Lasagna with Ragu Bolognese

I love lasagna. Seriously, LOVE it. When I was a kid, it was my favorite thing my mom made. Granted, her lasagna was not authentic, gourmet, or healthy- it was more like this:
Cheesey (yes, even cottage cheesey), bubbly, comforting.
Well, I married a bit of an Italian food snob (not just a bit, actually) and apparently, lasagna with cottage cheese, powdery Parmasan cheese and cheddar cheese is not “authentic”. Whaaat?!! What’s that about? So when we were first married, I came across this recipe from Martha Stewart Living for a lasagna with Ragu Bolognese.
There’s three parts to the lasagna: the ragu:
 Bechamel:
 the lasagna noodles and some Parmigiana Reggiano
This recipe takes a while to prepare, but it’s so worth it. I sometimes double the recipe and make an extra to freeze.  It won a “pretty authentic” from my husband, too!
adapted from Martha Stewart Living
serves 10-12
Makes about 3 quarts.
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 onions, cut into 1/4-inch dice
  • 3 stalks celery, cut into 1/4-inch dice
  • 3 carrots, cut into 1/4-inch dice
  • 2 pounds ground sirloin
  • 2 pounds ground veal
  • 1 quart whole milk
  • 1 quart Homemade Beef Stock, or two 14 1/2 -ounce cans
  • 1 cup tomato paste
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons coarse salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  1. In a large cast-iron or enamel pot, heat butter and olive oil over medium heat.
  2. Add onions, and cook until they begin to soften, about 5 minutes. Add celery and carrots, and cook until the vegetables are tender, 8 to 10 minutes. Add ground sirloin and veal, and cook, stirring occasionally, until the meat is no longer pink. Add milk, and cook at a gentle simmer, skimming fat from surface, until the liquid has reduced by half, about 50 minutes.
  3. Add beef stock, tomato paste, salt, and pepper; simmer gently until sauce thickens, 40 to 45 minutes. If using for lasagna, set aside to cool slightly before assembling. The sauce can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days, or in the freezer for 2 months.
 Bechamel
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into small pieces, plus more for baking dish
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • Pinch freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1 cup milk
To assemble
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 3/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, cut into small pieces, plus more for baking dish
  1. Make the Bechamel Sauce: In a small saucepan, combine butter and flour. Stir in nutmeg, and season with salt and pepper. Place over medium heat and stir in milk. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low, and continue cooking until the mixture begins to thicken, about 2 minutes. Remove from heat, and set aside.
  2. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Lightly butter a 13-by-9-inch baking dish. Spoon a little of the meat sauce into the bottom of the prepared baking dish, and spread to coat. Then, layer with lasagna sheets, one-sixth of the bechamel sauce, one-sixth of the meat sauce, and a little Parmesan. Repeat the layers five more times. Top with remaining Parmesan and pieces of butter. Bake until cheese begins to turn golden brown, 30 to 45 minutes. Serve warm.
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