I think everyone has their favorite go to Lasagna recipe, but L.J. would turn his nose up when I would make my original recipe, since it contained ricotta cheese.
Lasagna is one of those recipes with so much meaning and memories for us, since it was one of the first dinners I prepared for Colt way back when, in the apartment he was staying at with his buddy.
With L.J.'s aversion to ricotta or cottage cheese Lasagna had become a rare item on the dinner rotation.
Until I decided to try a béchamel sauce like I use for Creamy Macaroni and Cheese.
The first time we enjoyed a ricotta free Lasagna was when Colt and I escaped for a weekend getaway in Victoria, BC years ago.
I ordered Lasagna with a Besciamella (the Italian equivalent of béchamel sauce) leaving the memory forever engraved on my palate.
The Lasagna was constructed of layers of bolognese sauce, béchamel, plenty of cheese and sheets of fresh pasta.
I wasn't sure the Lasagna would pass L.J.'s palate but I found him enjoy a piece as large as his Dad's the last few times I've made this.
Lasagna with Béchamel Sauce is worth the effort and the taste is a whole new level of deliciousness if you've never tried it.
Honestly I doubt I will ever add ricotta to Lasagna again, the creaminess of the béchamel can't be beat!
This recipe starts off with Homemade Spaghetti Sauce I shared last week.
To make the creamy Béchamel Sauce that will forever change the way you do Lasagna:
Heat 3 cups Milk in a small sauce pan until hot but not boiling and set aside.
Melt 2 tablespoons Butter and 1 tablespoon Extra Virgin Olive Oil over medium-high heat.
Sprinkle in 1/4 cup All-Purpose Flour, whisk until well combined, and cook flour mixture for about 1-2 minutes until just barely starting to color.
Slowly drizzle in hot milk while whisking.
Cook until sauce thickens to the constancy of cheese sauce.
Add 1/4 teaspoon Fresh Nutmeg, Ground Black Pepper to taste, and a pinch of Salt.
Whisk until well combined.
Sauce should be thick and creamy in consistency.
In a deep 9"x 13" pan add 2 cups Spaghetti Sauce to the bottom of pan.
Layer with 3 sheets No Boil Lasagna Noodles.
In my previous life I would have more then likely made my own fresh Lasagna Noodles but I've had to make some adjustments to the way I do things, and find the No Boil Lasagna Noodles make a great substitution since the sheets are thinner providing a texture similar to Homemade Noodles.
Cover Lasagna Noodles with 1/3 of the Béchamel Sauce.
Cover Béchamel Sauce with 1 cup Freshly Grated Mozzarella Cheese and 1/4 cup Freshly Grated Parmesan Cheese.
Repeat layers starting with 1 1/4 cup Spaghetti Sauce.
Cover Spaghetti Sauce with 3 sheets No Boil Lasagna Noodles leaving a gap between noddles for expansion.
Add another 1/3 of the Béchamel Sauce.
Cover Béchamel Sauce with 1 cup Grated Mozzarella Cheese and 1/4 cup Grated Parmesan Cheese.
Cover cheese with 1 1/4 cup Spaghetti Sauce.
For last layer add 3 sheets No Boil Lasagna Noodles, the remaining 1/3 of the Béchamel Sauce, 1 cup Mozzarella Cheese, 1/4 cup Parmesan Cheese, 1 1/4 cup Spaghetti Sauce, 1 cup Grated Mozzarella Cheese, and 1/4 cup Parmesan Cheese.
As I type this I can't stop singing it to the tune head, shoulders, knees and toes, knees and toes.
It must be what happens after you have kids!
Tint with foil being careful not to touch the cheese, and bake in a 375 degree oven 45 minutes.
Remove foil and bake an additional 15-20 minutes until lightly golden brown.
Allow to rest for 5-10 minutes to allow for cleaner slices.
Lasagna with a creamy béchamel sauce is a family favorite and a great alternative for those who don't enjoy ricotta or cottage cheese filling, with easy to follow step by step photo instructions from Serena Bakes Simply From Scratch.Prep time: PT30M
Cook time: PT1H0M
Total time: PT1H30M
Yield: 10 Servings
- 5 3/4 cup Homemade Spaghetti Sauce
- 3 cups Milk
- 2 tablespoons Butter
- 1 tablespoon Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- 1/4 cup All-Purpose Flour
- 1/4 teaspoon Nutmeg, Fresh Ground
- Ground Black Pepper, To Taste
- 1 pinch Salt
- 9 sheets No Boil Lasagna Noodles
- 4 cups Mozzarella Cheese, Freshly Grated
- 1 cup Parmesan Cheese, Freshly Grated
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
- To make Béchamel Sauce: Heat milk until hot but not boiling in a small saucepan. Melt butter and olive oil over medium-high heat. Sprinkle flour over the top and whisk until butter is well absorbed by the flour. Cook flour mixture for 1-2 minutes until just barely starting to color. Slowly pour in hot milk while whisking. Cook until sauce thickens to the constancy of cheese sauce. Stir in nutmeg, black pepper to taste, and salt.
- In a deep 9"x13" pan add 2 cups spaghetti sauce to bottom of pan and spread until even.
- Cover sauce with 3 noodles leaving a space for expansion between noodles and edges. Spread 1/3 of the béchamel sauce evenly over noodles. Cover béchamel sauce with 1 cup mozzarella cheese and 1/4 cup parmesan cheese. Cover cheese with 1 1/4 cup spaghetti sauce. Repeat layers of lasagna noodles, béchamel sauce, mozzarella cheese, parmesan cheese and sauce until you have 3 layers.
- Cover the last layer of tomato sauce with remaining mozzarella and parmesan cheese.
- Tent lasagna with foil so it doesn't touch the cheese.
- Bake for 45 minutes. Remove foil and bake for an additional 15-20 minutes until lightly browned.
- Allow lasagna to rest for 5-10 minutes for cleaner slices.