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Jun 7, 2012 08:44 AM

Can you help rescue my dry lasagna?

I assembled two pans of lasagna this week. I did not precook the pasta. I put about two pounds of browned fresh sausage and ground beef into a jar of Prego. I put about a cup of chopped parsley from my front porch into the ricotta and egg mixture. Everything layered up beautifully. Cooked one pan the next day sealed with foil then added parm and mozzarella and baked just till the cheese melted.

Damn but it was dry.

I still have the second uncooked pan in the fridge. What can I do to improve it? Just put more juicy tomato sauce on top? Add water/wine? Thanks in advance for any help you can offer.

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  1. Have done that a time or two myself, and yes, I made a wine slurry (so it wouldn't be too watery) and poured around the edges before heating, as well a slicing through the middle and adding a bit there, too.

    1. I would add some tomato sauce to the pan, maybe cutting through the lasagna in some spots so the sauce can get inside. I would then serve it with some more sauce. The problem you've come up against is why I always precook my noodles so the moisture they provide is always about the same. In my experience, not precooking the noodles gives a slightly gummy texture I don't really like--and that happens even when I use my very thin homemade pasta.

      1. I'm sure some will thumb their noses, but I use the no boil noodles and things turn out great every time. However, I make my own sauce for half a day while I'm cutting up tons of garlic, onions, and other goodies to toss into the mix along with hot italian sausage. I said all of that merely to illustrate that it's not the lack of pre-boiling the noodles....unless you are using noodles that should be boiled first.

        If that's the case and now you've got this extra pan, you could go the wine route but I'd maybe just toss a can of tomato sauce on top and then maybe clean the can out by swishing around water in the can to get the last bits, and pouring that water/sauce mix over the top of everything. It should work its way around the edges and down to the bottom during the bake.

        5 Replies
        1. re: GutGrease

          I agree, GG. I love Barilla no-bake noodles. They are tender and because they contain egg, have better flavor than other dry lasagna noodles. I think that even if the OP had cooked his/her noodles, a single jar of sauce is less than half of what is needed for two pans of lasagna. And using eggs with the ricotta makes the cheese set up firmer, so its moisture does not meld with the noodles as much as it would without the egg. I too would recommend adding thinned-out tomato sauce to the remaining pan before baking. Cover it with parchment or Saran wrap (you don't want a reaction between the foil and the acidic sauce), then wrap tightly in aluminum foil for most of the baking period, uncovering it only for the last 10-15 minutes so the top will brown a little.

          1. re: greygarious

            Thanks much to you all! I'll add some juicy tomato sauce to the top and work a knife and/or spatula around the edges and between the noodles to help the fresh liquid work its way down to the pasta where it's needed.

            You know how I felt with my good sausage and cheeses and my cheap jarred sauce? I felt like a rube! A well-scrubbed hustling rube with a little taste. And a chewy dry lasagna.

            Hannibal Lecter: You know what you look like to me, with your good bag and your cheap shoes? You look like a rube. A well scrubbed, hustling rube with a little taste. Good nutrition's given you some length of bone, but you're not more than one generation from poor white trash, are you, Agent Starling? And that accent you've tried so desperately to shed: pure West Virginia. What is your father, dear? Is he a coal miner? Does he stink of the lamp? You know how quickly the boys found you... all those tedious sticky fumblings in the back seats of cars... while you could only dream of getting out... getting anywhere... getting all the way to the FBI.
            Clarice Starling: You see a lot, Doctor. But are you strong enough to point that high-powered perception at yourself? What about it? Why don't you - why don't you look at yourself and write down what you see? Or maybe you're afraid to.

            1. re: greygarious

              I wasn't thinking about the Barilla really-thin no-bake noodles. I have to agree that they are amazingly good--my sister made lasagna with them and I was quite impressed.

              1. re: escondido123

                Love the Silence of the Lambs quote. You pick up so much more when you actually read what Lecter was saying.

                I never tried no-bake noodles until I fixed something at my boss's house. His wife had just made lasagna and he was raving about the noodles and how his Italian grandmother would be rolling in her grave, but he didn't care because it was just as good. So I tried them and haven't boiled noodles since.

              2. re: greygarious

                Ditto - over the years I've used regular Lasagna noodles - both ruffled edge & straight - & the Barillo no-boil noodles. Barilla wins hands-down every single time. Assuming you follow the directions & be sure to use enough sauce, the noodles bake up perfectly al dente every time. Never mushy, never too dry - just perfect.

                But to solve your current problem, I just add more sauce (your own or commercial jarred) over the top of your lasagna before slowly reheating it in the oven. "Slowly", because you don't want the sauce to bubble & burn before having a chance to soak a down a bit into the problem areas.

            2. Maybe the easiest solution is to serve more sauce on the side - I saw that in that Dom Deluise movie, I think it was called Fatso - he served lasagna with a pitcher of extra sauce to pour over. Seemed like a good idea to me.

              3 Replies
                1. re: ipsedixit

                  Did exactly that last week: had a large tray of veggie lasagna in the freezer, but when thawed, looked a little dry. I took a panful of extra tomato sauce, added a goodly splash of wine, and served it on the side, along with some chopped fresh basil. No one was the wiser, and there were no leftovers.

                2. re: prunefeet

                  My rec would be this with a just a bit of gilding the lily -- I'd slice the lasagna and fry it up in a pan before serving it with fresh sauce on top.