The food of Emilia Romagna differs from that of the rest of the country in its richnes and complexity; Bolognese lasagna -- with its venerated meat sauce -- is no exception.
To cook pasta,add salt and 1 pound lasagna noodles(cook fresh noodles in batches of four)to a large pot of boiling water. Cook,stirring occasionally, until barely tender,1 to 2 minutes for fresh or 6 to 8minutes for dried. With tongs, transfernoodles to a bowl of very cold water to stop the cooking. Separate any thatare stuck together. Lay noodles flat onbaking sheets lined with clean kitchentowels; pat dry.
Preheat oven to 425 degrees,with rack in top third. Butter a 9-by-13-by-2-inch ceramic or glass baking dish; cover bottom with a layer of noodles. Theyshould fit snugly but not overlap. Trim to fit dish.
Spread 1 1/4 cups ragu overnoodles. Drop 2/3 cup bechamel in dollops over ragu. Gently spread bechamel with a rubber spatula. Sprinkle with1/4 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese. Repeat these layers three times.
Topwith a layer of noodles. Spread 1/3 cupbechamel on top; sprinkle with 1/3 cupcheese. Season with freshly ground pepper,and drizzle with olive oil. Bake until thelasagna is golden brown and bubbling, about25 minutes. Let stand 10 minutes beforecutting with a serrated knife.
Make the layers of ragu, bechamel, and cheese thin. The elegance of this dish comes from the varied flavors within its delicate layers.