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Italian 5 layer lasagna with bechamel
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5 from 6 votes

Classic Italian Lasagna With Bechamel (Lasagne Al Forno)

This classic Italian lasagna with béchamel is made with slow-simmered meat ragu, creamy béchamel, Parmigiano Reggiano, and lasagna noodles.
Servings: 12


  • 1 16 ounce box of oven-ready lasagna noodles or homemade lasagna noodles, see note 3
  • 4 ounces grated Parmigiano Reggiano or parmesan

Beef Ragu Sauce

  • 2 lbs ground beef 90% to 95% lean
  • 52 ounces blended and strained tomatoes also known as "passata"** see note 1
  • 1 large onion finely diced
  • 2 carrots finely diced
  • 2 celery stalks finely diced
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 6 garlic cloves crushed or minced
  • 10 kalamata olives pit removed and diced
  • ½ cup red wine optional
  • salt

Bechamel Sauce

  • 4 tbs butter
  • 4 tbs all-purpose flour
  • 4 cups milk
  • ½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • salt


Meat Ragu Sauce

  • In a large pot on medium-high heat, add the olive oil. Once the oil is hot, add the finely diced onion, diced carrot, diced celery, and crushed garlic until it softens (about 2 to 3 minutes).
  • Add the ground beef, breaking up the clumps. Once the ground beef is brown, add the tomato sauce, diced olives, salt, red wine (if using), and bay leaf.
  • Simmer the beef tomato sauce covered on low heat for two hours on the stovetop.

Bechamel Sauce

  • In a nonstick pan on medium-high heat, add the butter. Once melted, add the flour and whisk continuously for about 30 seconds to a minute. Add the milk, continuing to mix until the sauce thickens to the point that it coats the back of a wooden spoon.
  • Remove the bechamel cream sauce from the heat. Add the ground nutmeg and salt to taste. Set aside.

Make the Lasagna

  • Boil the lasagna noodles. If using regular box lasagna noodles, boil per the box instructions. If using homemade lasagna noodles or oven-ready lasagna noodles, boil them five or six sheets at a time for about 2 minutes (or until soft). Lay the lasagna noodles on a parchment paper lined cookie sheet. Use a parchment paper in between cooked lasagna noodles so they don't stick. The noodles need to be soft and partially cooked- this step is important!
  • To layer the lasagna: add some beef tomato sauce to the bottom of the 9"x13" baking dish. Add one layer of lasagna noodles. Follow that with another layer of beef tomato sauce, then the bechamel sauce, then some lightly grated parmesan cheese. Repeat this until you have 5 layers of lasagna noodles. The top of the lasagna will be bechamel and then grated parmesan.
  • Bake the lasagna in a 350 ℉ (176 ℃) oven for about 40 minutes.



  1. Passata is strained blended tomatoes. Substitute tomato sauce or crushed tomatoes. Also, you can buy the canned whole peeled tomatoes and blitz them in the blender. For this lasagna recipe, I used two large cans of passata (each can was 26 ounces or 750 grams).
  2. You can simmer the ragu sauce with a slow cooker: simmer it on high for 4 hours or low for 8 hours.
  3. The oven-ready lasagna noodle boxes range in weight from 9 ounces to 1 lb. You can get away with 9 ounces if you have 15 pasta sheets- 3 sheets for each layer for lasagna, that's 5 layers. I usually buy two boxes in case I need a few more pasta sheets.


Serving: 1/12 | Calories: 437kcal | Carbohydrates: 42g | Protein: 29g | Fat: 17g | Saturated Fat: 9g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 8g | Trans Fat: 0g | Cholesterol: 126mg | Sodium: 368mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 9g