Lasagna alla bolognese – the original Italian recipe
The real Lasagna, the liver makes the authentic difference.
Whenever you had a homemade lasagna, you had the feeling that something is missing in the taste to meet the real version that you had in Italy. And you are probably right, there IS a secret ingredient. But first, let’s check where the lasagna comes from. The latin word lasanum means cooking pot, and describes the pots that lasagna was cooked in. The layered pasta was separated with almonds milk or broth. Later, after 1500 bC (Christopher Columbus brought the tomato to Europe) cooked with tomato and meat sauce, the bolognese. The bolognese is said to be invented in Bologna, the northern Italian city in the area of Emilia Romana. Due to this closeness, Spaghetti Bolognese and Lasagna alla Bolognese also quickly became common and favorite pasta dishes in the alpine regions. The secret ingredient to make it really taste Italian is a little bit of chicken or calf liver and dry white wine. Liver was first mentioned in original Italian Bolognese sauces in 1891.
Lasagna variations and its sister
Over the centuries, the lasagna was cooked with many different vegetables, sauces, wines and cheeses. In April, when the asparagus time comes, we will also unveil the secrets of our favorite Asparagus Lasagna. But still, all lasagna versions have the same basic dough as pasta component. And it is the same dough that is used for the slimmer cut version of all northern Italian pasta variants like Pappardelle, Tagliatelle, Bavette, Fettuccini, Linguine and more. You can find our basic pasta dough recipes (including gluten free versions) here: Pasta basic dough recipes.
The sister of the lasagna is the Vincisgrassi, a layered casserole with layered pasta platters, calf meat, sweetbreads or calf brain and chicken meat. It is an aromatic dish of kitchen leftovers and can also clearly compete with the lasagna versions, since it gets its flavours from the long cooking process of the sauce. The dough is made with dessert wine and the meat sauce carries a cinnamon note.
Lasagna alla bolognese for four persons
Lasagna alla bolognese
- 150 gr dry or 500 gr fresh lasagna platters
- 500 gr fresh ground beef
- 800 gr sieved tomatoes
- 2 carrots
- 1 onion
- 1 clove of garlic
- 2 tea spoon dried oregano
- 500 ml milk
- 40 gr flour
- 50 gr butter
- a bit nutmeg
- 100 gr Parmesan cheese
- Salt&Pepper olive oil
- 50-80 grams of chicken liver alternative calf liver
- 300 ml dry white wine
- optional a pinch of cinnamon
- Start by peeling and chopping the carrots, onion and garlic in very small pieces.
- Roast the minced beef and chicken liver with olive oil, salt and pepper and add the cut vegetables at the end. Roast for a few more minutes, then add the sieved tomatoes, the white wine and cook on low flame for 15-20 minutes. At the end, add the orgegano and optionally some cinnamon.
- For the bechamel sauce, heat the butter in a pot, mix it with the flour and pour in the milk. Add nutmeg and salt and cook the sauce until it thickens, around 5-8 minutes. If it gets too thick, add some milk.
- Take a csserole form and cover the bottom with a bit olive oil or the tomato ragou. Place the pasta layers on this and cover them with tomato ragou and then some bechamel sauce. Place another layer of pasta on it and repeat the above step.
- The final layer of pasta is only covered with bechamel sauce. Then ground some fresh parmesan cheese on top and put the casserole into the oven at 180 degrees for arount 25 minutes.
- When the top layer with pasta and bechamel sauce gets golden-brown, take the lasagna out and serve the complete casserole form hot.
Our tips for the best authentic lasagna
The real original taste is with that little amount of chicken liver and white wine. It makes such a difference to all the recipes widely spread. If you ever ate an original Lasagna alla bolognese, this version will remind you on exactly that. The pasta platters can be bought ready. We suggest making your own pasta dough for an extremely tasty and satisfying lasagna version. Additionally, the lasagna can be layered with Mozarella cheese between the ragou and pasta for the cheese lovers. A lighter Italian red wine fits perfectly to this meal.
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