Best lasagne recipe?
What is the most fool proof lasagne recipe that you have ever tried? I love lasagne, but it can be so inconsistent sometimes...a little too watery, the pasta not the right texture, etc. I would love to hear about what works best for you.
What has worked best for me, believe it or not, is to use the store-brand lasagna noodles UNCOOKED. To do this, you should thin out your sauce a little, and use just slightly extra sauce. Normally I put 1.5 ladles per layer. Make sure that sauce is the first layer, then the noodles, and all of your lasagna-ey goodness. Be sure not to overlap the noodles, but butt them side-by-side. Then cook it covered for 30 minutes and uncovered for 30 minutes.
I know I will be taken to task for this suggestion, and I am sure that my 100% Italian grandmother (from Naples!) is spinning in her grave right now. (PSST-don't tell her I dont use hard-boiled eggs in my layers!)
I like using fresh spinach pasta sheets, which I blanch for all of 30 seconds, layered with bechamel, bolognese and parmigiano cheese. However, if you're not not making your own pasta I would recommend using regular store-bought lasagna sheets (not the no-boil stuff). Even with those, it's up to you whether to boil them or not. For a slightly softer lasagna, let them cook in boiling water for 1-2 minutes then shock in ice water. With an uncooked lasagna sheet, it'll soften if you have enough sauce, but it can remain more al dente (which not everyone likes in a lasagna).
In either event, pasta, bechamel, bolognese (you can put another layer of pasta between these sauces, depending on how noodly you like your lasagna), parmigiano, repeat until dish is full. Cover with bechamel (or a combo of bolognese and bechamel) and tons of parm.
Note, this is the northern italian Lasagna Bolognese version. For a Neopolitan version, I use a ragu napoletano, and ricotta. No bechamel....
I agree with Keith. I think the best lasagna recipe (and the only one I regularly make) is Giuliano Bugiali's recipe in his book "Fine Art of Italian Cooking".
It uses fresh pasta, a bolognese (no milk or tomato sauce, but with multiple meats, porcini, and tomato paste), and a bechamel. The cheese layer is a mix of mozzarella and parmagiano. There is no ricotta. In his recipe you alternate layers of sauce with pasta (e.g. bolognese, pasta, bechamel, pasta) -- which works well as long as the pasta sheets are thin.
Totally inauthentic recipe but if that's ok with you, Pioneer Woman's lasagna is delicious. Not very tomato-y but, for my tastes, that was perfect.
My sister made it a couple weeks ago and 6 adults basically devoured the panful.
I looked up the recipe and, as I found out last night, the only change my sister made was to use quality parmesan cheese, and not the Kraft canister stuff.
I usually wing it. Bechamel, Spag Sauce, Italian sausage (homemade) and/or ground beef, parm, mozz, ricotta, eggs, noodles, and so on. I don't think I've ever used a recipe. Sometimes I skip the meat, sometimes I make the spag sauce or sometimes use the jar (usually Muir Glen) or sometimes just seasoned tomatoes, sometimes I add spinach or other vegetables, etc.
I don't think I've ever used a recipe. I don't care for cottage cheese in mine; it reminds me too much of my mother's tasteless-except-for-salt watery stuff.
EDIT: Yes, I know this is not "authentic Italian" - but it IS "authentic Italian/American" !
I gave up trying to make (good) lasagne at home for years until I came across this recipe - http://www.canyoustayfordinner.com/20...
I modify by adding bulk hot Italian sausage cooked and then put in food processor to get a fine texture. And I like my lasagne "wet", so I serve in a pool of marinara sauce. Also, I add a lot more cheese on the topping and finish after baking with fresh basil chiffonade.
I love all the great lasagna recipes from fine cooking, especially the spinach one and the butternut squash one. I make my own noodles and,IMHO, you have to boil the noodles first. It sets the eggs, if not the noodles turn to mush!!!
Bugiali's recipe has been my standard since I lost the best tasting recipe years ago. It requires fresh herbs, buffalo mozzerella, ground veal, thin pasta, etc. I friend who managed a restaurant begged the recipe and then gave it back as it would not be cost effective.
How did I lose it? It was printed on the box of an obscure company and I never thought to write it down. I made it so many times by request, I thought I would never forget it.
Last weekend I made lasagne from Lidia's Italy in America. Used GF noodles which I boiled for a couple of minutes, shocked in cold water, drained and patted dry. Used only beef from a local farm and mozzarella was from the same farm. I make lasagne often using a similar recipe from Italian friend's family but this one was better. I think parboiling noodles made big difference - they tasted pretty much like regular noodles - soft yet toothy; and I think that meat from a happy cow made a huge difference too.
I make Marcella Hazan's green lasagna. But if you're not willing to put in the sweat equity - it will take HOURS - then don't bother. Homemade noodles, Bolognese sauce, béchamel sauce and grated Parm. After making this, I won't do any others.