Cooking lasagna is probably one of the easiest ways of feeding many people with one dish. From its flat sheets of pasta to the simple sauces, it is a fairly easy dish to execute. Just assemble the layers, put cheese on top, pop it in the oven and wait for it to cook. Where can you go wrong?
Sometimes you get soggy pasta because you misjudged the time of cooking, you don’t get enough melting on your cheese, or it can also be that you end up with dry lasagna! How long to cook lasagna to get the perfect meal? This article will give you the answer. Before doing so, follow is to know some interesting first!
History and Origin of Lasagna
Did you know that the word ‘lasagna’ is not of Italian origin, though? It is said that the name of this pasta actually originated from the word ‘laganon’ which is Greek, and means a wide flat sheet of pasta dough cut into stripes and is believed to be the earliest form of pasta. But even though pasta did not originate from Italy, it sure did not originate from China as well, unlike what others may have led to believe. Nope, Marco Polo did not bring pasta to Italy on his way back from China!
So when exactly did the dish named lasagna made it from the shores of Italy? Well, when Italians immigrated to America, they brought their recipes. Each family has their own twist to make this lovely dish their own! It definitely is not just Italian now, is it? There are many types of lasagna now. It seems like everyone has their own versions of this tasty dish. Everyone can enjoy it, even vegetarians!
Needless to say, lasagna has now become not just an internationally loved dish but also a dish that anyone can enjoy regardless of their food preferences! And for those who are carefully watching their diets, lasagna does not need to be the devil you have to avoid in every turn! Lasagna can be healthy!
Unfortunately, some of us make some rookie move when making this dish. You know you did at one point of your life and maybe you are still doing it! One of those mistakes is deciding the exact time of cooking the dish. I won’t kid you, lasagna has different components and if you made a mistake in one of those components the whole dish will be ruined. But making mistakes in cooking this dish in not inevitable!
How Long To Cook Lasagna! The Answer’s Here
Lasagna pasta sheets can be bought in stores or you can make your own. Both are relatively easy to do, nope, it’s not that hard to make pasta especially of it is just lasagna sheets! You can even easily do this without a pasta machine- a free workout, too!
Of course, deciding which one you will use may affect your cooking and prepping time. Let’s start first with the fresh pasta. There’s nothing better than the taste and silky texture of that correctly made fresh pasta, stress on the correctly made.
Making fresh pasta is not that foolproof- see, there’s an advantage and disadvantage in everything! But no pain, no gain, right? It takes time to make fresh pasta, but don’t you worry. It’s not like you will have to spend all that time kneading and rolling the pasta, most of the time needed to make the fresh pasta is devoted to letting the dough rest (this is a very important step, don’t you dare skip it!).
Do you have to boil the pasta for your lasagna if you are making fresh ones? Nope. You don’t have to– you just need to keep them moist while preparing the other components of the dish. You can make sure that your pasta doesn’t dry out by placing it on a wet cloth. Now let’s move to the second option- using store bought pasta.
This is ideal to use if you are short on time or if you are not that confident in making fresh pasta. But don’t fool yourself in thinking that using store bought lasagna sheets lessens the possibility of you lasagna turning out wrong.
In using store bought pasta, don’t just follow the cooking instructions on the packaging. It will always be better to watch the pasta closely as you are cooking it. Approximately it will take eight to 10 minutes to achieve the al dente texture you are looking for.
After cooking the pasta, don’t drain the water. Instead, use tongs to transfer it to cool water and leave it there until the time you’re assembling the lasagna. Not doing that will lead to your pasta clumping, making it hard to assemble the dish!
Commonly, there are two sauces involved in making lasagna: the meat sauce and the béchamel. Making the béchamel sauce is very easy and will only take you about 12 minutes of careful whisking. The meat sauce on the other hand will take up more time, about 40 to 50 minutes, but will not need continuous whisking.
You can also do the sauces beforehand if you can; they will last for 3 days in the fridge but can last for about 3 months if kept in the freezer. You can’t just leave off the cream component of lasagna, but if you are really tight on time you can always do this trick: make the meat sauce creamy instead of making a separate cream sauce!
You need 45 minutes to bake lasagna and when it comes to the baking part of lasagna, we’re looking to accomplish two things: a moist dish and melty, toasty, gooey cheese top. But here’s the dilemma: cover the lasagna while baking and you’ll end up with a not-so-melty top, bake the lasagna uncovered and I assure you you’ll get dry lasagna. So what should you do?
Easy! Bake the lasagna with a foil cover for 15 to 30 minutes of the baking process and then remove the cover for the remaining time! And don’t forget to let you lasagna rest for about 20 minutes, uncovered, before slicing.
Another thing to remember is that aside from keeping the sauces in the fridge, you can also assemble the whole lasagna beforehand and cook it later! That will take 90 minutes, instead.
Making lasagna is time consuming, but the resulting dish can feed an army so it’s definitely worth it!
So just how long to cook lasagna in total?
- Pasta: 0 to 10 minutes
- Béchamel sauce: 12 minutes
- Meat sauce: 40-50 minutes
- Baking: 45 minutes
- Resting: 20 minutes
That is 137 minutes well spent! That’s at most in the cooking time; we’ll leave off the prep time because you prep at your own speed.
I hope you found the tips in cutting back cooking time and making the perfect lasagna helpful! Don’t forget to leave you thoughts in the comments section!