There are no bad lasagnas, only good and better lasagnas. This, and the fact that lasagna freezes well, keeps Stouffer’s in business. While each step of building a lasagna is not particularly difficult there are a lot of steps to the process. I use the term building, rather than making, because unlike most dishes where you put all of the ingredients in and stir, good lasagna is build layer by flavorful layer. While very delicious, lasagna should not be mistaken for a health food, even my low fat version is relatively high fat (lots of cheese and meat) and high in carbohydrates.
This is one of those dishes from my youth. Lasagna was a dish that my mother would make very occasionally, because while being good it is also very labor intensive. In addition to everything you have to do today, in my mother’s day you had to boil and cool the noodles enough so you could handle them (but not over boil or break them). With the introduction of no-boil noodles the process is slightly easier.
I never made lasagna myself until Cook’s Illustrated printed “Faster Lasagna” in their Sept.-Oct. 2002 issue, where they passed a favorable judgment on no-boil noodles. Since that time I have used their recipe as a guide, but as usual I had some standard changes to what they consider perfect (lower fat and lower salt and with all that cheese why would you add cream?). When Myr asked for lasagna last week I decided to write up my changes to the C.I. recipe.
For me this is a dish usually I make for friends who are having a medical crisis. At my age, this has happened with uncomfortable regularity. After it has cooled Continue reading