This comprehensive video, from Cooking with Sugar (her name, not the ingredient!), takes you step by step through the process of making lasagna using a homemade Bolognese sauce. While the lengthy process may be daunting at first, maybe even a bit intimidating, Sugar breaks it down into straight forward, manageable tasks. The final result is definitely worth the extra effort! My recommendation is to make enough for two pans of lasagna and freeze the second pan for another time. The time you save in simply reheating the second meal evens out the time and effort of the first. Rich, delicious and a real crowd favorite, lasagna with Bolognese sauce is worth mastering! If the lasagna is too time consuming, try my recipe for Fettuccini with Bolognese sauce instead!
For best results, gather all your ingredients ahead of time. Make sure you have everything you need before you begin. Then, while the sauce is simmering, go ahead and prepare the cheese filling and set it aside. You can also make the lasagna noodles ahead. Undercook them by a couple minutes as they will continue to cook in the oven. Run them under tepid water to make them cool enough to work with. Drain well. Place them in a shallow dish and drizzle them with a tiny bit of olive oil making sure to hit both sides. Use your fingers to spread the oil evenly. This will prevent them from sticking together as they cool and make the assembly go smoothly. Don't worry about broken lasagna noodles. Just save a few "pretty" ones for the top layer. Remember that no one sees the inside layers of the dish and it will taste great either way!
Homemade Lasagna with Bolognese Sauce (from the video)
Prep Time: 1 hour, 30 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour
Total Time: 2 hours, 30 minutes
Yield: serves 12-15
This classic homemade lasagna with Bolognese sauce uses ground beef, ground veal, pork sausage and red wine to create the rich, meaty tomato sauce. A filling of ricotta with eggs, Parmesan cheese and fresh herbs keeps it light but luscious. The sauce has a lot of ingredients but it's very straight forward to make. Cook the lasagna noodles al dente and mix your cheese filling while the sauce simmers and then set aside. Then just assemble the layers, bake and enjoy. True Italian comfort food everyone will love!
1 lb. ground beef
1 lb. ground veal
1 lb. pork sausage, removed from casing
2 cans (28 oz.) crushed tomatoes (large cans)
1 can (6 oz.) tomato paste (small can)
2 cups beef stock
2 tbsp. olive oil
1 cup red wine
large handful fresh parsley (rough chopped, small chop for ricotta filling)
large handful fresh basil (tear the leaves gently)
16 oz. mozzarella cheese (medium bag or large block, grated)
1 cup Parmesan cheese (1/2 cup for lasagna, 1/2 cup for filling)
a little bit of sugar (optional)
1 medium carrot
1 medium celery stalk
2 dried bay leaves
2-4 cloves of garlic
1 large white onion
fresh ground pepper
1 box dry lasagna noodles (1 lb.)
Peel and chop the garlic by hand. Chop the carrot, celery and onion in a food processor or mini chopper to get nice small pieces. Add 2 tablespoons of olive oil to a medium sauce pan. (Sugar uses a dutch oven but any heavy pan will work). Heat the oil (it should be hot but not smoking) and add the sausage. Break up the sausage meat with a wooden spoon and cook until brown, stirring occasionally to keep it from sticking. Add the beef and veal and brown those as well. Season generously with salt and pepper. Break the meat up as it cooks but keep it pretty chunky.
Add the garlic, onions, carrot and celery to the meat and mix. Season as you go. Get the mixture nice and hot (a fast simmer).
Add the wine once the mixture is hot. Mix in well, scraping up the brown bits from the bottom of the pan, and simmer for a minute or two to cook off the alcohol.
Turn the heat down and add the beef stock. Add the crushed tomatoes and tomato paste. Add the sugar to balance out the acid (optional...taste first to see if needed).
Add the fresh basil, fresh parsley and bay leaves. Blend and simmer for an hour or so, uncovered, stirring occasionally until the sauce has thickened.
While your sauce is cooking, bring a large pot of water to a rolling boil (at least 4 quarts or liters for each pound of pasta). Add a large handful of salt (2 tbsp) to flavor the noodles. Cook noodles al dente...about 5 minutes ONLY! They will continue to cook in the oven so do not overcook them.
Drain the noodles and rinse them gently with cool water so you can handle them. Transfer the noodles to a long dish, drizzle with a bit of olive oil and rub gently so they don't stick together while you work.
FOR THE FILLING:
Combine the ricotta, 2 eggs, parmesan cheese (1/2 cup) and fresh parsley (1/2 cup).
Season lightly and mix until well incorporated.
Spray a 9 x 13 baking dish with cooking spray.
Add a layer of sauce to the bottom. Add a layer of noodles, overlapping the edges like roofing shingles. Add a layer of ricotta and carefully smooth it out using the back of the spoon. (Use a torn noodle to fill in any space on the side.) Sprinkle with a light layer of Parmesan cheese and then a layer of grated mozzarella.
Repeat the process for the second layer but place the noodles across the dish. Tear the noodles to fit as needed. Add a layer of sauce, then filling, then cheeses as before. The next layer starts with the noodles running lengthwise again, overlapping as before. Add sauce, filling, and cheeses.
The last layer has just noodles, sauce and a bit of Parmesan cheese.
Cover tightly with tin foil and bake in a 350 degree oven for about 30-40 minutes until hot and bubbly.
Remove the foil and add the remaining mozzarella. Put it back in the oven for about 15 minutes, uncovered, to melt and brown the cheese on the top.
Remove from the oven and allow it to sit for about 15 minutes before serving.
Recipe may be made ahead. Lasagna may be frozen. If making ahead, assemble the lasagna and put the foil-covered pan in the fridge. Take it out 30 minutes before cooking. Bake as directed. If freezing, put the foil-covered lasagna directly in the freezer. Take it out an hour before cooking, then bake for 40 minutes until hot and bubbly. Remove the foil, add some grated mozzarella cheese and bake uncovered for 15 minutes until the cheese is melted, brown and bubbly. Allow to sit for 15 minutes before serving. Any extra Bolognese sauce can be stored in the fridge for up to a week or frozen in an airtight container for up to 3 months. The sauce is great over spaghetti, linguini, fettuccini, or smaller shapes like bow ties, fusilli or shells that have nooks and crannies.