The good news is that Brie Larson’s recipe delivered in the best ways possible. It's made with bolognese and a ricotta béchamel sauce and it's so good! It's packed with flavor in every one of its five luscious layers. The other thing I love about it is that it uses a three-meat combination for the bolognese (beef, pork, and pancetta), which is very tasty.
How to make the lasagna
This lasagne does take awhile to put together, but you don't have to do it all at once. Make the bolognese up to four days ahead and refrigerate it in an airtight container. (Tip: Prepare a double batch and freeze half for a pasta supper.) Once it's assembled, you can bake the dish right away, refrigerate it overnight, or freeze it.
1. Make the bolognese: Heat the olive oil and butter in a large pot over medium-high heat. Add the carrot, celery, and onion and cook, stirring often, until softened, about 5 minutes. Season with salt, add the garlic and chili flakes, and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Stir in the tomato paste and cook, stirring often about 3 minutes, or until red color deepens.
2. Add the ground beef, ground pork, and pancetta to pot, and cook, breaking it up with a spoon or spatula to break up the meat, until no longer pink, about 10 minutes. Season with salt. Stir in the milk and wine and bring to a simmer. Reduce the heat to low, add the oregano, cover and simmer for 1 ½ hours, stirring occasionally. Using a large spoon, skim off most of the fat and season with more salt if needed.
3. Make the béchamel: Melt the butter in a medium pan over medium-low heat. Add the flour and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Whisk in the milk and bring to a simmer over medium-low heat. Simmer for 1 minute to thicken. Remove the pan form the heat. Stir in the salt and nutmeg. Let the mixture cool for 15 minutes, then stir in the ricotta cheese.
4. Position a rack in center of the oven and heat to 375°F. Brush a 9×13-inch pan with olive oil.
5. Boil the lasagna noodles in a large pot of heavily salted water to just under al dente. Drain the noodles and slick them with olive oil to help prevent sticking.
6. Assemble the lasagna: Spread ¾ cup of the béchamel on the bottom of the prepared pan and top with a layer of noodles. Spread another ¾ cup of béchamel on top of the noodles, then spread about 1 ¼ cups of the bolognese sauce on top. Top with parmesan cheese, then add another layer of noodles. Repeat layering four times (for five layers of pasta in total). The fourth layer will use the last of the Bolognese. The final layer of noodles will have the remaining béchamel spread over it, as well as the remaining Parmesan and all of the mozzarella cheese.
7. Bake uncovered for 35 to 40 minutes, or until the sauce bubbles up on the sides and the top is perfectly browned. Once removed from the oven, let the dish cool for 15 minutes then sprinkle the chopped parsley on, slice, and enjoy!
- Prepare the bolognese sauce up to 4 days ahead and refrigerate it. Or freeze it for up to one month. Reheat gently until the sauce is warm enough to spread for assembling the lasagna.
- After all the lasagne components are prepared and the noodles are cooked, the final assembly is fast and gratifying. Start by clearing a good-size space on the counter to lay out all the components.
- You can bake your assembled lasagna right away or refrigerate it for later. It will keep for at least a day in the fridge. Alternatively, you can freeze it for up to 4 months (make sure you wrap the dish tightly with plastic). Thaw the lasagna in the fridge and bring it to room temperature before baking.
- Most dried lasagna noodle packages have enough noodles to for four layers. If you're running short, use kitchen shears to cut three of the noodles in half, using the halves in lieu of a full sheet. This will give each layer three-and-a-half noodles instead of four and allow you to reach the coveted fifth layer.
- If you don't have a pot large enough to submerge a package of lasagna noodles underwater, a large skillet with high sides will also work. Boiling the noodles until al dente only takes about 8 to 10 minutes.
Brie Larson in Lessons in Chemistry
In Lessons in Chemistry, Brie Larson plays Elizabeth Zott, a woman in the 1950s who dreams of being a scientist but is forced to become a homemaker due to societal norms. However, Elizabeth's passion for science remains undiminished, and she embarks on a journey to change her life that involves becoming a cooking show host. The lasagna serves as a spark in a relationship between Elizabeth's character and another, Calvin, an awarded chemist. The lasagna is one of the first things Calvin tastes that Elizabeth makes, and it's love at first bite.
Brie Larson's Lasagna - Lessons in Chemistry
For the Bolognese
- 3 Tbs. olive oil
- 2 Tbs. unsalted butter
- 1 medium carrot, peeled and finely chopped
- 1 medium celery rib, finely chopped
- 1 medium onion, finely chopped
- Kosher salt
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
- 1 6 oz, can tomato paste
- 1 lb. lean ground beef (85 - 90%)
- 1 lb. ground pork
- ¼ lb. pancetta, chopped
- 1 cup whole milk
- 1 cup dry white wine or water
- 1 Tbs. chopped fresh oregano
For Ricotta Bechamel
- 5 Tbs. unsalted butter
- ¼ cup all-purpose flour
- 3 cups whole milk, warmed
- 1 tsp. Kosher salt
- ½ tsp. grated nutmeg
- 1 5 oz. container ricotta, whole or part-skim
- Olive oil, for brushing
- 1 lb. dried lasagna noodles
- 2 cups grated parmesan
- 1 ½ cups shredded mozzarella
- 2 Tbs. finely chopped flat-leaf parsley
- Make the bolognese: In a large Dutch oven or pot, heat the olive oil and butter over medium high heat. Add the carrot, celery, and onion and cook, stirring often, until vegetables have softened, about 5 minutes. Season to taste with salt. Add the garlic and crushed pepper flakes, and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Add the tomato paste and cook, stirring constantly, until for 3 minutes, until the red color deepens.
- Add the beef, pork, and pancetta and cook, stirring with a large spoon or spatula to break up large clumps, until the meat is no longer pink, about 10 minutes.
- Stir in the milk and wine and bring to a simmer. Reduce the heat to low. Add the oregano, cover, and simmer for 1 ½ hours, stirring occasionally.
- Remove from heat and using a large spoon skim and discard most of the fat, (not all of it, leave a little bit for flavor).
- Make the béchamel: In a medium pan, melt the butter over medium-low heat. Add the flour and cook, stirring constantly, for 1 minute. Whisk in the milk. Bring to a simmer and cook on medium low for 1 minute, whisking occasionally, to thicken. Stir in the salt and nutmeg and remove from heat. Let cool for 15 minutes, then stir in the ricotta cheese.
- Position a rack in the center position in the oven and heat to 375°F. Bush a 9-x 13-inch pan with olive oil.
- Bring a large pot of well-salted water to a boil. Add the lasagna noodles, stir gently, and cook until just under al dente(usually about 1 minute less than the package’s instructions). Drain and lightly coat them with a little bit of olive oil to prevent sticking.
- To assemble: Spread ¾ cup of the ricotta béchamel on the bottom of the prepared pan and top with a layer of noodles. Spread another ¾ cup of béchamel on top of the noodles, then spread ¼ of the bolognese on top (about 1¼ cups). Top with a generous sprinkling of the parmesan cheese (about ⅓ cup). Top with another layer of noodles and repeat layering 4 more times. Top the final layer with the remaining béchamel, the remaining parmesan, and all of the mozzarella cheese.
- Bake uncovered until the sauce bubbles up on the sides and the top is browned., 35 to 40 minutes. Let cool 15 minutes, sprinkle the chopped parsley on top, slice, and serve.
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