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Sep 19, 2012 09:42 AM

lasagna math--cooking for 15

I've been charged with preparing lasagna for a dinner serving four homeless families. I need to make enough to feed 15 people, including 5 children, ages 4-9 :( I was thinking of doing just one almighty lasagna in my small All-Clad roasting pan. It has handles and is easy to transport, in spite of the fact that it is wicked heavy even when empty.

My other option is to just use two of those disposable lasagna pans. Any thoughts? Any idea of proportions?

I was going with 1 lb ground beef, 1 lb sausage, 1 lb ricotta, 1 box lasagna noodles, and about 2 lbs tomatoes, along with the seasonings, garlic, onions, cheese, etc. Will this be enough or do you think I should increase quantities? They can't have leftovers, as there is no place to store them, and others are in charge of subsequent meals for the families in the program.

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  1. 2 lbs of meat and 1 lb of pasta equals about 2 oz of meat and 1 oz of noodles per person - definitely not enough. I would double it, at least. Can you take home leftovers if there are any? Will there be other food served or is this the only course?

    2 Replies
    1. re: biondanonima

      There will be other food: fruit, garlic bread, salad and dessert. The kids tend not to eat more than a few bites, and the other adults are all women, but you're right, they do need more than this. If I double, do you think I could just do extra layers in my roasting pan and bake it longer, or am I better off going with the two pans?

      1. re: Isolda

        I have done a huge, super-deep lasagna in a roasting pan before and it worked just fine - I'd go with that. Probably easier for you to take home in case of leftovers as well.

    2. 1 lb ricotta isn't enough, go with 2 or even 3. Get the throw away pans and double them so they are sturdy enough to hold the lasagna. You can fit all of the lasagna in one throw away pan if you get the deep ones sold for chafing dishes. I do this all the time. Just make sure you put a second pan under the first.

      1. Maybe it will help you visualize portions if you do lasagne roll-ups. Spread the filling and cheese on a cooked noodle, roll it, then stand it on end in the pan. Fill the pan with the rolls, pour sauce over, top with shredded cheese, and bake.

        1. When I make lasagna I always use a hefty disposable deep roasting pan, just because I haven't had the time or occasion to purchase a baking pan deep enough for lasagna. One pan makes 12 servings, so you'll probably need two pans. Stretching one pan to serve 15 might be difficult, but then there are some small children who *should* probably eat half a portion. When I make it I end up using 9 noodles, placing three noodles in each layer. Nine noodles is more than half a box, more like three-quarters, so I think you'll need two boxes of lasagna noodles. And I agree with the other posters that 1 pound of ricotta may be insufficient for two pans of lasagna, but if you end up making only one pan and stretching the serving size to make 15 portions, I think 1 lb if mixed with egg and cheese will be sufficient.