For years I avoided making lasagna. It just seemed like toooooo much work. Plus, a lovely little Italian restaurant a few miles down the road made the definitive lasagna al forno. Unlike too many restaurants, the Croix Verte made a wonderful lasagna with slow-baked goodness and lots of golden brown and bubbly cheese.
And then I moved. After almost two decades, I packed my bags and left Switzerland … and the Croix Verte. It’s been quite a while since I enjoyed lasagna al forno at the Croix Verte. They also made great pizzas so if you visit them in Nyon, I hope nothing’s changed.
Anyway, when I moved back to the States I discovered the only way to get that warm and wonderful slow-baked taste was to make it myself. Sure it’s a bit time consuming but lasagna is a good project on a cold and rainy or snowy day. And everyone, I mean everyone, loves a nice cheesy lasagna, especially my butternut squash lasagna.
When I first started making lasagnas, I ran into a small but annoying problem. The noodles kept sticking together, hardly a monumental issue but a pain. I tried various tricks. Dropping the noodles into the water one at a time. Arranging the noodles in a fan. Cooking them in a tall soup kettle. A low casserole. None of them worked.
Then I broke one of the cardinal rules of pasta and was rewarded with success! Right before I drop the noodles into the salted boiling water, I add a little olive oil to the pot. The olive oil coats the noodles and keeps them from sticking together or to the bottom of the pot.
Normally, oil in the cooking water is a no-no. Oil will keep your lovely sauce from nicely coating the linguine or penne. Since lasagna noodles are baked for an hour or more with your yummy sauces and cheeses, there is plenty of time for everything to mix and mingle.
And finally, after cooking and draining the noodles, I pop them back in the pot and cover them with cold water until I’m ready to assemble the lasagna(s). A clean kitchen towel is perfect for blotting the wet noodles before layering them in the lasagna.
Hope this helps!
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What’s your favorite kitchen trick or tip? I’d love to hear from you! Let’s get a conversation going. To make a comment, just click on Comments below. I hope that you will take a minute to learn about my philanthropic project Eat Well-Do Good. © Susan W. Nye, 2011