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Dec 17, 2008 06:43 PM

Fresh Pasta Lasagna and Mac n Cheese Question

For Christmas dinner at a friend's place, I'm going to bring a lasagna (Marcella Hazan's Bolognese but w/plain fresh pasta, not green) and Ina's Mac n Cheese. Once before I made a fresh pasta lasagna but with ricotta and baked it about 45 minutes. I just checked Mazan's recipe and she says to bake no more than 15 minutes at 400 (says to increase temp if not browning after 5 minutes). Is that all it takes, 15 minutes???

The mac n cheese takes 35 minutes at 375. I'm making them the day before, then refrigerating. My friend has only 1 oven. Should I just bake the mac n cheese first and then the lasagna? Or, should I bake the mac n cheese the day before then just reheat it the day of?


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  1. Fresh pasta cooks much faster than dried pasta and, inasmuch as the sauce for lasagna is typically added while it's still quite warm, 15 to 20 minutes doesn't sound out of place. However, if you baked it five or ten minutes longer to achieve a nicely browned top it probably wouldn't hurt.

    1. Bake both the day before and reheat in friend's oven, both should be a room temperature before going in the oven for reheating, reheat at 350. Likely you can fit both in the oven at the same time for the reheating.

      1. If you're making fresh pasta lasagna without precooking the noodles, I'd say go with your previous experience. In a 400 oven , I doubt that it would be bubbling (and hence hot enough to cook the noodles in the middle) in much less than 40 minutes. I usually start out covered (to avoid overdrying the top layer, then uncover at about 25 minutes, add the last of the cheese on top, and continue baking until browned.

        If you use hot parcooked noodles, make it with heated sauce, and put it right into the oven, it would obviously take much less time, maybe 15 minutes would work

        2 Replies
        1. re: knecht

          I'm going to make it the day before. I make the pasta dough, roll it out with Kitchenaid attachment and quickly boil then pat dry as per instructions in Marcella Hazan's book. Has anyone (JFood??) followed this recipe and only baked for 15 minutes? I just have to decide if I'll do the baking part once I get to friend's house. (Marcella writes that that's ok.)

          1. re: walker

            I've made the recipe often and more often than not I make it a day or two before baking. The pasta is ethereally thin and all you're really doing is warming everything up. I make sure the lasagne is at room temp, I start with the oven at about 425F and then turn it up after 10 minutes, as she suggests, if the crust isn't beginning to form. I may sometimes have cooked it for as long as 20 minutes, but certainly not longer than that.

        2. Don't cover and store the lasagna, cooked or not cooked, with aluminum foil.

          2 Replies
          1. re: yayadave

            Why not foil? I was going to use plastic wrap first and then foil, then, of course, remove all before baking.

            1. re: walker

              The acid in the tomatoes will attack the aluminum. I suppose if you have plastic wrap on first, then there would be no actual contact between the tomato sauce and the aluminum.

          2. I got curious myself about the 15 minute baking time. I did not believe you!! So I pulled out her book and sure enough it sez that! Maybe because there are no cold cheese to deal and plenty of hot bolognese and bechamel there is no need for long cooking (and you do not have to cook the noodles). 15 minutes should be plenty of time to meld the juices and noodles and get it bubbly. I would crank it up to 450 at the last to get a good crust. Now if you make it early and reheat... who knows. She does not talk about reheating. Shedevil!

            3 Replies
            1. re: Sal Vanilla

              I'm going to assemble it all the day before, then allow to come to room temp. In my book she says you can do this and then bake as instructed before, no more than 15 minutes but somehow I think it should take longer to really heat thru.

              1. re: walker

                Trust her. It doesn't. Take much longer than 15 minutes, that is. After going to the trouble of making that pasta, the last thing you want is for it to be overcooked. At least try it her way once. If it doesn't work for you then you can play around with it. But it's Marcella. Don't you think that if her recipes didn't work as written we've have heard about it by now? ;-)

                1. re: JoanN

                  I agree I felt I should trust her but my gut said it would not be heated thru in 15 minutes -- maybe my oven experience is different. That's why I asked here if others have done this for only 15 min. -- I was shocked when I read that part. (It's too much trouble & expense to make a "practice" one before next week.)