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Old 09-06-2015, 10:18 AM   #1
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ISO help/advice preparing lasagna

I've never managed to make a decent beef lasagne before in fact they've turned out really awful. This time I am going to use a bottle of ready made sauce instead of making my own. However, one thing I'm curious to know.. should I put the pasta sheets into boiling water for a few minutes before using them in the recipe?

Your help will be much appreciated. Thankyou.

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Old 09-06-2015, 10:27 AM   #2
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I've been making lasagna for years and have always used a recipe from a family member who comes from Italy.

She always cooks the noodles first, then places them on a clean, dry towel and pats them dry. One of the culprits to failed lasagna is too much moisture. It is surprising how much can come from the noodles.

Real lasagna should come out of the pan like a piece of cake when it is cut...all one nice piece.

As for cooking the noodles, don't cook them to mush. Cook them al dente (to the tooth), which means they have some firmness to them when you bite into them. You don't want them too soft because they'll cook more when the dish is baked.
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Old 09-06-2015, 10:31 AM   #3
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What was it about your lasagna that you didn't like?
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Old 09-06-2015, 10:44 AM   #4
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Are you using traditional noodles or the no-boil ready to use noodles? Regardless, I have always placed both in boiling water, just a matter of time difference. For the traditional noodle I've always used about 2/3 of time noted in box cooking directions. For the no-boil noodles, just basically a quick 30-second r so dunk. I always lay out on paper towels and pat dry. I've found the no-boil noodles don't taste done to us if they don't get at least 30 seconds.

Ina Garten used the no-boil noodles on a recent show and she dunked them in a sheet pan that she had poured boiling water into, then dried them. That did look easier than trying to fish them out of a pan with boiling water.
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Old 09-06-2015, 10:58 AM   #5
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Even though I use the no boil noodles, I boil the lasagna noodles so they are soft and pliable when I construct the lasagna. It's easier to handle them that way.
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Old 09-06-2015, 11:29 AM   #6
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I'm a noodle boiler!

This thread will give you some good information.

Luca’s meat lasagna easy recipe – Franca’s style

Good luck!
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Old 09-06-2015, 11:31 AM   #7
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emmaline - you may find ready made sauces a bit on the sweet side. I dislike them for their sugar content.
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Old 09-06-2015, 01:45 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Katie H View Post
I've been making lasagna for years and have always used a recipe from a family member who comes from Italy.

She always cooks the noodles first, then places them on a clean, dry towel and pats them dry. One of the culprits to failed lasagna is too much moisture. It is surprising how much can come from the noodles.

Real lasagna should come out of the pan like a piece of cake when it is cut...all one nice piece.

As for cooking the noodles, don't cook them to mush. Cook them al dente (to the tooth), which means they have some firmness to them when you bite into them. You don't want them too soft because they'll cook more when the dish is baked.
Quote:
Originally Posted by GotGarlic View Post
What was it about your lasagna that you didn't like?
The answer to that question GG was in Katie's post.. it came out all mushy.. obviously because I hadn't dried the sheets off properly it seems.

Quote:
Originally Posted by creative View Post
emmaline - you may find ready made sauces a bit on the sweet side. I dislike them for their sugar content.
I am aware of the nutritional ingredients as I log all my food because I count calories etc. in order to try to lose some more weight.

Thanks for all your replies.
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Old 09-06-2015, 02:03 PM   #9
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emmaline - I think you have misunderstood Katie H's advice. If the lasagna came out "all mushy" then it's not due to drying the sheets but too overcooking them in the first place. "Al dente" means that the pasta should still be firm when you bite into the pasta, i.e. not too soft.

Patting the sheets dry would just mean less watery fillings.
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Old 09-06-2015, 02:32 PM   #10
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I have 2 rules when making the lasagna.
I usually do ( from the bottom up) a little sauce, noodle layer, meat layer ( Not real meat cause Im veg, but really not important here), Another noodle layer, Cheese layer ( ricotta), Another noodle layer, then sauce on top. Bake till hot through and through. Last few minutes Mozzarella on top.

I agree with the noodles a little a la dente , as they will continue to cook and soften through the baking process.

My first rule, is that the cheese is the upper layer. I find when it is one of the lower layers, it kinda squirts out from all the pressure of everything on top of it.

My second rule, is it is good to let it sit a bit after you cook it. It seems to hold together better after it sits, than when it is immediately out of the oven.

And in reference to another ongoing thread, Lasagna is great the next day cold/ or room temp. ( or at least it is to me )
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