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Lasagne - Order of Layers

Lasagne - Order of Layers

Old Dec 22, 16, 6:57 am
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Lasagne - Order of Layers

For today's discussion:

Meat Lasagne. What order should the layers be? This is a typical American style Lasagne, so the layers are noodles, meat sauce, ricotta, and mozzarella. We will assume that there is a bit of sauce on the bottom of the pan and then start with noodles, so things don't stick. What comes next? Meat sauce, the ricotta, or even the mozzarella? Does the top layer stay the same, or get reversed?
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Old Dec 22, 16, 7:12 am
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Originally Posted by Cloudship View Post
What order should the layers be?
1) Meat sauce
2) Béchamel sauce
3) Pasta
4) Meat sauce
5) Béchamel sauce
6) Pasta
...)
X) Pasta
X+1) A little Béchamel sauce + Parmesan

Originally Posted by Cloudship View Post
This is a typical American style Lasagne, so the layers are noodles, meat sauce, ricotta, and mozzarella.
IMHO ricotta or mozzarella have no place in a lasagna. I know that there are as many recipes for Lasagnas as there are Fiats and scooters in Italia, but I'm more or less sticking to the more traditional Lasagne pasticciate.

Last edited by WorldLux; Dec 22, 16 at 7:17 am
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Old Dec 22, 16, 7:48 am
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Originally Posted by WorldLux View Post
1) Meat sauce
2) Béchamel sauce
3) Pasta
4) Meat sauce
5) Béchamel sauce
6) Pasta
...)
X) Pasta
X+1) A little Béchamel sauce + Parmesan



IMHO ricotta or mozzarella have no place in a lasagna. I know that there are as many recipes for Lasagnas as there are Fiats and scooters in Italia, but I'm more or less sticking to the more traditional Lasagne pasticciate.
You sound just like a friend of mine.

Originally Posted by Cloudship View Post
For today's discussion:

Meat Lasagne. What order should the layers be? This is a typical American style Lasagne, so the layers are noodles, meat sauce, ricotta, and mozzarella. We will assume that there is a bit of sauce on the bottom of the pan and then start with noodles, so things don't stick. What comes next? Meat sauce, the ricotta, or even the mozzarella? Does the top layer stay the same, or get reversed?
  1. Sauce in bottom of the pan.
  2. Noodles.
  3. Ricotta, mixed with egg, seasonings, and mozz.
  4. Meat
  5. Sauce
  6. Noodles
Repeat steps 3-6 as necessary. Top with sauce and cheese.

Last edited by iluv2fly; Dec 28, 16 at 4:14 pm Reason: merge
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Old Dec 22, 16, 9:24 am
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So nobody puts ricotta on the top layer?

The way I always make it, and this is mostly because how my mother made it (a non-italian), was meat sauce then ricotta, but the top layer she always put a little ricotta down first, then topped with the meat sauce. The ricotta cooked up a bit, and I always liked that topping.
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Old Dec 22, 16, 11:38 am
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Originally Posted by Cloudship View Post
..., but the top layer she always put a little ricotta down first, then topped with the meat sauce. The ricotta cooked up a bit, and I always liked that topping.
I always stop with a thin layer of Béchamel Sauce just to keep the top layer of pasta moist. The last 5 minutes of cooking, I raise the temperature by a couple degrees, which activates the grill and makes the top layer (thanks to the parmesan) very crispy.

