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Lasagna Noodles

Made lasanga with the no boil pasta sheets, everyone saying they're great.
Bought three dif brands, used the Barille, but the taste and texture
doesn't come close to the experience of the dried pasta sheet, boiled.
I've never made my own pasta so can't comment on that taste experience.
Did I try the wrong brand or are those no pre-cooking pastas just
a not so tasty convenience?
And..one friend claims that if I heavily sauce traditional dried
pasta, I don't have to pre-cook it when making lasagna. Any experience with this notion?

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  1. I've tried to over-sauce a non-boiled lasagna sheet twice, and both times I'm pretty sure I failed miserably. The last time, my SO forced me to toss it and order in Chinese instead. I've made lasagna before sucessfully, but I think this is one short-cut to avoid.

    Unfortunately, I've never tried the no-boil pasta sheets before so I can't help you there. Sorry

    1 Reply
    1. re: ubermasonfan

      I've had some success cooking spaghetti directly in sauce, it results in pasta
      absorbing the flavors like a risotto. But in lasagna I would imagine
      pasta would have to swim in the sauce.

    2. I buy regular lasagna noodles and never boil them first. Mine always turns out great.

      DT

      3 Replies
      1. re: Davwud

        I too have always used "regular" DeCecco noodles and have not boiled them first, but have used a sufficiently liquid sauce between layers and sufficiently long cooking time. Never had a problem, and it always turns out great.

        1. re: DonnyMac

          I've also never had runny lasagna either.

          DT

        2. I've used the no-boil lasagna noodles, most recently this past weekend, and found them to be fine, at least as good as the ones that are cooked. I thought the overall texture of the lasagna a little drier than normal but I don't like sloppy pastas so this was OK with me. You can compensate for the dryness by making your sauce a bit runnier than normal.

          No commercial pasta can compare with homemade lasagna noodles IMO.

          1. Actually, I believe many people find the no boil sheets seem to capture a tad more closely the feeling of fresh pasta (lasagne are the easiest pasta to make fresh, btw).

            3 Replies
              1. re: serious

                I've used Barilla and Ronzoni (the latter brand usually wins the Cooks Illustrated pasta tasting tests over non-artisinal Italian dried pasta, which is made with North American wheat anyway).

                No boil lasagne are, when fully cooked, a bit softer, even silkier (if you get moisture content right) than normal dried lasagne. If you make your dish very deep and heavy, as many Americans tend to do (unlike Italy, where lasagne are more likely to be used fresh and in lighter preparations), that can be less stable than the dried pasta.

              2. re: Karl S

                I actually agree with this. I use Barilla. Less squishy then the preboiled.

              3. I prefer the no-boil noodles not only because of the convenience but because they seem to be thinner than the dried ones. And I like that the lasagna comes out drier also.

                2 Replies
                1. re: Janet from Richmond

                  I agree entirely. I usually use Barilla and like them a lot.

                  1. re: C. Hamster

                    I also like that they are thinner and FLAT unlike those frilly boil noodles... :P

                2. I used the Barilla and will try again since I bought two boxes. Also have Delverde and Antica Pasteria, which has to be refrigerated. Both Italian brands. Will report back when I've tried all of them.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: serious

                    Made a second lasagna using Antica Pasteria sheets, no boil, and
                    the result is better than Barilla.

                  2. I never boil noodles for lasagna. It's too much trouble with no perceptible difference in results. For me, the secret is to make whatever sauce tops the lasagna a little thinner and wetter than I would use with boiled pasta. The extra moisture softens the no-boil lasagna noodles and prevents the dish from drying out. As for brand of noodles, I prefer Barilla for white and Gia Russa for whole wheat.

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: silverbear

                      Where do you buy the whole wheat lasagna noodles? I have checked several Whole Foods stores and Rainbow Grocery and have not found them.

                      1. re: hassasu

                        I find ww lasagna noodles in regular grocery stores, but never WF. I find it frustrating to find so many brands there, wheat free, organic, but not whole wheat.

                    2. I like no-boil lasagna but ended up with a couple packages of regular in my pantry.

                      My first batch of lasagna without boiling those noodles was a little chewy.

                      The second try, on someone's advice (can't remember whose), I soaked the regular lasagna noodles in hot water for a few minutes before layering them in with the sauce (extra, or thinned, as suggested by others) -- it worked great.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: Dizzied

                        I did the soaking method (on no-boil noodles) last time I made a CI recipe for mushroom lasagna (soaking was per the recipe). I thought it improved the texture of the noodles quite a bit... and kept the lasagna as a whole slightly more moist.. which can somewhat be a problem, in my experience, with the no-boil noodles.

