In this blog post, we will answer the following question: How do I make sure lasagne sheets are cooked? We give you the best tips for cooking lasagna sheets and serve a delicious meal.
How do I make sure lasagne sheets are cooked?
To find out if the lasagna sheets are cooked, pierce the lasagna noodles with a knife. If the lasagna sheets are tender, it should sink in without any problem.
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.
Tips for cooking lasagna sheets
Whether they are classic Bolognese (with spinach pastry and meat sauce), in white or with vegetables, baked lasagna is a very popular first course that appears regularly on families’ tables, not only on Sundays or on the occasion of a party. And surely everyone will have a family recipe that jealously passes from hand to hand and from generation to generation.
To get the best results and conquer the palates of friends and relatives, however, whatever the recipe, there are rules to be respected that guarantee a steaming and fragrant pan, filled with delicious golden and crunchy layers. Here they are:
- Choose which pasta to use – If you prepare it at home, remember to roll out the dough into rather thin sheets (2-3 mm), cut into rectangles roughly the size of half of the pan chosen for cooking, and lightly flour them. Boil the lasagna al dente (4-5 minutes), a few at a time, in boiling salted water to which you have added 1-2 tablespoons of oil to prevent the sheets from sticking together (or cook one at a time).
Once cooked, drain the lasagna from boiling water one by one using the perforated ladle with concentric holes (called “spider”) thus avoiding breaking the sheets of pasta; cool them in a bowl with water and ice. Roll them out gradually on a tray lined with baking paper and separate each layer of dough with another sheet of baking paper, to prevent the sheets from sticking together.
The same applies if you have bought ready-made fresh pasta. If, on the other hand, for reasons of time or preference, you want to use packaged dried egg pasta sheets (which do not require prior cooking), know that you will need to prepare a sauce that is abundant and slightly fluid, which softens the pasta.
- Evaluate the quantity of béchamel (never too little but not too much)
There would not be lasagna without the bechamel sauce, which in addition to providing soft and delicious creaminess, serves to counteract the acidity of the tomato, in a balance of flavors. Getting carried away and putting in excess, however, will prevent you from cutting them well because the sheets of pasta will slip here and there, “disintegrating” the layers.
Furthermore, the first layer in the pan should be done by spreading a few spoonfuls of béchamel on the bottom, mixing it with a spoonful of sauce; finally form a layer of dough.
If you like, mix a few spoonfuls of grated Parmesan cheese with the bechamel sauce before using it.
Grease the pan without using parchment paper on the bottom: it would become moist during cooking and would make the lower layers of dough soft instead of crunchy.
- The seasoning must be homogeneous – You have guessed the doses of béchamel, but to avoid “vagabond” and unstable sheets, which would prevent you from cutting perfect squares of lasagna, do this: if you use ragù, whether white or red, check that the pieces of meat are very small and homogeneous, avoiding “lumps”.
Likewise, if you use vegetables, cut them into small pieces. When you make up the lasagna, finish with a layer of pasta, a veil of bechamel, a sprinkling of Parmesan cheese, and a few flakes of butter.
- Do not be stingy with the number of layers – The minimum number is three, but it would be a very “poor” lasagna: there is no need to make ten, the ideal is 4-5 layers of pasta in a pan or pan with high edges that contain them well, together with their delicious filling.
If it’s glass it’s better, you can check the cooking by peeking into the oven. If you use dry pasta, abundant with the sauce (which must be quite fluid), especially in the corners of the pan.
- Be careful while cooking – Lasagna generally cooks for 40-45 minutes at least in a preheated oven at 180 °: the excessive dryness of the upper layers is a risk that you can avoid by covering the lasagna while cooking with aluminum foil for half the time, then eliminate it and continue. They will be golden and crunchy on the outside and well-cooked on the inside.
If at the end of cooking the upper part still seems “pale”, turn on the grill of the oven and continue for a few minutes, often checking the degree of browning so as not to burn the surface.
- Cut it to perfection – We have arrived at the key moment: rule first, once you turn off the oven and turn out your lasagna, let it rest for half an hour, it will gain flavor and texture!
Divide the lasagna in half in the pan, lengthwise, with a sharp knife. Then cut them perpendicular to the first cut, in order to obtain many squares. Finally, lift them with a spatula and distribute them on individual plates. Here comes the applause!
Lasagna can in fact be prepared in advance: in this case, when composing the various layers, use cold ingredients and condiments (they will keep their consistency better and after passing in the oven the pasta will seem freshly made), cover with aluminum foil or cling film. and put the pan in the refrigerator. Before putting them in the oven, leave the lasagna at room temperature for 1 hour.
By pre-cooking the lasagna sheets you will shorten the cooking time in the oven. Also, if you are making an “open” lasagna, you will have to precook the sheets, otherwise, because there is less sauce, they will remain too hard.
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.
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