Lasagna long ago completed its successful journey from the Old World to the New World, becoming a beloved American staple. It appears to be difficult and complex to make, but it is simple if you assemble your ingredients and prepare it in the correct order. The two most important things are to keep the ingredients in order and allow the baked dish to sit for a half hour so it will hold its shape. With these steps, you can make perfect lasagna at home and enjoy your cooking.
Things You'll Need
Italian-style pasta sauce, with or without meat
Ricotta-based lasagna filling
Mozzarella cheese, shredded
Spinach, cooked, chopped and drained (optional)
Parmesan, Romano or other dry grating cheese
Salt and pepper
1 lb. lasagna noodles, cooked and drained
2 tbsp. olive oil
9-inch by 13-inch baking dish
Begin by pouring a thin layer of pasta sauce in the bottom of the baking dish, just enough to cover it. Spread completely over the bottom of the pan.
Add a single layer of lasagna noodles on top of the red sauce. Add salt and pepper. Top the noodles with half of the ricotta filling, then add half of the spinach (if you are using it). Add shredded mozzarella and then another layer of red sauce.
Add another layer of noodles on top of the red sauce. Add more salt and pepper. Top that with the rest of the ricotta filling and the rest of the spinach (if using). Top that with more mozzarella.
Add another layer of red sauce, then the last layer of noodles. Add salt and pepper. Top this with a thick layer of red sauce and another layer of mozzarella. Top with parmesan or romano cheese and drizzle it with the olive oil. Cover with aluminum foil.
Bake at 375 F for 25 minutes. Remove the foil and bake for an additional 15 minutes, or until brown and bubbling. Remove the lasagna from the oven and allow to set for 30 minutes before cutting.
Add any additional desired ingredients, making sure you have red sauce under and ricotta filling on top of each pasta layer.
Some cooks use lasagna noodles that don't need to be precooked, others use regular noodles without precooking them and some use regular noodles, soaking them in hot water. Experiment with you noodle preparation.
Lasagna should be bubbly when you remove the foil. If it isn't, replace the foil and bake for another 10 minutes.
Make sure all pasta surfaces have sauce, oil or cheese on them, to avoid burning and to keep the noodles soft.