lasagne - help me figure out how to make ahead
I want to make 2 lasagne for a dinner party, with home-made noodles. I would love to prepare ahead as much as possible - I actually would love it if I could start a week early, since I have lots of time this weekend.
Should I make the entire lasagne, bake them, freeze them, then reheat for the party?
How about making all the elements and assembling the day of or the day before?
Is it possible to make nice, thin, homemade noodles a week in advance without baking the lasagne and freezing them?
Any tips would be appreciated.
By the way, I plan on parboiling the noodles before I assemble the lasagne - that's what I've done before, and they come out really silky and delicious that way.
I make ahead and freeze lasagna all the time, and it comes out great. But I use commercial lasagna noodles. I have dried overnight, then frozen, homemade noodles, and they have come out fine, too. But I've never used them in anything that I've frozen.
I don't think sauce and lasagna taste as good after freezing. Recently I made a fresh pasta (I made the dough, etc.!!) lasagna. I made the sauce a couple days ahead and refrigerated; day before I assembled everything, next evening, baked it while I made and served the salad. I thought it came out perfect. I used meatless sauce (meatballs were on the side) and put ricotta, cheeses, and homemade pesto.
I would recommend making the sauce up to a week in advance and freezing it, then defrost it when you a ready to assemble day of/day before.
Freezing cooked lasagne and then reheating can have mixed results. I've noticed that if you don't keep a close eye on it or reheat for a longer period at a lower temperature then the lasagne can be prone to drying out a bit, and the top and look a little worse for wear.
But I think making the sauce in advance then freezing it is more successful than cooking the sauce the day of - I think that the 'ageing' of the sauce makes for a better flavour.
Make and assemble the lasagne, but do not bake them. Lasagne freezes perfectly fine uncooked, and you can put it directly in the oven from the freezer. Cooked lasagne doesn't tend to freeze very gracefully.
You can freeze before baking too.
And I've made with fresh homemade pasta and did not boil the noodles first. Save the time.