Serious Eats Art Director Robyn Lee made the questionable decision to construct my Lasagna Bolognese on a weeknight. Why questionable? Because the sauce alone needs to simmer for three hours before you can even begin to construct or bake the damned thing. "We didn't eat until 1 a.m. so we were really hungry and it tasted good," she said.
Here's a promise: this stuff tastes really good even when it's not 1 a.m. and your last meal wasn't 12 hours ago.
I mean, how can it not? It all starts with ragú Bolognese, the king of meat sauces. My version uses ground lamb (for flavor), ground pork (for fat), and ground veal (for that luscious gelatin) in equal proportions along with a good amount of chicken livers (believe me, they're worth it, whether you're normally a liver-lover or not) and aromatics. It gets slowly simmered in a combination of milk, wine, and stock, before being finished with cream, herbs, and—here's the secret—fish sauce, which adds an incredibly rich, meaty depth to its flavor.
Ricotta isn't exactly a traditional ingredient in a lasagna Bolognese, and you can leave it out if you'd like, but I personally like to combine both ricotta and the more standard besciamella in my lasagna, just to make sure I've got all my bases covered.
The process is long, but it's not super involved. Aside from making the sauces, the rest comes down to a bit of construction and a lot of slow simmering and baking, which still leaves you plenty of time to find 7 hungry friends to help you polish it off.
About the author: J. Kenji Lopez-Alt is the Chief Creative Officer of Serious Eats where he likes to explore the science of home cooking in his weekly column The Food Lab. You can follow him at @thefoodlab on Twitter, or at The Food Lab on Facebook.