                      2. My lasagna method that I have used for years with great success is to make it the night before. I have used both no-boil, fresh and regular lasagna noodles. I do not pre-cook any of these noodles.

                        Make the lasagna and put it in the frig. Bring it to room temp the next day and bake as usual. I find that by doing this, I don't get as watery a lasagna when it is cut into and the squares stay together pretty well.

                        1. I use Barilla regular noodles, and fill a large cooking pot half way with hot water. I put the lasagna noodles in the hot water for 10min.

                          I then assemble my lasagna.

                          I got this tip from Ina Garten, and love it, as I don't like any no boil brands.

                          1. What I do, and I got this from Ina Garten, is soak regular dried lasagna noodles in very hot tap water (not boiling) for maybe 20 minutes, then assemble the lasagne making sure the sauce covers all surfaces...but you don't have to make it swim in sauce either. It has always come out very well for me, I will not go back to boiling!

                            1. Wow, we did that at the same time!

                              1. I kinda prefer the regular boiled ones, they taste a little better and they are definitely more flexible in building the lasagne. I normally cook about five minutes less than the directions and let the sauce and the oven finish off. The trick to the whole boiled noodle process is laying them out on waxed paper while you build. I used to have a horrible time if i left them in the colander while i built the lasagne. they always stuck and ripped apart.

                                1. I was brought up with regular noodles, regular amount of sauce, and pouring some extra amount of water into the corners of the lasagna pan. Of course I never remember how much water it actually is, and the darn thing never comes out right. But mom's always did. Sigh.

                                  1. I've used the Barilla, but I go back to the Ronzoni. Sometimes, I just put them in uncooked, sometimes I put the noodles in briefly cooked. I didn't like the Barilla at all because I found they just didn't fit into my pan well...and as KarlS. said, I tend to overstuff my lasagne layers.

                                    That said, the Ronzoni are sturdy enough to hold up to the fillings that I use. I always thin down my sauce, so it's more soupy than anything else. And, I keep it covered for the entire cooking time, and broil the top briefly to brown.

                                    I think the secret to lasagne is to let it rest for at least 15 minutes (this is when I make the bread or plate the salads) so all the juicy-ness gets absorbed. Otherwise, I tend to have a sloppy mess that's better off served in bowls, rather than plates.

                                    1. I don't like the flavor or texture of no-boil lasagna at all.

                                      Using regular lasgna sheets are just fine to use as long as you have plently of sauce and keep it tightly covered with foil for the majority of the baking time.

                                      1. If you can find frozen pasta sheets (restaurant supply, don't know about retail) they taste just like homemade. Haven't made my own since I discovered these. Just thaw them out, cut with scissor to fit your pan (they are the size of a half sheet pan) and wait for the accolades! Obviously you can use these for other pastas too. I'm going to try ravioli soon.

                                        1 Reply
                                        1. re: coll

                                          -----

                                          I got some of those once and they were awful tasting. But something about the taste struck me as something rather familiar.

                                          So I went back and looked over the ingredients and looked over a frozen pie crust from my freezer. They both had strikingly similar ingredients.

                                          My supplier no longer carries frozen pasta (flat-plain) because of that major disaster.

                                          -----

                                        2. I make my lasagna with fresh lasagna sheets and don't cook them in advance. Works out perfectly, I think.

                                          1. I only use Barilla no-boil pasta sheets for my lasagna. I love the delicate texture that seems close to fresh pasta to me. I wonder why you didn't like it.

                                            There are only a couple of tricks to using it. The pasta needs fluid to absorb, so I use more sauce than with regular noodles and make sure sauce is contacting the whole surface of the noodle. This is one of the reasons it's so good. The fluid it gets to absorb is sauce, not water as is the case with regular noodles that you boil - there is much more hearty flavor.

                                            Second, and you probably know and did this: you have to cover it really tightly with foil to hold in the moisture so the noodles can cook in the juice.

                                            No way I would use regular dried pasta uncooked. I tried it once and it was horrible.

                                            1. I am resurecting (sp?) this thread in the hopes that somebody can help me out.

                                              I've never made lasagna before in my life. But, now I want to try the 9/06 CI recipe for mushroom lasagna. They call for no boil noodles. So, I come to chowhound to do a bit of research on no boil noodles. There doesn't seem to be a lot of love for them (albeit, there are mixed reports).

