Homemade lasagna is a treat but is often left to be part of a holiday meal because of how time-consuming it can be to make. There are several shortcuts for making homemade lasagna in order to be able to enjoy it more often.
Cooking the pasta can be time-consuming and messy. There are several alternatives to dealing with cooking lasagna noodles. The first is to use the no-boil type. The only drawback to using this kind of lasagna noodles is that you need to increase the amount of sauce you use. All brands are not the same either. Some taste ” pasty” whereas other brands will fool your family.
Another option to messing with lasagna noodles is to use rigatoni noodles. Laying the noodles the same way you would lasagna noodles is just as easy. It is similar to doing a layered baked ziti casserole.
The easiest way to deal with the mess of cooking lasagna noodles is to prepare to use them right after cooking. Use a bowl with some ice water and transfer the cooked, drained lasagna noodles directly into the cold water. This will make it easier to handle.
While you are waiting for your water to boil or the lasagna noodles to cook, prepare your cheeses. Shredding mozzarella is easier if you put it in the freezer for about 15 minutes. The naturally soft cheese will be much easier to grate by hand. I add freshly chopped parsley to my ricotta cheese and always having chopped fresh parsley in a jar in my refrigerator (with back-up in the freezer) I can cut out the step of having to chop parsley on demand.
The sauce can make or break your homemade lasagna. Many people may use a jarred sauce but I prefer homemade. Preparation makes this easier to throw lasagna together quickly. Make sauce and freeze it in quart containers. The day before you are planning to make homemade lasagna, take a quart or two out of the freezer and transfer it to the refrigerator to defrost. With ready-made homemade sauce, your lasagna will be delicious.
If you didn’t plan ahead and are forced to use a jarred sauce, doctor it up with your own combination of spices. Garlic, onion, basil and oregano can fix a bland tomato based spaghetti sauce. Add some browned ground beef or sliced cooked Italian sausage and your homemade lasagna will really taste great.
Remember to clean as you go and once you get your lasagna in the oven, you won’t have too big of a mess to deal with. Homemade lasagna is a treat but using these tips you may feel like making it more often.