How Ina Garten Makes Perfect Lasagna—Every Time
A world without lasagna would be a sad one indeed. Classic lasagna. Extra easy lasagna. We'll take it just about any way you can bake it up. (And then throw in these 17 lasagna recipes you'll never grow tired of for good measure.)
As lasagna connoisseurs, however, there comes a time in every noodlers' career when they realize they've got some refining to do on their technique. Sometimes, in comes in the form of your nephew lamenting the spinach-to-cheese ratio in your maybe a-little-bit-too-healthy rendition of mama's classic lasagna. Sometimes, it's switching to a new tomato sauce and realizing that doing so makes a world of a difference.
For us, it's a wake-up call from Ina Garten teaching us we've been cooking our pasta entirely wrong. As we learned in a recent article from The Kitchn titled "Ina Garten Has a Clever Trick for Making the Best Lasagna Ever," there's a better way to cook our noodles, and we've been completely in the dark about it all these years.
As writer Sheela Prakash points out in the piece, Garten smartly soaks her dry lasagna noodles in hot water instead of going to the trouble to cook them. "This means you don't have to bother bringing a large pot of water to a boil to pre-cook them. And since they're soaked, they'll cook faster in the oven than if you used noodles that were completely dry," writes Prakash. "Plus, the soaking doesn't add any more time to the recipe because it's done while the sauce simmers."
The tip comes courtesy of the Barefoot Contessa's turkey lasagna recipe, which boasts hundreds of five-star reviews and much effusive praise. "I've been making lasagna my entire life. I'm 100% Italian and I have always thought my recipe was great, that is... until I tried this one. Don't make any changes, its just perfect the way it is," writes one happy reviewer, while another comments, "Made exactly as Ina directs and it was fabulous. Great sauce, many flavors. Noodle trick is great! Loved the cheese blend, very rich and delicious. This recipe is a real keeper. Thanks Ina, I love you!"
To employ the so-called "noodle trick," simply fill a large bowl with the hottest tap water, put your dry lasagna noodles in, and let the noodles soak for 20 minutes before draining.
Not that we need another excuse to make lasagna, but we think we'll have to test-drive this strategy tonight. Thanks for the brilliant tip, Mrs. Garten.