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Lasagna Emergency - Please Help Dry It Out!

soypower Apr 28, 2013 02:55 PM

So this is the first time I've ever tried lasagna using bechamel and no-boil noodles. I soaked the noodles in hot water until they were a bit malleable and added extra sauce to ensure they would cook through all the way.

I ran a test lasagna in a mini loaf pan and it came out way too watery. But I didn't realize that until I had already assembled the large one. Thus defeating the purpose of the test run. Doh!

The large one is in the oven right now and I'm not sure what to do...Can I just bake it longer at a lower temperature to dry it out? And what temp?

In case this helps, this is how it is layered from bottom to top:

meat sauce (meaty and fairly thick with chunks of tomato), noodle (soaked), meat sauce, sliced sausage, bechamel, shredded parmesan

noodle, meat sauce, bechamel, fresh herbs, sliced provolone

noodle, meat sauce, bechamel, parmesan

Any help would be greatly appreciated!

  1. s
    smtucker Apr 28, 2013 03:01 PM

    Sometimes lasagna "firms" up as it cools. Any chance that your tester did this? If not, cooking longer should give you more evaporation. Obviously, don't cover if you want it to get dryer. If it starts to brown too much, lower the temp so it can cook longer without the top becoming inedible.

    1 Reply
    1. re: smtucker
      soypower Apr 28, 2013 03:05 PM

      I was hoping it would firm up as it cooled, but no such luck...I've got the oven at 280 right now and with fingers crossed, I hope it will dry out enough to be presentable. Thanks for your help!

    2. f
      fourunder Apr 28, 2013 03:23 PM

      Your process is the same as I have done in the past. When the chees and sauce bubbles, it's done. I would just let it cool and refrigerate, I would be surprised if it did not absorb all the excess liquid overnight.

      1. mcf Apr 28, 2013 04:41 PM

        You never need any moistening for no boil noodles, particularly the very best of them, Barilla, are very thin and tender. I use very little sauce for a very large lasagna and they're never dry or even al dente at all. I can see how they'd get soggy if soaked.

        I used a different ricotta than usual for my lasagna this week, and I should have drained it, I had some wateriness. I was able to tip the pan, let the excess water run into a corner I'd removed a piece from and spooned it out.

        I don't use white sauce, cannot comment on that as a possible confounder.

        1. Kris in Beijing Apr 28, 2013 07:02 PM

          Does it HAVE to be sliceable plated lasagna?
          Convert to Lasagna Soup.

          And, as previously noted by someone else, "no boil" really means "no moistening required."

          1. soypower Apr 28, 2013 10:23 PM

            Thanks for all the help..I baked it for an additional 40 minutes or so and it dried up enough to come out in pieces instead of gooey clumps.

            I actually only decided to use and soak the no-boil noodles because I read another thread that suggested it was the way to go. Doh. Lesson learned. It wasn't as good as my normal recipe but since it's lasagna, even when it's bad, it's still good.

            2 Replies
            1. re: soypower
              chowser Apr 29, 2013 06:02 AM

              Cooks Illustrated recommends soaking them in hot water for a few minutes and patting dry in towels (you might have missed this?). I "squeegee" them dry between your fingers. I like the results better than just using them out of the box. I like Barilla no boil noodles, as recommended.

              Here's the recipe:

              http://www.cafejohnsonia.com/2008/04/...

              Oh, you've already solved the problem but I like to pan fry lasagna, too, chopping it w/ the spatula as I go; it's like American chop suey. That would dry it out.

              1. re: chowser
                soypower May 1, 2013 09:54 PM

                Well that makes more sense! If I ever use them again, I will definitely employ the squeegee method!

            2. j
              JudiAU Apr 29, 2013 10:51 AM

              If you are making a "heavy" lasagna I don't thick no cook noodles work very well. They don't have the heft to sand up to a heavy meat sauce.

              I'd accept it will be watery even after cooling down a bit. Sorry.

              1. a
                acgold7 May 2, 2013 12:35 AM

                Next time you can use regular Lasagna noodles. You don't need to cook them or even soak them. They work great as-is if you like a firm lasagna. Try it. It works.

                I switched to this method years ago and haven't looked back. And no béchamel, ever.

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