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Lasagna Q: Does it work if you don't boil the noodles?

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kotatsu Sep 30, 2003 12:18 PM

I searched the lasagna threads, but didn't see anything specifically addressing this. I've heard from various sources that you can make a perfectly good lasagna without boiling the noodles before-hand. Is this true or just urban myth? I would try it myself, but before I commit a full set of ingredients, I thought I would tap your collective expertise. thanks very much!

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    Natasa Sevoleva RE: kotatsu Sep 30, 2003 12:29 PM

    There are "no-boil" pastas available on the market today. None have the taste or especially the texture pasta should have.

    If you are to use a 'regular' dry lasagna noodle for lasagna al forno I would recommend that the sauce, at least, has enough liquid to allow the pasta to absorb the liquid and cook. Some attempts may come out that your lasagna al forno is too dry. Add some liquid of choice prior to baking. Adding water to the sauce is one option.
    Otherwise not pre-boiling the noodles makes for a better presentation in that the lasagna al forno, after a short rest out of the oven, can be cut into the bricks that so many like to see. The texture of the pasta may also be more pleasant if you tweak a good recipe...

    2 Replies
    1. re: Natasa Sevoleva
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      bryan RE: Natasa Sevoleva Sep 30, 2003 06:11 PM

      I've been making lasange for years without boiling the noodles and have to respectfully disagree with you on the sauce issue. The thicker the sauce, a bolognese-like sauce, is best.

      The essential thing, I believe, is to let your lasange sit overnight in the fridge, and start in a slow oven, 300 for about an hour and move the heat up to 375, covered for 15 minutes, uncovered another 15 minutes.

      1. re: bryan
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        Natasa Sevoleva RE: bryan Sep 30, 2003 06:47 PM

        I agree that a good "bolognese-like sauce" should work well. Your cooking method is a good one as well.

        I stated:
        "I would recommend that the sauce, at least, has enough liquid..."
        Enough liquid is subjective.

        My response was geared to no recipe. I make several different 'variations' of lasagna al forno. Even a variation of what other posters here call 'American lasagna' and one that uses a béchamel and others. Some of my 'sauce' isn't really sauce. As much as I would like to call it meat sauce it is really sautéed ground meat with some, but very little liquid (reduced liquids include tomatoes, white wine, etc.). I could not use this 'sauce' in a 'no-boiled noodle' lasagna al forno. There isn't enough liquid. But if I use my "bolognese-like sauce", I would/should have no problem, as you state.

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      JudiAU RE: kotatsu Sep 30, 2003 12:29 PM

      People on the boards disagree.

      I think it works quite well, as long as you make it quite saucy so the noodles have enough liquid to absorb. This only works with noodles which don't require par-boiling and it only makes Italian lasagna (sauce, bechamel, thiner), not the thicker Italian-American type (lots of ricotta, lots of meat, lots of cheese).

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        jlawrence01 RE: kotatsu Sep 30, 2003 01:57 PM

        I NEVER boil the noodles. Also, I don't add a lot of extra sauce.

        I generally assemble the lasagna using REGULAR uncooked noodles. Then, I cover the pan with plastic wrap and then aluminum foil. I cook the lasagna until it is almost done. Them I revive both the wrap and foil, top the cassarole with a layer of cheese and bake for the last 10 minutes.

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          Ellen RE: kotatsu Sep 30, 2003 02:30 PM

          I've used the Barilla no-cook lasagna sheets and they work fine for lasagna. But I really like them because they fit perfectly into a loaf pan, which allows me to make a much smaller and deeper lasagna to serve one or two without excessive leftovers. You will need to cook a lasagna in this kind of dish long enough to make sure it's cooked through -- and also allow it to stand long enough once out of the oven to make sure it sets before you serve.

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            ciaolette RE: kotatsu Sep 30, 2003 02:37 PM

            I am posting a link to the previous Lasagne no bake Noodle discussion below. Check it out.
            I have found my own preference when making "american" style lasagne is to briefly parboil the noodles till they are pliable, but not so soft that they tear. They are much easier to assemble, don't stick together, and don't need to bake so long to be tender.
            I have made Lasagne starting with completely uncooked noodles, layering them with extra moist sauce and cooking the 1st half hour covered in foil, which helps to keep the moisture in. To fully cook this way takes at least 45-60 minutes, by which time your other ingredients( spinach/ricotta etc) are way overcooked. The texture and flavor of the noodles was good, though.

            Link: http://www.chowhound.com/topics/show/...

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              Caitlin McGrath RE: kotatsu Sep 30, 2003 04:56 PM

              I've done this many times when making "American-style" lasagna (tomato sauce, ricotta, mozzarella), and I've never used the no-boil lasagne noodles. Just make sure your dry noodles are not too thick and that you use plenty of sauce, but that your sauce is not watery. I think it helps to assemble some hours ahead of time and refrigerate, so the noodles get a head start on softening, and start the lasagna covered with foil. It's not an ideal solution, but it saves time. Just remember, watery sauce=watery lasagna.

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                Browniebaker RE: kotatsu Sep 30, 2003 05:40 PM

                Cooking for family, I hardly ever boil lasagna noodles, and I use only the regular lasagna noodles (that call for boiling on the package).

                My "lazy" lasagna uses four layers of noodles (that is, 12 noodles total), one pound cooked sausage or meatballs, one 26-ounce jar of marinara sauce, three cups medium-thick bechamel sauce, one pound sliced mozzarella, and 1/2 cup grated Parmesan, and -- here's the trick -- 1-1/2 CUPS WATER.

                I layer the casserole as I normally would, pour in the 1-1/2 cups water jsut before baking, cover tightly with foil, and bake for 50 minutes. Then I remove the foil, lay some reserved mozzarella on top, and bake for 10 minutes more. When I remove it from the oven, I cover with foil again and -- here's the other trick -- let it sit for TWO HOURS, to let the water completely absorb into the pasta.

                Sometimes I layer in ingredients such as sliceed raw button mushrooms, raw chopped spinach, and chopped parsley, and get good results.

                This makes a pretty good lasagna for family meals, worth the savings in effort in time.

                1. b
                  Browniebaker RE: kotatsu Sep 30, 2003 05:40 PM

                  Cooking for family, I hardly ever boil lasagna noodles, and I use only the regular lasagna noodles (that call for boiling on the package).

                  My "lazy" lasagna uses four layers of noodles (that is, 12 noodles total), one pound cooked sausage or meatballs, one 26-ounce jar of marinara sauce, three cups medium-thick bechamel sauce, one pound sliced mozzarella, and 1/2 cup grated Parmesan, and -- here's the trick -- 1-1/2 CUPS WATER.

                  I layer the casserole as I normally would, pour in the 1-1/2 cups water jsut before baking, cover tightly with foil, and bake for 50 minutes. Then I remove the foil, lay some reserved mozzarella on top, and bake for 10 minutes more. When I remove it from the oven, I cover with foil again and -- here's the other trick -- let it sit for TWO HOURS, to let the water completely absorb into the pasta.

                  Sometimes I layer in ingredients such as sliced raw button mushrooms, raw chopped spinach, and chopped parsley, and get good results.

                  This makes a pretty good lasagna for family meals, worth the savings in effort in time.

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