Saffron Lasagna ~ Lasagna alla Zafferano
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This elegant and comforting saffron lasagna is like none other. Luscious, vibrant saffron besciamella, rich meat sauce and parmesan are layered between noodles for one seriously amazing meal. Use the meat sauce recipe on its own with pasta.
Recipe Type: Entree
Cuisine: Italian
Yield: 6 to 8 servings
Ragu alla Poggio Alloro ~ Poggio Alloro Beef Ragu Sauce: (makes about 8 cups)
  • 1 cup (240 ml) extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 carrots, cut into small dice
  • 3 celery stalks, cut into small dice
  • 1 medium red onion, cut into small dice
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 pounds (0.90 kg) lean ground beef
  • 6 cups (1360 g) tomato sauce, preferably made from San Marzano tomatoes
  • 2½ teaspoons (14 g) sea salt
Saffron Besciamella:
  • 5 cups (1.2 L) whole milk
  • ½ teaspoon (0.25 g) saffron threads
  • 5 tablespoons (75 g) unsalted butter
  • ½ cup (75 g) all-purpose flour
  • 1¼ teaspoons (7 g) sea salt
To Assemble and serve:
  • 3 (8-ounce) (225 g) packages oven-ready lasagne pasta
  • Grated parmesan cheese
For the Ragu alla Poggio Alloro:
  1. Heat the olive oil in a heavy-bottomed, 6-quart (6 L) saucepan over medium heat. Add the vegetables and garlic; cook until lightly browned, about 15 minutes.
  2. Add the ground beef and cook, stirring often to break up clumps, until meat is lightly browned, about 15 minutes. (The meat should be in small particles.)
  3. Stir in the tomato sauce and cook for an additional 25 minutes, stirring occasionally to prevent sticking. Remove sauce from heat and use as desired (any leftover sauce can be frozen for future use).
For the Saffron Besciamella:
  1. Heat the milk and saffron in a heavy-bottomed, 3-quart (3 L) saucepan over medium heat until just moderately warm; set aside and keep warm.
  2. Melt the butter in a heavy-bottomed, 4-quart (4 L) saucepan over medium heat. When the foam subsides, add the flour and stir to blend well. Cook, stirring constantly, for about 5 minutes, or until flour is cooked but not browned.
  3. Slowly add the warm milk and saffron mixture, whisking to blend thoroughly.
  4. Bring to a full boil, whisking constantly, and cook until thickened and silky smooth, about 15 minutes.
  5. Add sea salt. Remove from the heat and set aside. Cool to room temperature. (Any leftover sauce can be frozen for future use.)
To Assemble and serve:
  1. Preheat oven to 350F (175C).
  2. Spoon about ½ cup (120 ml) of the besciamella into a 13 x 9-inch (33 x 23 cm) baking dish, spreading it to cover the bottom. Then spoon ½ cup (120 ml) of the Poggio Alloro beef ragu sauce on top of it. Swirl the sauces together to blend slightly. Scatter about 2 tablespoons (25 g) grated Parmesan cheese over the combined sauces.
  3. Arrange a single layer of the lasagna noodles on top of the sauce mixture, covering the entire dish (you can cut the pasta to fit the pan).
  4. Continue layering portions of the besciamella, beef ragu sauce, pasta, and cheese until the pan is full, ending in a layer of cheese.
  5. Bake the lasagna in the preheated oven for 45 minutes, or until the top is lightly browned and bubbly. Cut into squares and serve hot.
Recipe by Katherine Martinelli at