In this blog post, we will answer the following question: How do you know when lasagna is ready? We will teach you how to make the lasagna meat sauce and bechamel sauce, how to cook lasagna sheets, and how to assemble the dish – this way you will master this recipe and do not have any doubts when it comes to cooking a delicious lasagna!
How do you know when lasagna is ready?
The best method to make sure that the lasagna is ready 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.
Do lasagne sheets need to be precooked?
It is best to pre-cook the lasagne sheets to make even more delicious your final recipe and to shorten the cooking time in the oven. A symbol of comforting Italian dishes, homemade lasagna is a must for combining tastes and traditions in your Italian cuisine.
Here’s how to do it:
- Line the bottom of your pan with aluminum foil previously folded in three.
- Pierce the paper to make holes and obtain a sieve effect. To be able to grip it easily with your hands, make sure that the aluminum protrudes well from the pan.
- Add the water and cook the lasagna sheets over high heat for the time indicated on the package.
- When cooking is finished, grab the edges of the aluminum foil to take out and drain the pasta sheets.
With this simple method, your lasagna sheets are pre-cooked without having been damaged during handling.
Making a lasagna: step by step
Below you will learn how to prepare lasagna sheets, sauce and how to cook the dish and serve it. We made it as simple as possible so that beginners feel confident to try this amazing recipe!
Preparing the meat sauce (bolognese/ragu)
- Cut the bacon into small squares. But first we remove the skin because it is very hard. We put the bacon over medium heat so that it cooks slowly.
- Meanwhile, we cut the vegetables into small squares. We don’t forget to remove the bacon! Add a splash of oil to the pan with the bacon. If possible the olive one. And add the vegetables.
- We add a pinch of salt, and, over medium-low heat, we cook until the onion, carrot, and celery are soft. Then add the veal.
- We make the heat medium-high and stir very well. Once the meat has changed color, add 1 glass of red wine. Cook until the alcohol evaporates.
- Add the tomato sauce or chopped tomatoes. I usually use tomatoes that come canned whole but you can use the tomato sauce that you like best.
- Once the sauce has started to boil, we make the heat low and put the lid on but leave a hole for the steam to come out. The sauce must be cooked for 2 to 4 hours. Very calmly. If you see that it is getting dry add a little more water or broth
- Add salt and pepper it to your liking. Add the milk to balance the acidity. The sauce is ready!
Cooking the lasagna sheets
You can buy the lasagna sheets or you can make them. I’m going to show you how to make the pasta for lasagna.
- Sift 200 g of flour into a bowl.
- Add 1 pinch of salt.
- Crack 2 large eggs.
- Add 1 dash of olive oil.
- Stir very well.
- Finish rolling the ball with your hand. This dough does not have to be kneaded much. Just integrate all the ingredients very well. We cover it and let it rest for about 20 minutes.
- Before passing the pasta through the machine, we stretch it a little with a roller. For more information on how to make homemade pasta, I invite you to watch this video.
- If you don’t have the machine to make the pasta, stretch it with the roller. The ideal thickness of the paste is when it begins to show a little.
- Cut the sheets in size 10×12 cm. Cook the pasta in plenty of salted water. I am going to cook it in 2 batches so that the sheets do not stick together.
- Cook the pasta for about 1 minute. Rinse it with cold water. Place it on a cloth to dry.
How to make bechamel sauce
- First, melt the butter. Add the flour and sauté it for 2 – 3 minutes over medium heat.
- Add the cold milk and change to high heat. Stir very well. In cold milk, the flour is diluted very well.
- The bechamel must be stirred all the time until it thickens. As soon as it starts to boil, we make a medium heat and cook it for 2 – 3 more minutes.
- After 3 minutes we remove the bechamel from the heat and we season it. We add one pinch of nutmeg and salt. And some ground black pepper.
- Cover it with a piece of transparent film to prevent the formation of a crust.
- We grate the parmesan.
Finishing the lasagna
- Preheat the oven to 180ºC or 360ºF.
- Spread the pan or your lasagna dish with the butter. Cover the bottom with the béchamel sauce.
- Top with a layer of pasta. Then add the meat sauce we prepared. Drizzle the meat sauce with a little béchamel sauce. Sprinkle with parmigiano.
- Again we put pasta, meat sauce, bechamel, parmesan, and so on.
- We generously cover it with the last layer and sprinkle it with cheese.
- We bake the lasagna for 45 minutes, increasing the temperature to 250ºC for the last 5 minutes.
Before serving, you have to rest it for 10 – 15 minutes. And enjoy!
The bottom line
To ensure that your lasagna is ready, you have to cook it for at least 45 minutes! And of course, the best way to know if it’s well cooked is to analyze how it looks and to taste it. Our advice is to pre-cook the lasagna sheets; this way you will only have to bake together all the ingredients in the oven.
Also, lasagna is easy to prepare ahead. Let it sit in the fridge, the sauce will infiltrate the better. The next day, you just have to put the dish in the oven. Then allow 10 minutes more than the normal cooking time, so that the dish is hot.
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