Lasagna Verdi Alla Bolognese
Marco Polo
Marco Polo

Lasagna actually is one of the more historically documented cuts of "pastas"... it has origins in ancient Greece, and was co-opted by the Romans. That kind of shoots a hole in the Marco Polo theory of the Asian discovery of pasta in the kitchens of the Kublai Khan, but there is actual documentation that refutes the legendary exploits of the “Merchant and World Traveller of Venice”. Lasagna in some form has been around since before the birth of Christ.

The traditional Americano version of Lasagna has evolved throughout the ages as a baked pasta dish; sequential layers of pasta, Neapolitan style tomato sauce, browned ground beef or sausage and a combination of Ricotta, Mozzarella and Parmigiano Reggiano Cheeses.

During Primo’s years as a mass manufacturer of pasta products, Lasagna Verdi (Spinach Lasagna) was one of the newest cuts introduced to the wide spectrum of cuts that P & R offered, due to a little world traveling and a “second honeymoon”.

In 1968, Primo and The Lovely Linda had just returned from a whirlwind trip of Europe, and had come back inspired by the authentic cuisine of Italy and specifically by a tasting of “Lasagne Verdi” in Bologna.

Primo-Secondo ancient
Upon arriving back stateside, both Moms and Pops were ready to deliver this amazing dish to the legions of P & R pasta customers. Pop geared up to manufacture this green delicacy, but much of this new project was overseen by Moms. Gone was the traditional red and blue packaging, replaced and redesigned with a white box festooned with green polka dots. She developed a zen recipe that could be printed on the side of a lasagna box, with ingredients that could be easily found in your local grocery store.

Our home was the test kitchen for this recipe, and the Rossi children the experimental guinea pigs. For awhile it seemed like all we were ever going to have for dinner was Lasagna Verdi with slight adjustments made for each consecutive dinner. With much research and multiple batches, the Lovely Linda finally nailed it. This is her own personalized variation of this classic Italian dish, and a variation on a theme: An alternate application of the family’s Bolognese Sauce.

Mom was forty years ahead of her time, as this was really the first  Rossi family “You Eat What I Cook You” project, designed and shared with inspiration and love for the enjoyment of all.


First off, you have to make a batch of Bolognese Sauce. Here is the recipe, and the video demonstration. You can make this a couple of days ahead of time, or even freeze it up to three weeks before taking on the construction project of building the Lasagna “Tower of Yummiosity”.

ingredientsApproximately 16 oz of Lasagna Verdi Pasta; you can substitute with regular Lasagna, but it isn’t quite the same. You can make the pasta yourself, or you may be able to find a dried version in specialty Italian Grocery Shops. To eliminate any time consuming treasure hunting or pasta making, here is an online link to ROSSI’S PASTA (No relation, promise!) where Poppa Primo currently buys his commercially made, “Lasagna Verdi” Pasta.

Bechamel Sauce

- 4 tablespoons of Butter

- 3 tablespoons All Purpose Flour

- 3 Cups of Heavy Cream, Half and Half, or Whole Milk

- Salt to Taste

- Fresh Ground Pepper to Taste

- Ground Nutmeg to Taste

Hint: It's always good to have extra Bechamel on hand as you construct your lasagna, rather than not enough. Poppa Nick doubles this recipe, because he likes it extra creamy, especially on the top layer. This is subjective, but it’s suggested that you have some extra Bechamel Sauce in reserve the first time you try this.

In Addition:

- Freshly Grated Parmigiano-Reggiano Cheese (The real stuff!)

- (1) 9” X 12” or  9 “X 13” Lasagna Pan, preferably with an enameled interior baking surface.

- Medium Grade Olive Oil

- A little extra butter to grease your Lasagna pan.

The recipe

Kook da pastaSTEP # 1 “KOOK” Da Pasta

In a large pot of salted boiling water, add a couple tablespoons of olive oil. Because Lasagna is a large, flat cut of pasta, this will help in preventing the stripes of wide pasta from “Sticking to Each Other”. Make sure each strip of pasta is separated, but be gentle. It can easily break if stirred too vigorously.

When “Al Dente”, drain, run under cold water, and place each pasta strip on a bed of paper towels. Pat the upsides dry as well.


  1. Melt butter in a medium saucepan over a medium heat.
  2. Whisking constantly, add flour until thoroughly blended with the melted butter
  3. Add the Cream, constantly whisking.

    Boosh-a-MelMake sure to control your heat factor. You don’t want this to boil and curdle; the object is to have the Bechamel Sauce slowly thicken over time. Be patient.
  4. Add Salt, Ground Pepper, and Nutmeg to taste. Let your palate and creativity be your guide!
  5. When thickened, remove from heat and place in your “construction” area.

Step # 3 Build the“Tower of Yummiosity”

Theater of OperationsFirst, set up your theater of operations: Bolognese Sauce (at room temperature so it spreads well), Bechamel Sauce, Grated Parmigiano-Reggiano, Lasagna Pasta, and finally, your Lasagna Pan.

  1. Grease the Lasagna Pan with butter, on the bottom and the sides.

First Layer:

  1. Spread Bolognese Sauce on the bottom of the pan.
  2. Spoon A Layer Of Bechamel Sauce over the Bolognese Sauce
  3. Sprinkle Parmigiano Reggiano Cheese over the Bechamel.
  4. Lay your Lasagna strips over the whole thing. Cut Lasagna to cover any open areas.

Second Layer:

Repeat steps 1, 2, 3, and 4.

Third and “Top” Layer:

Repeat step 1 and then;

Try to get a fully “opaque” layer of Bechamel on the top: When sprinkling the grated cheese layer, make sure not to neglect the corners of the pan. Be decadent! Grind a little pepper over the top.

kook da lasagnaStep # 4  “KOOK” Da Lasagna

In a 350 degree oven with the rack in the center position, place a cookie sheet under the Lasagna Pan (to catch any spillage that might bubble over the sides) and bake for approximately 35 minutes.

WATCH YOUR LASAGNA! The top should be slightly golden, not burned to a bitter, carbonized brown. Remove from oven.

Step # 5 "Let It Sit"

Allow the Lasagna to “set up” by waiting 15 minutes before cutting into it. You don’t want your serving of “Tower of Yummiosity” to slide all over the plate and deconstruct. It’s not enough for it to taste amazing, it’s got to look amazing as well.

Lasagna VerdiStep # 6 "Cut, Plate and Serve"

In a 9” X 13” pan, we cut the Lasagna in eight even pieces. You can cut it in any sized single servings that you desire, but mark and trace your cuts before actually executing them.

With the flat edge of a metal spatula, cut into the lasagna making sure to get a clean cut  completely through all the layers of pasta all the way to the bottom of the pan, and cut along the sides of the pan as well.

The first piece is always the most difficult to remove and still keep structurally intact. If you have made complete cuts through the pasta layers and separated it from the sides of the pan, with a little practice you can master a clean excavation of the first piece. Dig in with that spatula and “get under it”!

Serve this with a little fresh green salad on the side. Call all your friends and loved ones to the table. They are about to have their tastebuds awed and amazed beyond the normal scope of  their collected comprehension.

I’ve been eating this Lasagna delicacy, the recipe perfected by my Moms, for around 45 years. If I was on death row, this would be my last requested meal before walking “The Green Mile” and leaving this earth. “Lasagna Verdi Alla Bolognese” is THAT freakin’ good.

Mangia Bene!

[Watch the Video Tutorial for "Rossi's Lasagna Verdi Alla Bolognese"]

Lasagna Verdi Alla Bolognese
Aaahh, look at that! Isn't that great Secondo? ~Poppa “Primo” Nick Rossi