This Creamy Lasagna without Ricotta recipe is made with a layer of creamy béchamel sauce rather than ricotta. This lasagna also does not have any mozzarella and you don’t miss it. It has three alternating stacked layers: meat sauce, meat sauce and béchamel, and béchamel. Finally, it is topped with grated parmesan cheese that gets beautifully crispy and brown. I use no bake noodles in this recipe to eliminate some of the extra work of boiling noodles.
Lasagna without Ricotta is easy to double and it freezes well. I typically make a double portion and either freeze half or bring half to a friend around town. It is great for a family with a new baby or meal train. I love Italian food, and this Italian lasagna without ricotta is my favorite lasagna.
This lasagna was a popular recipe at my parents-in-law’s house when my husband was growing up (and still is now). The stories usually go that after dinner, Sebastian would go out with friends, come home late at night and devour any leftover lasagna in the fridge.
Doubling the Recipe:
Lately I have been doubling this recipe, either because we are hosting a large crowd, we plan to bring some to a friend, or we are freezing a second lasagna for another easy dinner for us. It definitely takes some work to make lasagna (you're making both a meat sauce and a béchamel sauce), but it takes very little extra time to double the recipe and you’re rewarded with a whole other meal that freezes very well.
The portions also work really well when doubling this. You end up using the whole carton of beef broth (rather than a partial carton), 3 lbs of ground beef (I know that’s a lot!), the whole package of bacon, and there’s plenty of extra celery and carrots in the bag that you may not use otherwise. So, it’s a great one to double.
Using beef broth instead of chicken broth gives you a more intense flavor, but you can really use either. I also prefer white wine so I add that here instead of red wine, but red wine gives a richer flavor which is certainly nice, especially in the winter.
I use no bake lasagna noodles to eliminate some of the work. They are just as good as the kind that you boil. The one difference between no bake lasagna noodles and regular lasagna noodles is that you can’t overlap the no bake noodles. If you do there will not be any liquid for it to absorb and they will still be stiff.
The trick is to get the béchamel sauce the right consistency. You don’t want it too thin so that it is soupy or too thick so that it’s hard to spread around on the noodles. In order to thin out the béchamel add more milk, or to thicken it let it cook a little longer on low while stirring occasionally.
When layering the béchamel sauce over the meat sauce, don’t worry about getting an even layer over the top. Just drizzle it over the meat with a large spoon.
Creamy Lasagna without Ricotta: FAQs
Yes, absolutely. This recipe does not call for any ricotta cheese or mozzarella cheese. The béchamel sauce replaces both the ricotta and mozzarella cheese and its creamy and delicious.
Yes. You can make the lasagna and either freeze it before baking it or bake it, let it cool fully and then freeze it. Either way works well. Just take it out of the freezer, place in the refrigerator overnight and bake when ready.
If you have overlapping layers of no bake lasagna noodles they will not have any liquid to absorb from either the meat sauce or the béchamel. The noodles need to absorb some liquid from the sauce in order to soften. So if you are using no bake noodles, be sure not to overlap them so that they are fully exposed to the sauce.
This lasagna recipe calls for 3 layers. However, we have had good friends from Sicily who are absolutely adamant that you cannot call it a lasagna unless it has 5 layers.
o A very thin layer of béchamel (just so the bottom is not dry and the no bake noodles can absorb some liquid)
o No bake noodles
o Meat sauce
o No bake noodles
o Meat sauce and béchamel
o No bake noodles
o Béchamel and parmesan
The lasagna is done when the top gets crispy and brown and you can hear the sauce bubbling in the dish.
Looking for other Italian Recipes? Try These:
Creamy Lasagna without Ricotta
- 5 slices of bacon, thinly sliced
- ½ onion, diced
- 2 carrots, thinly sliced
- 2 celery stalks, thinly sliced
- 1 ½ lbs ground beef
- ¼ cup white (or red) wine
- 2 cups beef broth
- 1 6oz can tomato paste
- 1 lb oven ready (no bake) lasagna
- ¾ cup grated parmesan cheese
- 6 tbsp butter
- 6 tbsp flour
- ¾ cup heavy cream
- 2 cups whole milk
- Bring a large pot or Dutch oven to medium heat. Add the bacon and cook until crispy. Remove the bacon and set aside.
- Add the onion, carrots, and celery and cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Then add the ground beef, stirring occasionally until cooked through.
- Add the wine, beef broth, tomato paste, salt and pepper. Next, add the bacon back in. Cover and simmer on low heat for 45 minutes.
- To make the béchamel, bring a large sauce pan to medium heat. Add the butter and allow to brown. Then, add the flour stirring continuously. Little by little add the cream while stirring. Add the whole milk ½ a cup at a time (2 cups total), continue to stir.
- Preheat the oven to 425°F.
- To assemble the lasagna in a large lasagna dish, layer as follows:1. A very thin layer of béchamel (just so the bottom is not dry)2. No bake noodles3. Meat sauce4. No bake noodles5. Meat sauce and béchamel6. No bake noodles7. Béchamel
- Sprinkle the top with the grated parmesan cheese.
- Bake for 25-30 minutes.