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Dec 1, 2013 09:58 PM

Prepping lasagna the day before

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?

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  1. 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

      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.

    2. 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. 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. 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

            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

              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. 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.