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Lasagna with FRESH Mozzarella?

I have never used fresh mozzarella with lasagna before, but I bought a really delicious double pack at Costco and thought I should actually do something with it besides stuffing the whole thing in my mouth :-D

Here is my question, if I use this mozzarella, should I omit the ricotta? They both taste so similar. Or should I just heavily season the ricotta?

I could really use some advice

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  1. My chief concern about fresh mozzarella in this dish would be the moisture content. Ricotta is itself a moist cheese, but mozzarella actually precipitates something more or less like water when cooked.

    You'd have to make a guess about how wet the mozza is and then try to reduce the moisture that you usually have in your dish before cooking. You might even consider pressing some moisture out first (like putting the cheese in a strainer and then resting some canned goods or other weight on them for a few hours).

    Omitting ricotta might be effective, but you can expect that the mozzarella will not melt and mix with other elements, like sauce, as well. You'd end up with more distinct separation between cheese and sauce in the interior. I don't think the substitution wouldn't call for significant seasoning changes, although the mozzarella might well have less salt (salt varies more in fresh mozzarellas than it does in ricottas, in my experience).

    1. I am thinking it might be okay to use the fresh mozzarella on the top of the lasagna, and don't cover the lasagna while baking? Sort of like how fresh mozz can be used on pizza and not make it too overly soggy...

      But you'll still get some water leakage from it, I suppose. Maybe try pressing as much water out of the fresh mozzarella as possible before using?

      1. I love using fresh mozzarella. I cut it into slices and press between paper towels first. And, I use a thick-ish bechamel sauce instead of ricotta.

        5 Replies
        1. re: chowser

          I made a lasagna with fresh mozzarella just last weekend and did not worry or bother to press out excess liquid. I had two globes of fresh mozzarella in the refrigerator that needed to be used so I decide to use them on a whim. Like chowser, I opted for a more classic bechamel instead of ricotta and topped the whole thing freshly grated parmesan cheese.

          Results: great lasagna that was finished before the day was out by the troops.

          However, I prefer ricotta with egg and fresh herbs so it probably will not be a staple in my lasagna recipe, which tends to change every time I make it!

          1. re: chowser

            There's a similar recipe in Giuliano Bugialli's first book. I don't have the time to hunt it down now, but it's basically what chowser says, except it's got a peculiar meat sauce (nothing tomato except a T of paste). I'll look it up when I get home.

            1. re: Jay F

              I would love it if you could post the recipe. It sounds like a great dish for meat eaters. Thanks!

              1. re: chowser

                chowser, I am reading this for the first time in May of 2013, nearly three years after you wrote it, so I'm not sure if you're interested any longer.

                Here's a copy I found online of the recipe for Giuliano Bugialli's Lasagne al Forno:

                http://www.recipesecrets.net/forums/r...

                You can also find the book it came from for a really good price, with free shipping, at thriftbooks.com.

                It's called The Fine Art of Italian Cooking:

                http://www.thriftbooks.com/searchresu...

                http://www.thriftbooks.com/viewdetail...

                Hope this helps.

                1. re: Jay F

                  Blast from the past and I can't remember asking. But a good lasagna recipe can't be beat--thanks. I've never had chicken breast in lasagna. I might use thighs instead. Funny how things change. Back then, I was really into making pasta from scratch and was doing a lot of lasagna (too lazy to cut the noodles probably). I can't remember the last time I've done it.

          2. I'm actually not a huge fan of melting fresh mozzarella - I feel like it exudes too much liquid and becomes tough, and my favorite thing about fresh mozz is its lovely soft texture. My favorite thing to do with it is make a riff on caprese - I use either cherry/grape tomatoes or plum tomatoes cut into smallish chunks, and roast them at 375 with salt and olive oil until they're softened and caramelizing on the edges. I usually add some chopped garlic and herbs about halfway through roasting, and deglaze with some white wine if the tomatoes are too dry or the juices are burning. Then I slice the mozzarella, add some warm tomatoes, and top with a dollop of pesto. The tomatoes warm the mozzarella just enough without melting it. DIVINE.

            1. I always use fresh mozz (probably from the same as the double pack that you buy), never use ricotta, do use bechamel. The lasagna is always good.. And while I love fresh mozz fresh, I also love the way it melts.