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My go-to dinner for feeding the family, Pesto Bolognese Lasagna. Slow cooked Italian style Bolognese sauce with a mix of beef, peppers, sweet tomatoes, and herbs. All layered with basil pesto ricotta, provolone cheese, and no-boil lasagna noodles. This is the classic lasagna updated with an easier method and so much more flavor. Serve this topped with a generous amount of parmesan cheese for a comforting lasagna that everyone will love. This is a great make ahead dinner to serve to family or use for your next holiday dinner party.

overhead photo of Pesto Bolognese Lasagna with cut pieces

We’re officially just one week from Christmas Eve, and two weeks from New Year’s Eve. I’m hoping that soon everyone will be settling into a much slower holiday mode, and preparing to spend some time with family and friends over the next couple of weeks.

For me, I have a few more busy days ahead. But I’m really looking forward to at least a couple of days off. I’ll be spending time with my parents, siblings, and cousins who will all be with us this Christmas. And little miss Asher and I have a Christmas afternoon planned later this week. It’s truly my favorite time of year. I love that no matter how busy or crazy things are with work and life, everything slows for a couple of days, the snow falls (hopefully), and we all just take a minute to breath.

bolognese sauce

All of my siblings are already here except Brendan and Lyndsie, but the rest of the family arrives this Friday. Before the chaos that comes with eighteen people arrives, I’m attempting to get ahead by prepping a few dinners. It’s much easier said than done, but as said, lasagna are my go-to when it comes to feeding the masses.

I make one white lasagna, and one or two more classic lasagna. Last week I shared my favorite white pesto lasagna. This week it’s time for the more classic, Bolognese style, lasagna.

overhead close up photo of Pesto Bolognese Lasagna

This is without a doubt everyone’s favorite dish. The boys of the house look forward to this lasagna ever single year. I’ve yet to meet anyone who doesn’t love it. Unless you are vegetarian in which case you should definitely check out my white lasagna.

The secret is all in the sauce. A slow cooked Bolognese sauce is what makes for the best, classic lasagna. I like to make mine with a mix of vegetables, spicy Italian sausage, lean ground beef, sweet tomatoes, and milk (for richness). It’s basically my slow cooker Bolognese pasta, but instead of serving over pasta, we’re layering it into a lasagna.

You can cook the sauce in as little as thirty minutes. But I will not lie, it’s so much better if you can simmer the sauce over a low heat for a couple of hours. Even better? Simmer the sauce all day and then let chill overnight in the fridge. The added sitting time really allows for the flavors to mend and become mouth wateringly delicious. Obviously do what you have time for, either way this will be delicious. But if you can plan ahead, I would recommend doing so. Just make the sauce a day or two ahead of assembling the lasagna.

overhead photo of Pesto Bolognese Lasagna

When you have the sauce all ready to go, it’s time to assemble.

The second secret to my lasagna is all in the cheese. Instead of just using ricotta, which in my opinion can sometimes be on the bland side if not seasoned properly, I like to mix a little basil pesto into the ricotta for extra flavor. You all know how much I love pesto. So I always have either some homemade or store-bought on hand to create quick dinners. It’s my go-to pantry ingredient that adds so much flavor.

I swirled a good amount of pesto into the ricotta. Then I layered with the Bolognese sauce, provolone cheese, and no-boil lasagna noodles.

If you wanted to add even another layer of flavor, a lot of times I’ll top my lasagna with pepperoni. I highly recommend this if you’re feeding a crowd that loves pizza. The pepperoni are always a hit.

Pesto Bolognese Lasagna pieces out of pan

I like to serve my lasagna with a wintry salad, the family’s favorite bread, and my spicy pomegranate mule for the ultimate welcoming holiday dinner.

What’s great about serving up a dish like lasagna is that I can make them completely ahead of time and have them baking when everyone shows up for dinner.

The best part though?

The smell, oh my goodness, it’s good. And trust me, this lasagna tastes just as good too.

overhead photo of Pesto Bolognese Lasagna with slices cut

If you make this lasagna, be sure to leave a comment and/or give this recipe a rating! Above all, I love to hear from you guys and always do my best to respond to each and every comment. And of course, if you do make this recipe, don’t forget to also tag me on Instagram! Looking through the photos of recipes you all have made is my favorite!

Pesto Bolognese Lasagna

Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour 15 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 45 minutes
Servings: 8
Calories Per Serving: 1264 kcal

Nutritional information is only an estimate. The accuracy of the nutritional information for any recipe on this site is not guaranteed.

Ingredients

Instructions

  • 1. Heat the olive oil in a large soup pot over medium heat. When the oil shimmers, add the onion and season with salt and pepper. Cook 5 minutes or until the onion is fragrant and beginning to caramelize. Add the bell pepper, garlic, sausage, and beef, brown all over, breaking up the meat as you go, about 10 minutes.
    2. Add the tomatoes, tomato paste, oregano, bay leaves, milk, and 1 cup of water. Season with salt and pepper. Stir to combine. Cook over medium for 30 minutes, until the sauce has thickened slightly. Or cook, covered, for up to 3 hours over low heat, stirring occasionally. The longer you can cook, the more flavorful. Remove the bay leaves and discard. If your sauce seems thick, add 1/2 cup additional water to thin.
    4. In a medium bowl combine the ricotta and pesto.
    5. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Grease a 9x13 inch pan. Spread 1/4 of the Bolognese sauce onto the bottom of the dish. Top with 3-4 lasagna sheets. Spread with 1/2 the ricotta cheese mixture, another 1/4 of the Bolognese sauce, and half of the provolone. Place another 3-4 lasagna noodles on top. Then top with the remaining ricotta cheese mixture, another 1/4 of the Bolognese sauce, and the remaining provolone. Add the remaining lasagna noodles and pour the remaining Bolognese sauce over top. Top with mozzarella and parmesan cheese. Bake uncovered for 45 minutes or until the top has bubbled up and browned a bit. Let stand 10 minutes before serving.
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  1. Hi! I’m going to make this for a dinner party. There will be 10 of us. We’ll be having appetizers before the meal. Will one recipe be enough?

  2. 5 stars
    This is so very tasty! Thank you! I love the pesto mixed in with the ricotta. I made it on NYE so we would have food in the new year and we are enjoying it so much, even reheated! I couldn’t find shredded or a block of provolone, so I bought sliced and it was totally fine. I also added a carton of fresh cherry tomatoes as I had them and wanted to use them, and they blend it with the chopped/diced tomatoes so well you wouldn’t even know they were there. Highly recommend!

  3. 5 stars
    I’ve made this before and loved it! Do you think I could add spinach to the ricotta? (block of frozen spinach- drained?)

  4. I will be making this for Christmas Eve dinner for 22 people. Should I wait til the day to assemble and bake? I’ll prepare the sauce a couple of days ahead.

  5. I’m hoping to make this for my family for Christmas! I’m curious if it would work to fully make this lasagna 2 days before baking it? Will it stay okay in the fridge for that long? Or should I wait to assemble until the day of? Thanks!

  6. OBSESSED 🤩 I made this for my family Thanksgiving this year. We do not eat red meat so I did ground turkey and added butter to the sauce to fatten it up (since the turkey was so lean). Simmered the sauce for about 2 hours and honest to goodness I cannot believe how delicious this tastes. I think I’m going to make it again for Christmas. Perfect for a cozy date night or for feeding the masses 🤍