Lasagna bolognese with béchamel

03.19.12

I love lasagna – layers upon layers of rich, decadent sauce, cheese, and pasta that offer up different flavors with each bite. What I don’t love about most lasagna is cooked ricotta cheese. It tastes like chalk when baked and is a colossal mistake when layered into one of the most savory comfort foods in the world. This lasagna recipe I’m sharing below is TO. DIE. FOR. It replaces this detestable baked cheese with sheets of fresh pasta, meaty ragú, nutmeg béchamel, and parmesan cheese. Pick your tongue up off your keyboard – stop drooling. This lasagna is the dish I had in mind when I started this blog, but I’ve been waiting for just the right moment to share the beloved recipe. Look no further – you’ve stumbled upon the world’s best lasagna recipe, adapted from Mario Batali’s kitchen.

It takes some dedication to make, but the result is more than worth it. It’s the first dish I ever made for Lucas back when we first started dating, and it’s surely the reason he’s in love with me now;) It is definitely his most frequently requested meal – it’s the dish that solidified for us that we would only eat fresh pasta in our house from that point forward. Whenever I’m about to head out of town, leaving Lucas at home to fend for himself, I usually freeze a tray of this lasagna for him. As delicious as it is fresh, it’s even better reheated from the freezer. I always make a large batch when I’m going to commit to this dish, and freeze the leftovers in pre-cut portions for a quick and cozy weeknight meal. Most of the people who live near me have experienced this lasagna at some point or another, and I’m sure can attest to its superiority over other ricotta cheese stuffed recipes.

I made this particular batch in preparation for the ski trip to Tahoe last weekend to share with a cabin full of friends. I doubled the recipe, and my kitchen was a disaster. It took me 3½ hours to put it all together because I had to keep stopping to wash dishes to clear space to continue – the perils of a pint-sized kitchen. Usually, Lucas takes care of the mid-meal dish wash, but he was in Taiwan AGAIN (that’s three trips in 6 weeks…). On top of that obstacle, the bowl of my food processor broke as I was dicing the vegetables for the mirepoix. SADFACE. It now sports a piece of duct tape around the base of the handle.

Since I didn’t have enough room in my tiny freezer for three large casserole dishes, I spent some time debating and researching whether it would be better to a) bake it immediately, store it in the refrigerator for three days all wrapped up tight, and then reheat it in the oven at the cabin, or b) leave it unbaked, store it in the fridge, and bake it up there. I chose option b, but failed to calculate altitude into my solution. It baked into more of a runny casserole than a sturdy layered slice of lasagna, and all of the oil had congealed at the surface. Everyone still said it was delicious, but they didn’t know any better – I knew. The contrasting flavors between the nutmeg and the thyme weren’t as prominent as the lasagna I’ve made over a dozen times before. For now I’ll blame the lack of pre-bake and altitude, because the small pan that I baked immediately to eat for dinner the night I made it turned out perfectly (as shown in the pictures). Oh well. Next time, I’ll bake it immediately and see if the result differs. For those of you at the cabin: I’ll have you all over to redeem myself with a freshly baked lasagna dinner soon.

More from Snixy Kitchen:

Shrimp scampi over fresh angel hair pasta
Quick chicken & Spanish chorizo paella
White bean soup with rosemary oil


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9 Comments

  1. AvocadoPesto says:

    Sounds delicious. Such a shame the altitude changing the finished product! I’d love to try this – I’ve only made the traditional ricotta lasagna (and a butternut squash mushroom lasagna with a bechamel sauce which is also absolutely amazing).

    • snixykitchen says:

      You should definitely try it – you’ll think, “why did ricotta ever get put in lasagna recipes to begin with?” Butternut squash & mushroom sounds super delicious too! I’ll have to try that next.

  2. Sheri says:

    The best lasagna hands-down!

  3. Veronica says:

    Is this the wonderful lasagna you made for us? It was delicious!

  4. Alison says:

    Any tips for freezing this to give as a gift? Cook before freezing? Thaw before reheating?

    • SnixyKitchen says:

      Based on my experience, I’d recommend baking it before freezing it. Then let it defrost overnight in the refrigerator before baking. Goodluck! What a nice gift:)

  5. Clarice says:

    This was literally the best lasagna I’ve eaten anywhere or made. Takes more time to prepare, but totally worth it! I rarely even comment on recipes, but this one deserves one. I don’t know if I could even go back to other lasagnas anymore.

    • SnixyKitchen says:

      What a sweet message! Thank you so much for letting me know you tried it and love it as much as I do. Now that I’m eating gluten-free, I really should try this again with some homemade rice noodles….Maybe I’ll put that on the agenda for next week:)

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