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Making Lasagna

post #1 of 10
Thread Starter 
I am going to make a lasagna for new years eve in my new 4" deep lasagna pan. I've looked at many recipes. Some of my information included bechamel sauce. I've heard on Michael Colamecco's radio show ( a local chef ) that professional chefs use a bechamel sauce mixed with the ricotta to make the lasagna less watery than by ricotta alone. I really want to make my lasagna a "kick butt" lasagna as I am passionate about my food. Does anyone have experience with bechamel in a lasagna and would it be a separate layer with the ricotta mixed into it? And if a lasagna was this deep, how many layers of bechamel should there be relative to regular layers of noodle and sauce?
post #2 of 10

to bechamel or not to bechamel

freeflo - I was taught by my Noni, not to say it is the only way but it seems to work. Not using the bechamel sauce but using only the ricotta. First you have to drain the cheese so that extra water is gone, very important step. add egg , s&p, romano cheese ( i love it ) parsley. when layering, apply dabs of the ricotta around on the layer. When it cooks and heats the cheese will spread out. Personally, I don't like a lasagna that is mostly cheese than anything else. It should be every mouth full is a treat of tasting all ingrediants and a surprise flavor every other mouth full. When Im in the mood i will add a few shakes of hot pepper flakes for that surprise factor. So far I havent had anybody push the plate away from them but remember that if you use bechamel or not just dont use TO MUCH. Good luck and give it a go.
post #3 of 10
I know there are as many lasagne recipes as Italian housewives, but the recipe I was taught in Tuscany has bechamel sauce (only thin layers and no ricotta, only parmesan and/or mozarella.
post #4 of 10
Some may think it's guilding the lily, but I want something more than just noodles and cheese, or noodles and sauce. A nicely executed sauce, and something to add color and interest to the dish are a must for me. I make a nice spinach lasagna, which keeps the family coming back for more, although they absolutely will not eat spinach any other way. It's nothing difficult. Bechamel sauce cut with white wine, the filling is well drained spinach (I prefer chopped frozen for this) mixed with ricotta & parmesan cheeses,an egg and one carrot on medium shred or very finely diced. I like to butter the dish and coat with seasoned bread crumbs. Layer as for any lasagna, topping with shredded mozzerella and bread crumbs, and bake. I also use the same basic sauce and cheeses, but instead of the spinach & carrot, I put in layers of sliced tomato and fresh basil. We like it. :lips:

By the way, let the dish rest for 20 to 30 minutes before serving, to firm it up.
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post #5 of 10
Cooks Illustrated did a feature on this over the summer, comparing bechamel lasagna to non-bechamel. Bechamel won.
post #6 of 10
Lasagna is one of those things (like tuna casserole amongst Norwegians) that has no right or wrong....it's how you like it. Just don't make the common mistake that I see a lot of finishing with a layer of noodles on top. Even with a layer of cheese, the noodles dry out too much and you have a hard crust that ruins an otherwise perfect dish. Someone else mentioned in this thread to finish with cheese, but put the cheese layer on something other than noodles. Enjoy.
post #7 of 10

My Nana's Lasagna

As everyone's said, to each their own when it comes to lasagna!

Here's my 2 cents if you're still wondering...

I don't use the bechamel sauce. I first spread a thin layer of homemade sauce, then my pasta, on top of the pasta I spread a mixture of ricotta (drained), mozzarella, chopped fresh parsley, and Parmesan. Maybe we like things a little cheesier since we're in Wisconsin, but I apply an even mixture of this (I warm it up so that it's easier to spread). Then another layer of sauce, pasta, and repeat. I like the tall lasagnas, so I usually have 4-6 layers of pasta, depending.

Good luck!
post #8 of 10
What a coincidence, I've been working on perfecting a recipe for lasagna my own family!

In the past I've not used bechamel but after reading several recipes with it I decided to give it a try. We really liked it a lot. Here's where I'm at with my recipe.

Meat mixture
ground beef
mild Italian sausage
onion, garlic, s&p

Ricotta mixture
ricotta
eggs
mozzarella
parmesan
spinach
Sauce
Part 1 – tomato sauce
onion, garlic
crushed tomatoes
bay leaves, oregano, s&p
parmesan
Part 2 – basic béchamel

Cheese topping
mozzarella
parmesan

Layers (viewed as a cross section)

Cheese topping
Béchamel
Meat mixture
Pasta
Tomato Sauce
Ricotta mixture
Pasta
Béchamel
Tomato Sauce
post #9 of 10
AmazingGrace- This sounds amazing! I'm going to try your version next week. Thanks!
post #10 of 10
Thanks, Penguin. Let me know how you loved it. :smiles:
"The pressure's on...let's cook something!"
 
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"The pressure's on...let's cook something!"
 
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