I've never used Ricotta or Mozzarella with the traditional recipe. I did do other variants with layers of pesto rosso instead of the meat sauce and a mixture of Parmesan, Ricotta, a few sliced dried tomatoes and basil instead of the Béchamel Sauce. It's nice too and can be eaten by vegetarians. It's no help for vegans, given that there's lots of cheese and one egg involved.
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Old Dec 22, 16, 12:44 pm
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Don't get me wrong - I love bechamel and bechamel based lasagne/pasta baked dishes. But it's a pain to make, time consuming, and health-wise not very good, especially when you have a bunch of people watching their carbs. So at least for family dinners I go with the ricotta.
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Old Dec 22, 16, 12:46 pm
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I do a meat & vegetable lasagna that is red sauce, noodle, bechamel, either roasted eggplant puree or deseeded zucchini slices, noodle, ground meat, noodle, bechamel, red sauce, noodle, mushrooms, (repeat layers as needed/wanted) ending with red sauce, noodle, bechamel with parmesan & pecorino blend.
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Old Dec 22, 16, 1:04 pm
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Forgive me if I'm misunderstanding, but is trying to manage the carbohydrates in a lasagne by removing the béchamel not ignoring the pasta shaped elephant in the room?
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Old Dec 22, 16, 1:43 pm
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Originally Posted by FinalCallDXB View Post
Forgive me if I'm misunderstanding, but is trying to manage the carbohydrates in a lasagne by removing the béchamel not ignoring the pasta shaped elephant in the room?
It's certainly a lot less anyways. They're family, logic has nothing to do with anything here.
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Old Dec 22, 16, 3:54 pm
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That there says it all. And is 100% true.

Originally Posted by Cloudship View Post
It's certainly a lot less anyways. They're family, logic has nothing to do with anything here.
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Old Dec 22, 16, 4:29 pm
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A tip from my 91 year old Italian mother-in-law, who lives in Italy. Mix the ragů and the bechemel together. Don't ever, ever use those disgusting thick, wavy lasagne noodles. Use the very thin, flat ones that don't need to be boiled beforehand (all major pasta brands make them - look for subito in forno on the box). Even Trader Joes' own brand is subito in forno.

1. A bit of sauce on the bottom of the pan
2. Noodles (the dry thin, flat ones and not pre-cooked as above)
3. Sauce (mixed ragů and bechemel)
4. Small amount of parmigiano reggiano
Repeat at least 3 or 4 times.

I am a terrible cook but I have about 5 things that I make very well and my lasagne is killer.

And bechamel is simple and fast. Melt butter, add flour, cook about a minute. Add warm milk, a small amount at a time at first, then faster. Cook 5 minutes or so until thickened. Add a bit of white pepper, a pinch of nutmeg and I like a pinch of cayenne. Done.
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Old Dec 22, 16, 6:41 pm
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Thanks to this thread I had to have lasagne for dinner.
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Old Dec 22, 16, 8:19 pm
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I make a really yummy meat free version using a really earthy herby mushroom ragout.
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Old Dec 22, 16, 9:32 pm
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Now I'm starting to see why I don't care much for most lasagna.

However I do love my wife's recipe, and we've been doing it this way for 38 years now.

13X9 baking dish
A little meat sauce on the bottom
Noodles (3)- regular thick wavy pre-cooked.
Meat sauce
1/2 pound skim milk mozzarella
Noodles (3)
Meat sauce
Wilted spinach
1/2 pound skim milk mozzarella
Noodles (3)
A little meat sauce on top
Grated Parmesan at the table

Edited to add, our meat sauce is loaded with fresh sliced sauteed mushrooms. An essential ingredient.

Last edited by braslvr; Dec 24, 16 at 12:59 am Reason: Edited to add mushrooms
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Old Dec 22, 16, 9:58 pm
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I use the "make life easier" method of layering.

1. meat sauce

2. take a raw (hard) noodle, the ricotta and a wide bladed spreader. Spread a generous layer of ricotta down the noodle, place it ricotta side up in the dish. Complete layer with cheese covered noodles.

3. meat sauce

repeat the above until either the pan is full or you run out of noodles. Top with gated cheese of your choice. Cover tightly with plastic wrap, refrigerate for 24 hours or so, bake according to recipe.

I absolutely hate trying to get hot, limp noodles to layer nicely, and ricotta is not a cooperative food product. This method eliminates both of those headaches and comes out just fine.
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