Picture this: You’re in an old Italian town, where streets are covered in cobblestones whispering tales of the past centuries, with Nonna Lucia spending her early mornings in a sunlit kitchen overlooking the sprouting vineyard. Her hands dance with years of experience as she rolls out fresh sheets of pasta, blending fragrant herbs and sauce layers to ignite a tapestry of love, tradition, and memories as soon as the first sun rays paint the countryside gold – resulting in this creamy perfection that she’s willing to share: the Lasagna White Sauce Recipe.
Are you in the mood for some homemade lasagna? If so, get ready for this classic recipe!
What You Need for Lasagne White Sauce Recipe
This white sauce lasagna recipe is super easy and pretty fast to make, however, it does require a few more ingredients than most other Italian recipes – it’s super worth it, though!
Ingredients for the béchamel recipe:
- 3 1/2 – 4 cups whole milk
- 4 tbsp butter (1/2 stick)
- 4 tbsp all purpose flour
- 1 tsp salt (or to taste)
- 1/2 tsp pepper (or to taste)
These things are optional but can make it extra creamy and delicious:
- A pinch of ground nutmeg (optional)
- 1/2 cup grated parmesan (optional)
- 1 clove minced garlic (garlic powder is ok too)
Ingredients for the Bolognese Sauce:
- 1 lb Ground beef or a mix of beef and pork
- 1 large Onion (chopped)
- 28 oz. Canned crushed tomatoes (or use fresh tomatoes)
- 2 tbsp Tomato paste
- 1 tbsp Dried basil
- 1 tsp Dried oregano
- Salt and pepper – to taste
- Red pepper flakes – a pinch (optional)
- 2 tbsp Olive oil
- A handful of Fresh basil and/or parsley (chopped)
Ingredients for the lasagne:
- 12 sheets Lasagna noodles (cooked according to package instructions, or use no-boil noodles)
- Bechamel sauce – (the white sauce above)
- 2 cups Mozzarella cheese (shredded or sliced)
- 1 cup Parmesan cheese (grated)
- 1 cup Ricotta cheese (optional)
- Fresh basil leaves – for layering (optional)
- 1 beaten Egg (if using ricotta)
How to Make the Lasagna White Sauce Recipe
Now that you’ve prepared all your ingredients, let’s get down to business! This amazing recipe is not only good for special occasions but also as an easy dinner recipe.
Step 1: Prepare the Meat Sauce
Heat the olive oil in a big skillet or saucepan to start making the meat sauce. Toss in the onions and sauté until they’re translucent. You can add garlic and cook it for another minute if you like. After browning the ground beef, add it to the pan and cook with the tomatoes, tomato paste, herbs, salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes until everything is well combined.
Allow it to cook for an additional 20-30 minutes before finishing with basil or parsley and any necessary flavor changes.
Step 2: Prepare the White Sauce
Over medium heat, melt butter in a medium saucepan. Make sure the garlic won’t turn brown in the butter as you cook it to bring out its flavor. To make a roux and thicken the sauce, whisk in the flour until smooth and heat for 1–2 minutes, stirring constantly.
The next step is to slowly pour in the milk while mixing the mixture to prevent lumps. Turn the heat up to medium-high and keep whisking until the sauce thickens.
Reduce it back to medium-low heat and simmer for several minutes, seasoning with salt, white pepper, and nutmeg. Stir regularly. Grated Parmesan cheese can be added to the sauce and whisked in until a cheese flavor is achieved.
Tip: If the sauce is too thick, add a little more milk, while if it’s too thin, let it simply simmer a bit longer.
Once done, you’re ready to layer your lasagna!
Step 3: Ricotta Mix (Optional)
Mix the ricotta cheese and the beaten egg together until smooth (if using), then add freshly chopped herbs or a dash of nutmeg for more flavor.
Step 4: Time to Assemble the Lasagna
After you’re done with the delicious sauce and before you start putting the lasagna together, preheat the oven to 375°F (190°C).
