In this blog post, we will answer the following question: Can I assemble lasagna and cook later? We will also teach you how to create lasagna step-by-step and freeze and cook it later.
Can I assemble the lasagna and cook later?
Of course, you can assemble the lasagna and cook later. In fact, by preparing your lasagna in advance, you can be sure that the pasta will have absorbed the sauce, thus it will be more delicious.
Lasagna is a dish that we love to make when hosting a large table and want to be quiet. Another good point to add to them: you can thoroughly prepare them in advance!
Here’s how we do it: we make its tomato sauce, its béchamel, we cook its meat, we make its layers of lasagna the day before, we let our dish rest in the fridge, the next day we take it out an hour or two in advance and shop, we bake as if nothing had happened, by simply adding 5 to 10 minutes of cooking!
How to assemble a lasagna
Before you think about putting together your lasagna dish, you need to make sure that all the ingredients that will alternate in your lasagna are ready.
The pasta: When they are pre-cooked, you can use them directly since they will be cooked in the oven with the tomato sauce. To make them softer, immerse them for two minutes in boiling water to which you have added a pinch of salt and a tablespoon of olive oil. Take them out with a skimmer (flat spoon with a hole) then quickly run them under cold water. Dry the pasta sheets on a tea towel.
The béchamel sauce: Creamy and tasty, your béchamel must not be too runny or run the risk of leaking when cutting your dish. So choose a thick preparation without being too compact. Our tip: When your sauce is hanging on your wooden spoon, the texture is right.
Tomato sauce: Often topped with minced meat for tasty lasagna bolognese, the tomato sauce should not be too thick, to allow the pasta to cook, nor too liquid, otherwise it will not hold when you cut your gratin.
The filling: The advantage is that the lasagna adapts to your tastes and you can add the ingredients of your choice. Be careful though, the vegetables should not be incorporated raw unlike the salmon which will benefit from the passage in the oven to cook gently.
Cheese: Equip yourself with a tasty Italian cheese such as mozzarella or parmesan to brown your preparation and enhance its taste.
Assembling a lasagna step-by-step
Step one: Lightly butter your dish or use olive oil to prevent your preparation from sticking. As a first layer, spread a little béchamel or tomato sauce, this will prevent your pasta from sticking.
Step two: Then place the first even layer of lasagna noodles, making sure they are juxtaposed without overlapping. Mount the second layer with the tomato sauce (or bolognese if there is minced meat). Be generous with the sauce.
Then line the mold by alternating successively the layers of béchamel sauce, the lasagna and the bolognese. If you choose to add vegetables, alternate them with your other layers of ingredients. Continue this operation until all the ingredients are used up.
Our tip: Add a few cubes or slices of mozzarella between the different layers of sauce and the plates, for extra creaminess.
Last step: Finish the assembly with a layer of mozzarella sprinkled with Parmesan or any other type of Italian cheese. The top of your dish will be well au gratin and Italy will be there on your plate!
How do I know the lasagna is thoroughly cooked?
The best method to make sure that the lasagna is cooked is to taste it or to temperature test a piece of it. If it is too cold, reinsert it in the oven and repeat the test until the desired temperature is achieved.
How long lasagna will cook depends whether you pre-cooked the pasta sheets. Most recipes say to boil the pasta before assembling the dish, but you can put them in without boiling and still get a delicious result. Just make sure you have enough moisture, the pasta will absorb most of the sauce. If you boil the pasta beforehand you would cook the lasagna for about 45 min to an hour. If the pasta is uncooked, it should take nearly double the time.
Can I freeze lasagna and cook later?
Yes! However, the preparation of lasagna must be done using only fresh ingredients that can be frozen both before and after cooking in the oven. Indeed it should be emphasized that once thawed lasagna it cannot be refrozen as the risk of bacterial contamination increases.
Lasagna shouldn’t be frozen if it was made with previously defrosted sausage, minced beef, only fresh meat should be used. You shouldn’t freeze a lasagna whose ingredients have been frozen and defrosted more than once: as they lose quality, consistency, and flavor.
The bottom line
You can totally assemble the lasagna and cook later. In fact, this may prove to be the best technique to serve a delicious dish and impress everyone with your cooking skills.
Do you have any tips for cooking the perfect lasagna that we might have missed? Do not hesitate to leave a comment below!