Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > Home Cooking >
Feb 7, 2011 05:28 AM

Substituting bechamel for ricotta in lasagne

I am going to make a large lasagne, which calls for whopping 2 quarts of ricotta. (did a trial run this weekend of a half recipe,not a great texture)

I want to substitute a bechamel for the ricotta. Anyone have a favorite bechamel and proportion hints for subtituing bechamel for ricotta.. Im making a bolognese for the sauce . thanks

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. Bechamel- a stick of butter, a cup of flour and a quart of milk. To make the bechamel really decadent, you can add an egg yolk (tempered).

    2 Replies
    1. re: monavano

      classic ratio for this and it can be cut or increased depending on how much you need. i generally add grated parm or romano to this.

      however, it's a really heavy sauce, especially with a bolognese involved. can't you just use less ricotta? what did you not like about the texture? did you use the good stuff or crappy supermarket stuff?

      1. re: hotoynoodle

        I like lasanga better with a bechamel instead of ricotta. I think you should have equal parts bechamel and ragu and you should layer it the same way.

        Start with a little ragu in the bottom of the pan, then go noodles, bechamel, ragu and then grated parmesan cheese. Keep repeating till everything is used up, ending with a layer of bechamel and then add grated cheese and bake. Should take about 35-45 minutes in a 375 degree oven.

    2. Wouldn't really call it a sub since the traditional one is made with bechamel not ricotta. I would never add cheese or egg to the bechemel, but a little grate of nutmeg is nice. In terms of proportion you just want to spoon some over the pasta in each layer. Usually it's bottom layer bolognese, then pasta, then bechamel, bolognese, pasta, bechamel... etc repeating topping the final layer with bechemel and Parmesan. You can also add parmesean to each layer of bolognese. The thinner you can get your pasta with thinner layers of each ingredient the sexier and lighter the lasagna is. I like Marcella Hazan's Bechamel recipe, first result it comes up on google.

      2 Replies
      1. re: rezpeni

        Thanks Everyone..

        My recipe had called for ricotta, and I did my trial with the crappy supermarket stuff, LOL.. I did not like the texture. I grew up with ricotta in my lasagne but now I will try to make the same recipe with bechamel. would like a creamier, less lumpy/curdy mouth feel..

        1. re: sharkfin

          Do the bechamel. It's better. I haven't made American Lasagne (mozzarella & ricotta) in 30+ years. Bechamel, Parmigiano-Reggiano, Bolognese, and freshly-made pasta are the only way I do it now.

          If you don't want to roll your own pasta, this combination also works well in making baked ziti (actually, I use cavatappi).

      2. I always use besciamella, much silkier than ricotta. I often sub part chicken or beef broth for a flavor boost. I'm with monavano, use about half the volume of ricotta--you only need a thin layer.

        1. Bechamel is definitely the way to go! Add nutmeg and a little finely chopped shallot or red onion to the basic flour. butter, milk recipe.

          1. In my lasagna I use both bechamel and homemade ricotta (SO easy to make!). If you don't like the curd texture, throw it into your blender or food processor. Ricotta recipe:

            1 Reply
            1. re: chefathome

              Great idea.. thank you.. and thank you all for your suggestions,...