As with many authentic Italian dishes, the way they make their lasagna in Bologna is a bit different from what you’ll find in the typical Italian restaurant in North America. A classic lasagna bolognese recipe involves layering noodles with ragù and béchamel sauces, then topping it off with heaps of cheese and baking it until golden brown. According to Venturists, while it still has plenty of meat, cheese, and sauce, Bologna’s green lasagna uses spinach noodles which give the dish an unusual pop of color. Ciao Italia further explains that lasagnas are made very thin in Bologna, with only a small amount of sauce spread between layers. In addition, cooks here refrain from using ricotta or other heavy cheeses — the only ingredients are the spinach noodles, ragù sauce, béchamel sauce, and Parmigiano Reggiano.
Although Italians aren’t picky with what type of spinach is used (even the frozen stuff should work fine), making the spinach noodles is a labor of love. Blanched spinach needs to cool and dry completely before combining it with eggs and flour to make the dough, shares Splendid Table. From there it must be processed until smooth or else it will interfere with the gluten in the dough. If you aren’t able to hop on a plane to try the real thing directly from Bologna, this green pasta dish is so delicious it may be worth trying to make at home.