The BEST lasagne recipe baked into a buttery flaky pastry? This is the most delicious way to upgrade the leftovers!
Being married to an Italian means that lasagne and bolognese sauce (not ‘bolognaise’) is taken really seriously in our house. My husband’s lasagne is so famous that we’ve had friends who’ve had babies JUST to get a tray of the Allegra family lasagne in their freezer. True story! When I made it on my Instastories last week, I got loads of requests for the recipe so today I’m sharing our family recipe but also sharing a way to use up the leftovers. My husband Antonino (probably like most Italians) is incapable of making a ‘normal’ sized lasagne! He always makes enough to feed a small country and we end up eating lasagne for DAYS so this is a fun way of baking it into something new and interesting!
First, let’s get to the perfect lasagne and a few tips on how to make the most delicious bolognese sauce.
Step 1: Use a blend of beef and pork (or veal) mince. It has a milder taste which balances the sauce beautifully.
Step 2: Brown the mince in small batches in a pot over high heat, moving it only every now and then, so it browns and caramelizes. This is the secret to a rich flavoured sauce!
Step 3: Then add two jars of Barilla Bolognese sauce – it has all the traditional ingredients for a bolognese sauce in the jar; made with 100% Italian tomatoes, onions, carrots, garlic and herbs so no chopping required (which is my absolute best)!
Step 4: In the meantime, prepare a white sauce. I make mine with extra virgin olive oil instead of butter. And make sure to brown the flour slightly when stirring it over the heat. This gives a nutty flavour to the sauce which really adds so much flavour! The white sauce is seasoned with bay leaves, nutmeg, white pepper and salt. The white sauce should be the consistency of thickened cream so it really soaks into the pasta!
Step 5: Layer the lasagne. Start with a layer of the bolognese sauce to stop the pasta sticking to the bottom. Then layer Barilla lasagne sheets, white sauce and bolognese. You don’t need to pre-cook the lasagne sheets as they can be baked as-is which means they soak up so much more flavour during baking. Finish the lasagne with a layer of white sauce, toasted breadcrumbs, grated Parmigiano cheese and a drizzle of olive oil then bake until bubbly, golden and delicious!
Now you can totally eat the lasagne as-is! I love to let mine stand for a while to let the sauces settle before serving it. BUT I’m going to show you how you can level it up or use the leftovers – by covering it in flaky pastry. The recipe for this pastry is SO GOOD and is so easy to make!
TIP Leave the pastry hanging over the edges – I then trim it off with a sharp knife after it’s baked. That way, if it shrinks, no one will know!
Once you’ve lined your tin with the pastry, slice the cooled lasagne into strips and lay them inside the lined dish.
I got fancy and made a lattice for my pie (because I loved the frilly layers too much to cover them up), grated some more Parmigiano over and then egg washed it to give a beautiful golden colour. Bake the pie again for 20 minutes and then devour it while still hot!
- Extra virgin olive oil, for frying
- 200g pork mince
- 200g beef mince
- 2 x 400g jars Barilla Bolognese sauce
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- Parmesan rinds (if you have - optional)
- A sprig of fresh rosemary
- 600g cake flour
- 40g finely grated Parmigiano
- 1 tsp fine salt
- 550g salted butter, chilled and cut into small pieces
- 125ml ice water
- 2 eggs, beaten
- White Sauce
- 125ml extra virgin olive oil
- 250ml cake flour
- 2L milk
- 2-3 bay leaves
- White pepper, to taste
- Pinch of nutmeg
- 100g grated hard cheese (like Parmagiano)
- 500g Barilla Lasagne Sheets
- To make the bolognese sauce, in a saucepan over high heat, heat the olive oil and fry the mince in small batches until dark brown.
- TIP It’s important to do this in batches so the mince doesn’t steam, but instead caramelises. This is the secret to a sauce with rich flavour!
- Return all the mince to the pot and add the Barilla Bolognese Sauce. Season the sauce well, add the cheese rinds, if using and simmer for AT LEAST 3 hours. The sauce should not be too saucy.
- In the meantime make the pastry, place the flour, cheese, salt and butter in a food processor and pulse until the mixture resembles coarse grain. Add half the ice water and pulse until the dough holds together. Squeeze a small amount together and if it's crumbly, add more water a tbsp at a time until it holds.
- Divide into 2 equal-sized balls and flatten into rectangles. Wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour or overnight.
- Preheat the oven to 200C with a baking tray in the middle. While the pastry is resting, make the white sauce. In a small pot over medium heat add the olive oil and flour and cook for 5 minutes or until the flour starts browning slightly. Add the milk all in one go and whisk well. Add the bay leaves, pepper and a pinch of nutmeg. Simmer for 2-3 minutes then set aside.
- Lightly grease two 25 x 15cm oven dishes (or you could use one big one, I prefer two small as I can freeze one) and start assembling the lasagne. Start with a thin layer of bolognese sauce to stop the pasta sticking to the bottom. Then layer the Barilla lasagne sheets on top.
- TIP The Barilla lasagne sheets are pre-cooked so don’t worry about parboiling them!
- Top the lasagne sheets with white sauce then repeat the layers to fill the dish, finishing with a layer of white sauce. Bake the lasagne in the preheated oven for 20-30 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely. If you're making the pie, refrigerate it so it will be easier to handle.
- On a lightly floured surface, roll out each piece of dough to a 30cm by 30cm square. Slide one piece of dough into a 20cm square cake tin and press to line the bottom of the tin completely.
- Slice the cold lasagne in 2cm strips and lay the strips of lasagne cut-side down to fill the pie tin. Sprinkle extra cheese over the second piece of pie dough. Cut in strips and arrange to form a lattice across the top of the lasagne.
- Preheat the oven to 200C and bake the lasagne pie for 20-30 minutes or until golden.
- Allow to cool slightly before serving.
- This recipe makes enough for 2 x dishes - so you can enjoy one fresh as-is, with enough to make the pie the next day!