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Prepping lasagna the day before

swoll50 Dec 1, 2013 09:58 PM

I'm doing dinner for somewhere around 100 people on Saturday for mom's 50th birthday. She's requested something carb heavy as she doesn't normally eat anything flour-based. I'm planning lasagna using my variation off Hazan's bolognese and bechamel, but I normally prep and cook back to back.

My question is will pre-boiling pasta and building the pans of lasagna the day before and then putting them in the oven be ok?

  1. Njchicaa Dec 3, 2013 04:07 PM

    I've never made that particular recipe but I pre-assemble lasagnas a day or two before baking them all the time and it works out just fine. Sometimes I even freeze them unbaked!

    I don't think it would work out well with a recipe that has a bechamel sauce but pre-assembling works well with a red sauce type of lasagna.

    2 Replies
    1. re: Njchicaa
      c oliver Dec 3, 2013 04:09 PM

      The Hazan recipe has bechamel sauce and it works great.

      1. re: Njchicaa
        JoanN Dec 3, 2013 04:13 PM

        Just fyi, the recipe I referenced above contains a béchamel. Holds in the fridge just fine.

      2. JoanN Dec 3, 2013 03:56 PM

        Used to have an annual party for 50 and Hazan's Baked Green Lasagne was the main event. She even says in a note that it can be assembled and refrigerated for two days before being baked and I've held it as long as three days with no deterioration in texture or flavor

        1 Reply
        1. re: JoanN
          DowntownJosie Dec 3, 2013 04:27 PM

          That is exactly how I do it as well. I let it sit in the fridge, I cook it and then I let it rest for 1 hr. It doesn't need to be piping hot.

        2. c oliver Dec 3, 2013 08:26 AM

          The only recipe I make is hers. A couple of years ago I made it and froze it a couple of weeks ahead of time. I didn't "cook" it since it's already cooked. Thawed, brought to room temp and baked a bit longer than recipe called for.

          1. hotoynoodle Dec 3, 2013 07:53 AM

            your lasagne will be even better if you bake it off 1-2 days ahead and just let it sit in the fridge. pull out to sit at room temp about an hour before serving. keep covered to reheat, and then just uncover the last few minutes to brown the top.

            2 Replies
            1. re: hotoynoodle
              Puffin3 Dec 3, 2013 08:17 AM

              That's how I've done it. I par boil the pasta sheets until barely el dente. Just enough to build the tray/s. I like how the sheets then absorb moisture AKA flavors from the other ingredients the day before reheating and serving.

              1. re: hotoynoodle
                coll Dec 3, 2013 08:29 AM

                My grandmother wouldn't serve hers until it was cooked one day and reheated the next. It was a strict rule with her. Otherwise, too runny to cut correctly.

              2. b
                Bryan Pepperseed Dec 3, 2013 06:31 AM

                IIRC I think you'll find many posts here saying they don't boil their pasta at all, and just add extra sauce.

                Personally, at least with store bought noodles, I lean more towards Maggiethecat's approach except that I don't use boiling water - I just soak them in a shallow baking dish of cold water for about an hour to an hour and a half. I use the longer soak when I'm making lasagne rolls. I think it all depends on what type of texture you prefer your pasta to have after baking.

                1. d
                  DowntownJosie Dec 2, 2013 03:44 AM

                  I have made H lasagne for 75 and assembled one day and baked the next. It will last in the fridge for a few days. It is definitely a huge production but well worth it, especially if you make your own noodles. A word of caution, one must boil the fresh noodles to set the eggs or the lasagna will be mushy.

                  1. m
                    Maggiethecat Dec 1, 2013 10:05 PM

                    I've never made your specific recipe (Hazan's) but I have assembled lasagna one day and baked it the next and it's great. What I usually do for the noodles (regardless of whether I'm baking the lasagna immediately or in the future) is to boil some water in my electric kettle and pour it over the dried lasagna noodles for a few minutes just to soften them. This doesn't cook them all the way to al dente but it does soften them enough to make them pliable to build the lasagna and to keep them from getting dried out once baked. I find it easier than boiling a whole pot of water and then having to watch the noodles to make sure they don't get over-done. But for that many noodles...not sure, might just be easier to keep a big pot of water on the boil and keep dropping noodles in as you pull the previous batch out.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: Maggiethecat
                      almond tree Dec 1, 2013 10:52 PM

                      Thank you for the boiling water prep tip. I plan to try that next time I make lasagna.
                      In response to OP, I also have assembled lasagna the day before baking (not Hazan's recipe) and it's been fine.

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