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

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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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  1. n
    Natasa Sevoleva

    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

      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
        n
        Natasa Sevoleva

        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.

    2. 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).

      1. 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.

        1. 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.

          1. 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/...