Lasagna is one of those meals that some people think is really easy, and others have a really hard time with. I decided when I made my most recent one that I’d take photos and offer up a tutorial with some of my tricks. Please keep in mind that this is for the procedure and is not a recipe. I’ll tell you what I used, but since I don’t measure when I cook, you’ll have to either guesstimate on your own or get a recipe, then use this tutorial for putting it together.
|The first step is soaking the pasta. One box of lasagna usually has 18 pieces, so I put 9 in each pan. Cover them with boiled water and let them sit for 10-15 minutes. Use tongs to gently move the bottom ones to the top and move the rest around. soak for another 10-15 minutes or until tender but not soggy. This method means you never ever have to deal with a huge pot of boiling water or torn and broken pasta.|
|While the pasta is soaking, I mix up my cheese blend. I use a 32 oz. canister of part skim ricotta, 1 1/2 handfuls of part skim mozzarella, 1 handful of Sargento Parmesan (I’m picky on that one), a few scallions, plenty of minced garlic, some honey, a bunch of parsley, fresh ground pepper, oregano, sage, basil, smoked paprika, and thyme. If you’re vegan, use drained soft tofu and vegan cheese alternatives.|
|Put some sauce in the bottom of the pans. For this tutorial I’m using two 9×9 pans. I’m also using homemade sauce. It’s made of chopped tomatoes, tomato paste, scallions, brown sugar, apple jelly, garlic, fresh ground pepper, sage, thyme, basil, oregano, parsley, a little wine (optional), smoked paprika, lemon juice and water, blended with a stick blender until totally smooth.|
|Put in 3 pieces of pasta, and curl the ends underneath. Spread on some of the cheese mix. Do this in both pans. If you work back and forth between the two pans you can make sure they come out the same. In case you’re wondering, one is for right away and the other goes in the freezer for another time.|
|Add your filling and some sauce. For this one I did mushroom and spinach, but you can do whatever you want. I’ve done all different kinds.|
|Add another layer of pasta, but go in the opposite direction from the first. So, if the first layer ran north to south, this layer runs east to west. Add more cheese, fillings and sauce. Switch directions again and put on the last layer. I find that doing this makes the lasagna serve better and keeps you from having big, chewy edges on some of the pieces.|
|Now you put on the last of the sauce. Use your spoon to push the edges of the last layer of the pasta down and make sure the sauce really gets all over so you don’t get chewy edges. Top with mozzarella and Parmesan. Sometimes I also add more parsley and pepper on top. I bake them at 350 for 45 minutes.|
That second one we made, it gets wrapped in aluminum foil, then wrapped in a plastic bag and put in the freezer. Each of these makes 9 pieces.