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Using fresh pasta in a Lasagna

j
jill.parrish Mar 24, 2008 07:33 AM

Hello hope someone can help me!!!

Just a quick one does anyone know if i need to cook the fresh pasta before layering it to the lasagna.

Thanks for any help received.

Jill

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  1. JoanN RE: jill.parrish Mar 24, 2008 08:15 AM

    I've never made lasagna with store-bought fresh noodles, but when I make my own noodles I follow Hazan's instructions to boil them briefly, rinse individually under cold running water, and spread them on a towel to dry.

    1. ChefJune RE: jill.parrish Mar 24, 2008 08:18 AM

      No. the reason you cook the dry noodles is to make them pliable. Your fresh noodles are pliable, and ready to layer with whatever other ingredients you're using in your lasagna.

      1 Reply
      1. re: ChefJune
        JoanN RE: ChefJune Mar 24, 2008 08:34 AM

        My homemade noodles are certainly pliable, so I don't think that's the reason Hazan instructs they be boiled for a short time before using. She's clearly cooking them, not just softening them. Bugialli also has you cook homemade noodles before layering. I realize no-cook noodles aren't cooked first, but I don't recall ever having seen a recipe for homemade noodles (which I assume fresh noodles most closely resemble, no?) that don't call for cooking them first.

      2. t
        Thouarella RE: jill.parrish Mar 24, 2008 08:39 AM

        No need to cook the fresh noodles before layering into your lasagne. I always make my lasagne sheets fresh and put them straight into the lasagne. Then bake for about 45 mins. Cooks perfectly.

        1. i
          itryalot RE: jill.parrish Mar 24, 2008 09:36 AM

          This is the only way the ladies in my family make lasagna and yes, you must cook them for only a few minutes. We lay them in a large collander or on a clean tablecloth to drain the water. If you don't, they will have a gummy texture.
          When we make spinach lasagna sheets, we cook as well.

          1 Reply
          1. re: itryalot
            biondanonima RE: itryalot Sep 1, 2011 01:55 PM

            The last time I made fresh pasta for lasagne I didn't cook the noodles and the texture was a little gummy. I thought it might have been because I froze the lasagne rather than baking it immediately, and then baked it several weeks later (I'm sure that didn't help), but next time I will try a brief parboil just in case.

          2. Miss Needle RE: jill.parrish Mar 24, 2008 10:00 AM

            I don't cook my fresh pasta noodles and it has always turned out tender and not gummy. If you don't cook it, I would probably make the sauce a bit runnier than if you would have cooked the pasta.

            1. n
              Nyleve RE: jill.parrish Mar 24, 2008 10:02 AM

              I always boil fresh lasagna noodles briefly before layering. I think it improves the texture of the finished dish. I'd boil for just a minute or so, then drain and rinse.

              1 Reply
              1. re: Nyleve
                s
                soldog RE: Nyleve Sep 1, 2011 01:48 PM

                I believe the purpose of boiling fresh noodles has something (or everything) to do with removing some of the starch from the noodle - too much starch can make things pasty - I've suffered before from some under-boiled starchy noodles - really want your noodles "done" when you pull them out as oven or heat carry-over may continue to "cook" a noodle, but the scratch goes nowhere.

              2. pikawicca RE: jill.parrish Sep 1, 2011 01:54 PM

                I never boil the fresh pasta for lasagna. I roll it very thin, and immediately layer into the dish with remaining ingredients. Never gummy.

                1. k
                  kookiegoddess RE: jill.parrish Sep 2, 2011 12:17 AM

                  We found it best when we let the sheets dry out a little before precooking, the sheets only need about 30-60 min to dry out, then we just barely cooked/dipped in hot water, and this gave an excellent texture to the lasagne. Keeps much better.

                  If you don't pre-cook, the noodles keep absorbing the moisture from the ragu and that's when they get gummy. I think that if you don't precook the sheets then the lasagne needs to be eaten on the day it's made.

                  1. roxlet RE: jill.parrish Sep 2, 2011 04:05 AM

                    I have never boiled fresh lasagna noodles -- either homemade or store bought -- before using despite the advice of my idols Hazan and Bugiali. For me, I find that the noodles are perfectly tender this way, and given the long baking time for lasagna, I'd be afraid that these delicate noodles would become mushy or too fragile to cut properly. I feel it's an unnecessary extra step.

                    3 Replies
                    1. re: roxlet
                      JoanN RE: roxlet Sep 2, 2011 05:06 AM

                      I can assure you that homemade lasagna noodles that have been boiled for mere seconds are neither mushy nor too fragile to cut properly since all surface water is removed before the noodles are layered. I make Hazan's Baked Green Lasagne with Meat Sauce, Bolognese Style, at least once a year and have always washed the noodles because she says "it is necessary" (although she doesn't say why) and it never occurred to me that it might not be. Perhaps next time I'll try not washing the noodles and see if I notice a difference, although I'm rather hesitant to mess around with what one of my friends calls "the best lasagna in the world."

                      1. re: JoanN
                        roxlet RE: JoanN Sep 2, 2011 06:06 PM

                        I'll see you one great lasagna, and raise you one! That's what they call MY lasagna! Clearly, it doesn't matter, but my way is a lot less of a PITA!

                        1. re: roxlet
                          JoanN RE: roxlet Sep 2, 2011 06:38 PM

                          Game on!

                          (No question about the less of a PITA.)

                    2. AuntPlam RE: jill.parrish Sep 2, 2011 10:13 AM

                      I make homemade pasta frequently and I absolutely prefer the texture of the noodles in lasagna when they are pre-cooked as opposed to layered fresh and raw. "Pasty" is a good word to describe the resulting texture. I might give Miss Needle's idea a try and use some thinner sauce sometime, but then again if it's not broke, why fix it? :)

                      1. i
                        itryalot RE: jill.parrish Sep 2, 2011 05:59 PM

                        So, I was showing my mom this thread and I nearly had to do CPR about the not boiling. God bless Italian mamas. It is not a full boil, but a quick boil and then laid out to dry. The texture is so different and the consistency is not hard at all. In fact, since all of the components are either fully cooked or partially (noodles) it does not need to bake for hours but for an hour or less.

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