                                              I can easily make lasagna noodles, so am considering just doing that. Do I need to alter a recipe at all if I simply make the noodles from scratch? Any suggestions how I should alter it?

                                              Any advice appreciated!

                                              3 Replies
                                              1. re: Smokey

                                                Let's start with it being your first time making lasgne. There should be no fear because not a whole lot can go wrong. So there's too much cheese, too little cheese of not enough goodies.

                                                You are very brave using homemades for your first try, but hey go for it. I use a regular recipe for dough, and thin it to the next to last setting on my atlas machine (i like that thickness).

                                                Then you build it like you would if you were using no-boil or boil noodles.

                                                From the bottom:

                                                Sauce, noodles, cheese and stuff, sauce, noodles, cheese...until you build your masterpiece.

                                                I bake mine at 350 for 45 minutes cover with aluminum foil and remove the foil for the last 15-20.

                                                Voila

                                                1. re: jfood

                                                  Thanks, jfood! I think of lasagna as something that *should* be easy. But then, you end up getting served some amazingly bad lasagna (think soup) and you realize there are ways to f*** up.

                                                2. re: Smokey

                                                  Hey, Smokey, if you're still getting responses to this by email. I just posted on the new 'Easy Lasagne' thread about Delaverde no boil sheets--I think they're the best because they're so thin. Here's some links to check out:
                                                  http://tinyurl.com/yewlhhm
                                                  http://moltobuono.com/deprla.html (great price! on sale

                                                  )

                                                  And, a great idea of how to use the Delaverde provided lasagne pans!
                                                  http://tinyurl.com/y962tkp

                                                  It's an older Fine Cooking--(hands down, the best cooking mag available in my view)--article. You need to subscribe to get the whole thing, but the intro & pic provides the idea.

                                                3. Trying to bump this back up. Any advice on home made lasagna noodles and how to incorporate them into a lasagna dish that calls for no boil?

                                                  1. Just use them as is, starting with sauce on the bottom, pasta next, etc. One tip: don't overlap the bottom layer AT ALL. It won't get tender where it is doubled up. I learned this the hard way.

                                                    6 Replies
                                                    1. re: rabaja

                                                      So you don't cook the homemade noodles at all? Or do you briefly boil them?

                                                      1. re: chowser

                                                        Nope, no cooking necessary before they go in the oven, all layered up. The moisture from the sauce and ingredients will cook the pasta. Just make sure it's not too thick if you're rolling it out yourself. Second to last dial on a pasta machine sounds about right, although they do vary.

                                                        1. re: rabaja

                                                          Thanks--so not thin enough to see through. That's good to know--I would have made them as thin as possible. I'll let you all know how it goes!

                                                          1. re: rabaja

                                                            I use second from thinnest and no pre-cook. right into the lasagne pan.

                                                            1. re: jfood

                                                              Sounds good. Do you make them 13" to go lengthwise or 9" to go widthwise? It seems like 9" would be easier to roll out. I'm really excited about doing this now, w/ a bechamel and light tomato sauce.

                                                              1. re: chowser

                                                                I wish I were that good. Whatever comes out of the machine. My pan looks like a patchwork quilt, but no one sees it. The beauty of lasagne. If you get a couple of good rolls, save them for the top layer, no one sees the tweenies.

                                                                That Bech and Tom sauce looked great. good luck

                                                      2. I use any pasta made from Italy. Usually either Barilla or De Cecco. I have made lasagna for decades, and used to always cook the noodles. Then I tried not cooking them before, and they turned out FINE. I never use the thinner, no-cook kind. I do tend to use a lot of sauce and cheeses, and sometimes veggies or lots of savory meats, so I am sure it depends on HOW you make your dish. Plus, I like my lasagna firm-we're not fond of "smooshy" noodles. Of course, always let the dish sit for a good 15 mins or so...at least I've always had success that way. Good luck! O=:)

                                                        1. When I use no boil lasagna noodles, I make lasagna in my slow cooker. Yes you can do this. The advantage is that all of the liquid stays in the pot and so it cooks the noodles perfectly. I layer the noodles and the ricotta (or other filling) and sauce in exactly the same way I would if I were baking it in the oven. Then I set the cooker on "warm" and leave for six hours or so. If you want the brown bubbly cheese, pop it under the broiler for a few minutes. It's the ultimate "fix it and forget it" dish.