In this article, we will answer the following question: How do you keep the top layer of lasagna going hard? We will speak about the common mistakes one makes and how to fix them in order to cook the perfect lasagna!
How do you keep the top layer of lasagna going hard?
To keep the tops layer of lasagna going hard, you have to get more moisture in that layer. To do this, you can add some more bechamel or tomato sauce before covering it with cheese. You can also not add the last layer of pasta. Or hydrate that sheet that will go on top a little more, since it will always end up hardening a little more with the heat of the gratin.
The main reasons why the top layer of lasagna is hard and how to fix them
There are many reasons why the top layer of lasagna becomes hard and dry. Let’s discuss all of them and fix them and prevent the most common mistakes when making lasagna.
- You use (too many) pre-made ingredients.
It is indeed more comfortable to buy canned meat sauce, pre-made lasagna sheets and a jared béchamel, throw everything in the pan and have a lasagna ready in ten minutes. But the truth is, if you want a delicious dish, you have to start from scratch.
- Not using enough grease
There are two reasons why you should generously and accurately pass the stick of butter on the bottom and edges of the pan that will contain the pasta.
The first, of course, to prevent the contents from sticking to the container. Although the small pieces on the sides escaped from the condiments, golden and crispy, even a little dry is (in my opinion) the tastiest part, they do not make anyone happy if they remain cemented to the walls, impossible to detach if not with a long soak in water hot soapy.
The second reason is that the butter will melt and season the dish further – if needed -: do I need to add more?
It is understood that, if you don’t like butter, you can use oil, brushing it correctly on the walls.
- Too much liquid
Béchamel, ragout, well-dried vegetables, drained and squeezed mozzarella. There is nothing worse than the lake on the bottom of the pan. It is understood that specific humidity is necessary to keep the dough soft, but fluid does not mean liquid.
So, returning to the béchamel, the most guessed is always the classic dose of 50 grams of butter and the same amount of flour every half liter of milk or, why not, broth, if you want to make a cream.
Tomato sauces and meat or vegetable ragout must be well concentrated and not too greasy. The butter or oil is already abundant on the bottom, and should also be sprinkled on the surface, to encourage browning.
In short, if you exaggerate, the risk is that the horrid lake turns into a puddle of grease.
- You don’t season the top layer
The best is to use grated parmesan, which I like to mix with a handful of breadcrumbs. Flakes of butter or a drizzle of oil. All distributed evenly. Already like this, you should have guaranteed a good top layer for your lasagna.
Extra tips for a perfect lasagna
- Use fresh or dried lasagna sheets. They should not be pre-cooked. The only precaution to take if you opt for dry lasagna is to provide a plentiful and liquid enough sauce, so that the pasta can cook in it. Always start with a layer of tomato sauce or bechamel sauce in the bottom of the dish. Do not cook the lasagna dry, it will be too hard.
- Never put raw vegetables in your lasagna. Better to brown them a bit before adding them. They will taste better and they will be as cooked as the rest of the dish.
- The fish cooks very quickly and tends to dry out. That’s why you can use it raw in lasagna. Stir the pieces of raw fish into the sauce if you are concerned that they will become too dry.
- If you are making a meat sauce, choose a good quality mince, preferably not frozen. Brown the meat, letting all the liquid evaporate before adding the other ingredients for the sauce.
- You can take another ground meat for a change: a ground lamb lasagna, for example, is particularly tasty. With coriander, cinnamon and cumin you add a touch of originality and a bonus of sunshine.
- The sauce should be absorbed as much as possible by the pasta, so that your lasagna is firm enough to be cut and the sauce does not run. So make sure your sauces are thick enough – possibly use a little binder.
- Lasagna can be made ahead. Put it in the fridge the day before, this will allow the liquid to penetrate well into the dough sheets, which will cook better. The next day you just have to slip it in the oven.
- It can also be frozen easily. Nothing could be simpler: prepare the dish and freeze it as is. No need to pre-cook the lasagna. On the other hand, it is better to thaw it before putting it in the oven when the time comes.
- To avoid burning your lasagna, you can cook it by covering it with aluminum foil, which you will remove before the end of cooking to allow it to form a nice crust.
- Always let a lasagna come out of the oven to rest for 10 to 15 minutes. It will absorb the juice and be easier to cut.
Click here to read more mistakes that everyone makes when cooking lasagna, and how to avoid them.
We want to remind you that although there are many reasons why the top of the lasagna becomes hard, the solution is always the same: add more moisture, whether that is more sauce, butter or oil.
The sauce should be absorbed as much as possible by the pasta, so that your lasagna is firm enough to be cut and the sauce does not run. So make sure your sauces are thick enough – possibly use a little binder.
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