MUST YOU COOK FRESH LASAGNE SHEETS BEFORE ASSEMBLY?
Please tell me no... I'm making lasagne for 24. If I make sure my sauce is pretty liquid, can't I just use them from fresh without boiling them first?
No boiling fresh lasagne sheets for me, they cook perfectly in the oven while baking the lasagne.
You also don't want your sauce to be too liquid otherwise you'll wind up with lasagna soup. I always use just my regular, somewhat thick tomato sauce and the noodles come out perfectly. It really takes very little "liquid" to cook these noodles. Remember, if you were to boil fresh noodles, they would be ready in minutes.
Jfood will take a different position and has done both ways after making the pasta sheets and he finds the boiled sheets are much better. for some reason the noodles had a better texture and felt more cooked after a couple of minutes in the hot water bath. Granted 24 is a lot, prob three 9*12 pyrexes, but the end result is worth the extra 30 minutes.
BTW, it creates a freakin' mess in the process with 3 sheets at a time for 90 seconds and then onto wax paper and be careful about having the wax paper too close to the flame, yes it does ignite, been there done that. :-))
If you want to make really good lasagne like you have in Italy, then you have to precook them. Pasta like lasagne sheets are not made to be cooked in sauce, whatever the producer tells you.
If you are organized it's not difficult. You need a slotted spoon, a large pasta pan with boiling salted water. You then need plastic gloves and a colander.
Bring the water to the boil and add one-two tablespoons of olive oil. In a 5 quart pan I cook ten sheets at the time. Drop the sheets in the pan. If they are fresh you will have to "fish " them out after 30 sec or when the water gets back to the boil. If they are dry then you might need one minute. Transfer the sheets on a colander and then, using gloves place them on a worktop to cool off, well separated from each other.
Assemble a first pan with the precooked sheets, then proceed cooking some more sheets and go on. Lasagne freeze well, so you can make them in advance, defreeze the night before and baked them 45 min. before you need them.
To see what I mean for good lasagne, please look at my recipe
and here you find some comments