This recipe is not your traditional ricotta based lasagna and it doesn’t even really resemble that dish. I am telling you though, it is the BEST lasagna I have ever had. I don’t even remember where this recipe came from, but after the first time I made it that was it. I never made the others again and this beef ragu and bechamel lasagna became our favorite.
This recipe starts with freshly made lasagna noodles, which I know sounds like way too much work. You can definitely use store bought noodles in this and it will still be so amazing. I love the texture of fresh pasta though and it just adds another element of enjoyment to this recipe. If you are willing to give making your own pasta a try, you will give your lasagna an extra boost.
The rest of the recipe is pretty simple. A slow cooked beef ragu made from ground beef, onions, carrots, celery, white wine and tomato sauce is slow cooked for 4 hours which gives a deep rich flavor to the sauce. A simple bechamel sauce. Grated parmesan cheese. There is no mozzarella in this, which sounds crazy, but trust me it works. Six layers of pasta, bechamel, ragu, parmesan, baked until cheesy and golden and delicious.
You can make the ragu a day ahead, which I usually do. It has even more flavor after sitting in the fridge overnight and that way you can make the lasagna without waiting 4 hours for the sauce first. 🙂 I served this with Caesar salad tonight.
Beef Ragu and Bechamel Lasagna
For the pasta:
- 5 eggs
- 16 oz high gluten flour 00 or bread flour work
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 2 tbsp olive oil
For the ragu:
- 3 tbsp olive oil
- 1/2 cup finely chopped onion
- 1/2 cup finely chopped carrot
- 1/2 cup finely chopped celery
- 1 lb ground beef
- 1 cup white wine
- 1 28 oz can crushed tomatoes
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 1 tsp onion powder
- salt and pepper to taste
For the bechamel:
- 3 oz butter
- 3 oz AP flour
- 1 quart whole milk
- pinch of ground nutmeg
- salt to taste
- 3 cups grated parmesan
Make the ragu:
- Heat the oil over medium heat in a stock pot or large sauce pan. Add the onion, celery, and carrots and cook until the vegetables are very tender. About 10 minutes. Add the beef and brown it, breaking it up with a wooden spoon. Once it is cooked, add the wine and allow to simmer until the pan is almost dry.
- Add the tomatoes and spices about a cup of water and allow to come to a boil then reduce to a low simmer. Season with salt and pepper. Allow to cook over very low heat, stirring every so often, about 4 hours until deep and rich. Add more water during cooking if needed to keep the pot from drying out.
Make the pasta:
- Mix the eggs, salt and oil with 2 tbsp of water and add the flour and mix with a dough hook until the dough is smooth and elastic.
- Divide the dough into thirds. Roll each sheet through a pasta machine starting at the largest setting and going one step thinner at each pass until the dough is medium thickness, cutting the long sheets into shorter ones as needed. Cut to lasagna noodle size (about 8 inches). Place the sheet on a lightly floured sheet pan, and roll the rest of the sheets.
Make the bechamel:
- In a sauce pan, melt the butter and whisk in the flour. Cook until the mixture is creamy and thickened, a minute or two. Whisk in the milk and add nutmeg. Cook over medium, stirring constantly until thickened enough to coat the back of a spoon. Season with salt.
To make the lasagna:
- Heat the oven to 300. Cook the pasta in boiling salted water until just tender. Drain and place into ice water to stop it cooking and sticking. Place a thin layer of bechamel into a 9×13 baking dish. Top with ragu and some parmesan. Then a layer of noodles. Repeat this 6 times ending with a layer of bechamel, ragu and cheese. Bake until it is hot in the center and cheese topping is golden brown, about 45 minutes. If it is getting browned too fast, cover the top with foil.
- Allow to cool for 10 minutes and then cut and serve.