How to Make Classic Homemade Lasagna: You Asked for It!
We asked our Recipe.com Facebook fans to tell us which dishes they wanted to master, and classic lasagna was one of them. No wonder. There’s nothing quite like the gentle waft of a bubbly, golden-hued lasagna emerging from the oven to call the troops to dinner — it might just be enough to, say, get your teenaged sons to turn off the PlayStation without that five-minute warning.
For a dish that looks so impressive (and can feed a crowd), lasagna is surprisingly easy to make. (Yeah, yeah, we know — but trust us here.) There isn’t a lot of magic to it, just a lot of steps. In other words, what intimidates a lot of people about making lasagna is how long it takes, and it’s true: this definitely isn’t one of those kitchen-to-table in 30 minutes or less recipes. But lasagna is one of those dinners where the leftovers are often just as good (or even better) as the original. So by doing double-duty in the kitchen one night, you’re actually getting two meals (and maybe even a lunch).
If you’re a lasagna novice, give yourself plenty of time to make your first lasagna (it’s a great weekend afternoon project). Then, if you’re like us, you’ll no doubt find there’s one lasagna recipe that you go back to again and again, and every time you make it, you’ll find ways to shave a minute here and there off the prep time. Soon, it’ll be a breeze.
We’ve got a super helpful, step-by-step video on how to make a classic lasagna recipe. Start by watching that. We’ve also compiled some tips and tricks based on our own lasagna-making experience.
• Pick the right tomatoes. Good canned tomatoes can make all the difference in terms of flavor, so spend a few extra cents on a quality brand.
• Set a large pot of salted water to boil before you do anything else. That way you won’t find yourself with your sauce done and, literally, watching the pot waiting for it to boil. If the water comes to a boil before you’re ready to cook the noodles, just lower the heat and hold it at a simmer, then bring it to a full boil again before adding the noodles.
• Make good use of your time. With practice, you’ll learn that every lasagna recipe has things you can do while other things cook. For example, once you’ve got your sauce simmering, you can grate your cheese, popping over to stir the sauce occasionally.
• Boil your noodles until they’re al dente — no more. The box should tell you how long the noodles take to boil until they’re al dente (“to the tooth” in Italian), which essentially means cooking them so they’re still a bit firm. That way, when they finish cooking in the oven, they’ll be perfect, not soggy.
• Drain your noodles on a kitchen towel. Recipes for lasagna invariably tell you to drain your noodles “well.” A good way to do that is to set two or three noodles on half of a kitchen towel, then fold the other half over them and pat gently. You’ll be sure to get any excess water off.
• Let your lasagna rest! Don’t be fooled into thinking that your lasagna will be ready to eat as soon as you pull it out of the oven. Yes, we know it’s hard to wait, but it’s worth it. A hot lasagna can fall apart when you cut it, and slightly cooled (but still warm), it tastes even better. Count on letting it set for at least 10 minutes after it comes out of the oven (15–20 minutes is ideal).
Ready to go? Then we’ve got plenty of lasagna recipes for you to try!