First, coat the bottom of the baking dish with a thin layer of beef sauce, then add the single layers of pasta. If desired, spread the white sauce (béchamel) and add a layer of the ricotta mix.
Then restart the layering process by adding another layer of bolognese meat sauce and sprinkling liberally with mozzarella and parmesan after the initial layer. Repeat the layering process until all of the ingredients are gone, then top with béchamel, mozzarella, and Parmesan.
Tip: Add a layer of fresh basil leaves between the layers to give it more taste.
Step 5: Bake, Cool, and Serve
When you’re done building your layers, cover and tent the dish with aluminum foil so the foil doesn’t come into contact with the cheese. To get the cheese bubbly and golden brown, bake it for 25 minutes in a preheated oven, then uncover and bake for another 10 to 15 minutes.
Once done, let the lasagna sit for another 10-15 minutes at room temperature before slicing and serving it – this helps hold the layers together.
Enjoy a little piece of Italy!
Tip: This recipe pairs extra well with some white wine!
Expert Tips for Making Lasagna
This recipe is one of my favorites because it’s easy to make (despite its many ingredients and steps).
Here are a few tips that will make it easier and faster for you to make:
- Noodle choice: No-boil noodles save time because they don’t need to be cooked and often absorb flavors even better. If you decide to use them, make the creamy sauce have enough liquid so the layer of pasta can absorb the extra moisture.
- Meat sauce recipe: Consider using different types of meats to add more flavors to it, such as a mix of beef, pork, or veal – it truly makes a difference!
- Béchamel white sauce flavor boost: Before you add the milk, warm it up with a bay leaf, an onion wedge, and a whole garlic clove – use only the cup of milk, and you will be wow-ed!
Now a weird one: Lasagna tastes better the next day because it gives the layers time to meld the flavors together. So, for this one: consider leaving a big chunk or even making it a day prior, so you just need to reheat it in the oven – you won’t regret it!
Other Variations of This Lasagna White Sauce Recipe
Next to the classic lasagna, there are countless variations of this recipe! Down to try something new – maybe even a bit more adventurous?
Seafood Lasagna – yes, that’s a thing!
The only thing you need to adjust about this dish is the meat sauce, as you’ll be replacing the meat with seafood like shrimp, scallops, and crab meat. Seasoning the béchamel sauce with some lemon zest and dill will take it to the next level.
Chicken Alfredo Lasagna – a favorite!
For the meat sauce, shred some cooked chicken and toss it with some Alfredo. Not only does it go well with the béchamel sauce, but you can spice things up by adding some greens like spinach or broccoli – voilá! Your white chicken lasagna recipe is ready!
Tip: If you’re gluten intolerant, there are some great gluten-free lasagna sheets that you can use or thinly sliced vegetables like zucchini to replace the pasta – this makes a great vegetable lasagna as well!
Frequently Asked Questions
You have the questions? We have the answers!
Can I make lasagna ahead of time?
Absolutely! When you give lasagna time to rest, the flavors really come together. It can be prepared a day before, stored in the refrigerator in an airtight container, and baked when the time is right. Alternatively, you could bake it, let it cool, and then reheat it the next day.
Can I freeze this lasagna and reheat it?
Yes! Lasagna actually freezes really well. You can freeze it either before baking or after it has already been baked and cooled off. Just wrap it tightly in plastic wrap and then in aluminum foil – then store it for up to 3 months in the freezer!
My Béchamel sauce is too thick/thin, how do I fix it?
Add more milk if it’s too thick; if it’s too thin, simmer it for longer or thicken it with butter and flour – voilá! It’s saved.
How do I know when the lasagna is done baking?
Great question! Once it’s done baking, you will see it bubbling around the edges, and the top will be golden brown. If you’re not sure, though, you can also insert a knife into the center, if it goes through the lasagne sheets easily, it’s done.