sprayed with nonstick baking spray.
  10. If your Lasagna layers go up to the top of the pan, put in some sticks near the 4 corners of the dish. I use chopsticks that are broken in half. This will prevent the foil from touching the top layer of cheese.

Bake the Lasagna

  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees
  2. Cover the Lasagna with foil and bake for 20 minutes. After 20 minutes, remove the foil (and the sticks if using) and continue to bake for another 20-30 minutes until bubbly and the cheese on top starts to get brown spots.
  3. You can turn on the broiler for the last minute or two to get the browning you desire. Keep a close eye on it though!
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Cook Time: 4 hours
  • Category: Main Course, pasta
  • Method: oven
  • Cuisine: American, Italian