Green Lasagna Bolognese

by lydia on September 21, 2010

Long ago, I happened to own a copy of ‘Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking‘. The very book in which I was introduced to the ever so tantalizing bolognese sauce. I can recall the first time I made the sauce, standing by the pot all day stirring on and off waiting until it’s aromatic spell would end up melting in my mouth. And melt in my mouth it did. Bolognese sauce may take hours to complete, but it is worth the time, not to mention it’s very easily adapted to making a triple or quadruple batch for future use. You’ll be sure to feel like an authentic Italian grandma as you stir and savor this bubbling pot of heaven. Lucky for me, I found out that there was a classic dish incorporating green lasagna noodles in this Green Lasagna Bolognese. My noodles are made with buckwheat to remain true to my need to be gluten free. Surprisingly they were simple to make and my boys actually loved them! This is a special dish that is very hearty and worth the time and love put in to it.

bolognese sauce (recipe follows)
bechemel sauce (recipe follows)
spinach buckwheat pasta (recipe follows)
freshly grated parmesan cheese

Make the bolognese sauce at least one day in advance. Doubling this recipe may be a good idea, either just the sauce for another meal, or the whole entire lasagna doubled. Take advantage of the cooking time, the bolognese sauce is worth having a lot on hand!!

Spinach buckwheat pasta:
6 oz. fresh organic spinach, washed and sauteed, squeezed of excess
liquid, or 6 oz. frozen organic spinach, thawed, drained and squeezed of
excess liquid
3 pastured eggs
1 1/2 cups buckwheat flour
1/2 teaspoon sea salt

In a bowl mix the flour and spinach together well by hand, or in a mixer with a dough hook. Add in the eggs one at a time and salt, knead for 5 minutes. Cover the dough and let rest for 30 minutes. In the meantime go ahead and make the bechemel sauce.
Roll out the dough into wide 10 inch strips as thin as you can without tearing. You are going to make 4 layers of this pasta.  It should be as as thin as possible, without it breaking when moved around. Cook pasta in large pot of salted water, a few at a time. Blanch for a minute or two, and immediately put into bowl of ice water. Remember to keep changing water with every few pasta strips to keep it ice cold. Then squeeze water out of pasta and dry on clean towels. This is important so pasta will not get mushy.

Using a deep dish 9×9 inch pan, smother the bottom of the pan with bolognese sauce, then a layer of noodles, then bolognese sauce and some bechemel. Repeat this until you get to the last layer, top with bechemel sauce and parmesan cheese. Bake in an oven at 400 degree Fahrenheit on the top rack for 15 minutes.

Time: (for the pasta)
Active time – 30-40 minutes (not including the pre-made bolognese sauce)
Inactive time – 30 minutes to let dough rest, 15 minutes to bake the lasagna

Bechemel Sauce:

3 cups raw milk
6 tablespoons organic pastured butter
5  tablespoons buckwheat flour
1/4 teaspoon of sea salt or more to taste
cracked black pepper to taste
dash of nutmeg

Heat milk to a strong simmer in small pot. Heat flour and butter together without browning flour in a sauce pan. Remove from heat. Add hot milk to flour-butter mixture one tablespoon at a time, whisking constantly. Put back on the heat and cook stirring constantly until thick.

Bolognese Sauce:

2 tablespoons lard, or additional butter, or bacon fat
6 tablespoons of butter
1 cup chopped onion
1 1/3 cup chopped celery
1 1/2 cup chopped carrot
1 1/2 pounds ground grass fed beef mixed with salt and pepper before cooking, or 1 pound ground beef and 1/2 pound pureed grass fed beef liver
Black pepper, freshly ground
2 cups whole milk
Whole nutmeg, 1/4 t
2 cup dry white wine
3 cups canned imported Italian plum tomatoes with juice, chopped
2 bay leaves
Freshly grated parmigiano-reggiano cheese at the table


Large saucepan with lid


On medium heat, add lard, butter, and onion, saute until translucent. Add celery, carrots, cook 2 minutes, stirring,  but not browning. Add meat, break up with fork, and when no pink color is showing, add the milk.  Turn down heat to simmer, stirring frequently until milk has evaporated. Add nutmeg. Add wine, stirring thoroughly. Once wine has completely evaporated, add
tomatoes, and the bay leaves, and simmer on very very low stirring every now and again. If sauce dries out, add 1/2 cup water or stock at a time.  Cook for a minimum of 3 hours. I think 4-6 hours is better. Remove bay leaves when ready to serve. Feel free to add italian herbs to this as well, the classic version is actually quite simple. Taste and season with salt, pepper.

Active Time – 10 minutes
Inactive time – up to 6 hours

This recipe makes a good hearty amount of lasagna even though it is served in a small pan, it’s very thick and dense. My boys really loved this and I plan to make it again soon. I’ll be sure to go ahead and make an extra big batch of bolognese sauce to freeze some for later use. This recipe was brought to you from the September issue of Divine Living, an ebook offering you nourishing menus that are lower carb and gluten free. If you are interested in purchasing a copy, you can go to Divine Living Ebooks.

This post contributed to Hearth and Soul.

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