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albie

Lasagne: Doing it Right

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I've had variable results with this classic baked pasta dish, but somehow mastery and consistency has eluded me. When served on the day of its preparation, it's quite often soupy and formless, whereas reheating on subsequent days yields a firmer yet still moist result. May I assume that baking the dish uncovered and/or draining the ricotta mitigate will the soupiness but without making the final result too dry and brick-like?

I avoid most commercial, curly edged noodles because I find the result unacceptably thick, heavy and gummy, and have had some decent results from the thinner Barilla-type layers. The one disadvantage to use of the latter is, when layered dry, they tend to curl up unattractively. Would it be better to pre-boil them briefly? And can the uncooked pasta method be used with homemade pasta?

I would heartily welcome any suggestions/hints/etc. you may care to offer.

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I usually do both....start it covered to cook everything through, and then uncover to start the evaporation of liquid and the crisping of the top layer....but that is just me


"Make me some mignardises, &*%$@!" -Mateo

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I do a bit of a variation on Bicycle Lee's suggestion. First I spray non-stick cooking spray on the side of the foil facing the lasgane so that the cheese doesn't stick to it. Then during the first half of cooking time the lasagne is covered, but with a corner of the foil left up to vent out some steam. Then I remove the cover and finish baking.

Also, I use no-boil lasagne noodles to make it that much easier. I usually use Ronzoni or Muller's. I once saw an episode of Emeril where he said you could get away with using uncooked lasagne noodles (not the no-boil type, regular lasagne noodles), especially if you're going to pre-make the lasagne and freeze it before you bake it.


Edited by ellencho (log)

Believe me, I tied my shoes once, and it was an overrated experience - King Jaffe Joffer, ruler of Zamunda

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Both... Start with your dish covered until almost completely cooked through and uncover to brown. I find it helpful to either spray foil with food release spray or to cover first with film and then foil to avoid pulling off the cheese.


Tobin

It is all about respect; for the ingredient, for the process, for each other, for the profession.

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If you bake in ceramic, there's no worries about sticking. You also get a more consisent, enveloping heat in ceramic. I like to make lasagna bolognese with fresh pasta, very thin layers. Its actually quite delicate and very delicious. Cover for most of the time, and then uncover for brownig.

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...I spray non-stick cooking spray on the side of the foil facing the lasgane so that the cheese doesn't stick to it.

You can also use Reynold's Release Wrap which is aluminum foil with a non-stick surface on one side of the foil.


 

“Peter: Oh my god, Brian, there's a message in my Alphabits. It says, 'Oooooo.'

Brian: Peter, those are Cheerios.”

– From Fox TV’s “Family Guy”

 

Tim Oliver

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thanks, all...... anyone have an opinion on the advisability (or otherwise) of not pre-boiling fresh (homemade) pasta before assembling the lasagne?

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If we are talking Italian, boil the lasagne for 8-10 minutes and cool.

Layer and cook uncovered. It should not be soupy and some more flour in the sauces may be necessary.

Some restaurants serve it sizzling hot, but this is a mistake. Let it rest and serve it a bit cooler. If it is firm and well seasoned, it is nice tepid - Greek style.

I understand that home made lasagne should be pre-boiled, as well. Only about 4 minutes though.

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thanks, all...... anyone have an opinion on the advisability (or otherwise) of not pre-boiling fresh (homemade) pasta before assembling the lasagne?

I usually preboil the pasta until it's about half done. The noodles will continue to absorb moisture in the oven, and if they're fully cooked before going into the oven, then they'll be overcooked (to my taste anyway) when done. I do the same with mac & cheese. If they're not cooked at all before going into the oven, you might end up with some undercooked and dry bits. I also usually bake the lasagna uncovered. I agree that serving it piping hot is not best, but then I also think it's sometimes better as leftovers out of the fridge the next day.


"I think it's a matter of principle that one should always try to avoid eating one's friends."--Doctor Dolittle

blog: The Institute for Impure Science

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