There’s nothing like a good cooking project to take your mind off of whatever is causing you stress. Since there are a lot of stress inducing things out there these days – a global pandemic, a struggling economy, murder hornets, to name a few that are top of mind – I’ve found myself in the kitchen a lot! One of my favorite recent kitchen endeavors has been Lasagna Bolognese made entirely from scratch. It took the better part of a day, which was perfect, because when you’re elbow deep in fresh pasta dough or furiously whisking béchamel sauce, there’s no time to worry about anything but the task at hand. Plus, at the end of the day, we got to enjoy a delicious, hearty dinner that brought back fond memories of our time spent in Italy.
What is Lasagna Bolognese?
In the US, lasagna is typically comprised of noodles, ricotta, a tomato based sauce, and a mountain of mozzarella. It’s essentially a somewhat bastardized version of Neapolitan lasagna. While tasty, I much prefer the version of lasagna found in Bologna and the surrounding regions which is made up of thin sheets of fresh pasta, ragù bolognese (a slow cooked meat sauce), and besciamella (the Italian version of béchamel). The resulting dish is rich and flavorful without being overly heavy.
To learn more about the long and storied history of lasagna, check out this post on The Pasta Project blog.
How to Make Lasagna Bolognese
As I mentioned, this lasagna is not a quick weeknight meal. It’s a bit of a project, and for that reason, I’m going to break down the recipe into three parts (four if you count this intro post) – the ragù, the pasta, and the besciamella (this post will also include assembly instructions). Each will be a useful recipe in its own right that can be used in a variety of ways, and of course they can be combined to make the ultimate lasagna feast. Both the ragù and the pasta can be made in advance and frozen, so if you don’t want to tackle this all in one day, you can cook each recipe as it is posted.
What to Serve with Lasagna Bolognese
This is a rich and hearty dish, so I love to serve it with a bracingly acidic salad. One of my favorites is this Tuscan Kale Caesar Slaw from Bon Appetit. Since the lasagna has plenty of carbs, meat, and dairy, that’s really the only addition you need for an excellent meal! Except for wine of course…
What to Drink with Lasagna Bolognese
When it comes to wine pairing for lasagna Bolognese, you can’t go wrong with a good Chianti Classico, a Rosso di Montalcino, or, if it’s a special occasion, a Brunello. These sangiovese based wines have enough acid and tannin to stand up to the fat in lasagna. Plus, they are all from regions near Bologna, so they’ll help you feel like you’re in a lovely little Bolognese osteria (instead of on your couch rewatching Game of Thrones. Oh, is that just me?).
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Chelsea is one third of the Euro Travel Coach team (and is the daughter of the other two thirds of the team, Greg and Betsy). She has a passion for food and wine and has a background in hospitality. She attended Cornell University’s School of Hotel Administration and interned with two of New York City’s best restaurant groups while she was in school. After graduation she worked at the number one wine auction house in the United States, Chicago’s Hart Davis Hart Wine Co. There, she organized various wine centric events for HDH’s most valuable clients. She and her husband moved to Copenhagen, Denmark in 2016 and then to Bristol, UK in 2018 and have traveled extensively during their time living in Europe. Her expertise in food and wine and her experience living abroad helps her to find amazing accommodations, delicious restaurants, and unique experiences for Euro Travel Coach clients.
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