The “Perfect” Lasagna

The “Perfect” Lasagna
Serves:Active Time:Total Time:
8 to 1050 min150 min


For the Bolognese

  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil (45ml)
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter (30g)
  • 1 carrot, finely chopped
  • 1 celery rib, finely chopped
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • Kosher salt
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon red chili flakes (2g)
  • 1 6-ounce can tomato paste (170g)
  • 1 pound 90% lean ground beef (450g)
  • 1 pound ground pork (450g)
  • ¼ pound pancetta, ground or very finely chopped (110g)
  • 1 cup whole milk (240ml)
  • 1 cup dry white wine (240ml)
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh oregano (3g)

For the ricotta béchamel

  • 5 tablespoons unsalted butter (70g)
  • ¼ cup all-purpose flour (40g)
  • 3 cups whole milk, warmed (720ml)
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt (4g)
  • ½ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg (1g)
  • 1 15-ounce container ricotta cheese (425g)

For the assembly

  • Olive oil, for brushing
  • 1 pound dried lasagna noodles
  • 2 cups finely grated parmesan (200g)
  • 1 ½ cups grated mozzarella cheese (150g)
  • 2 tablespoons chopped Italian parsley


  • Heat the olive oil and butter in a large pot over medium-high heat.
  • Add the carrot, celery, and onion. Saute, stirring occasionally, until translucent, about 5 minutes.
  • Season with salt, add the garlic and chili flakes, and cook for an additional minute.
  • Add the tomato paste and cook, stirring constantly, until the tomato paste coats the bottom of the pan and turns a deep, brick red color, about 3 minutes.
  • Add the ground beef, ground pork, and pancetta. Cook until no longer pink, about 10 minutes.
  • As it cooks, season with salt and use a wooden spoon or spatula to smash the meat and break it into small bits.
  • Stir in the milk and wine, and bring to a simmer.
  • Add the oregano, cover, and reduce to the lowest temperature. Simmer for 1½ hours, stirring occasionally.
  • Remove from heat and skim most of the fat (not all of it, leave a little bit for flavor).
  • Season with more salt, if desired.
  • Make the ricotta béchamel while the bolognese simmers. Melt the butter in a medium pot over medium-low heat.
  • Add the flour and cook for 1 minute, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon or spatula.
  • In a steady stream, whisk in the milk. Bring to a simmer and cook on medium-low for 1 minute to thicken.
  • Stir in the salt and nutmeg and remove from heat.
  • Let cool for 15 minutes, then stir in the ricotta cheese. Season with more salt, if desired.
  • Heat the oven to 375°F and brush a 9x13 inch pan with olive oil.
  • Boil the lasagna noodles in a large pot of heavily salted water to just under al dente (usually about 1 minute less than the package’s instructions).
  • Drain and slick them with a little bit of olive oil to prevent sticking.
  • Spread ¾ cup of the ricotta béchamel on the bottom of the pan and top with a layer of noodles, with little to no overlap.
  • Spread another ¾ cup of béchamel on top of the noodles, then spread ¼ of the bolognese on top (about 1¼ cups).
  • Top with a liberal dusting of parmesan cheese (about ⅓ cup).
  • Top with another layer of noodles and repeat this layering process 4 more times, giving you 5 layers of pasta. You should have used the last of the bolognese on the 4th layer.
  • Top the final layer with the remaining béchamel, the remaining parmesan, and all of the mozzarella cheese.
  • Bake uncovered for 35-40 minutes, until the sauce bubbles up on the sides and the top is browned.
  • Let cool 15 minutes, sprinkle the chopped parsley on top, slice, and serve.

Note: Most conventional dried lasagna noodle packages have enough noodles to do 4 layers of 4 noodles. Since OUR lasagna is 5 layers, use a knife or kitchen shears to cut 3 of the noodles in half. Use the halves in lieu of a full sheet, giving each layer of the lasagna 3½ noodles instead of 4.