Monday, July 6, 2009

Finally...perfect Lasagna noodles!!

My husband's favorite food is Lasagna (I don't think it's half bad either!), but I have never really made them because of how involved they can be. Since he loves Lasagna so much, though, I wanted to start trying various recipes to find a good/easy one. Luckily, the first one I tried was the winner. I use Tyler Florence's recipe for The Ultimate Lasagna Bolognese from his book, Dinner At My Place. It is quite delicious, and I especially love the taste of cinnamon and red wine in it. It is quite a production, though, so I wasn't able to escape that, but this one is worth it I must say. Tyler even gives the recipe for homemade pasta dough so you can make your own pasta. I'm sorry, but the rest of the recipe takes long enough, so I don't want to add on even more work. Plus, I don't have the nifty pasta attachment that you can buy for stand mixers. Hell, I don't even have a stand mixer. Plus, I like whole wheat pasta better. So, as you can see, I really don't want to make the pasta from scratch.

The problem is that the noodles never come out quite right. Usually, directions will tell you to cook the noodles according to what's on the box. I've done that and they get overcooked when the whole thing goes in the oven. Then, I've tried cooking them a few minutes less than the directions, but they still don't come out perfectly. I've heard about the no-cook lasagna noodles that just go straight into the oven, but to tell you the truth, I have a hard time trusting some of those cooking shortcuts, so I can't bring myself to try them. I haven't heard great things about them anyway.

Finally, I saw Ina making a lasagna, and she simply filled a large bowl with really hot tap water and left the lasagna noodles in it for about 20 minutes before draining. I figured, why not? Less time and hassle, since you don't have to wait for water to boil and all that. I was a little skeptical, I have to admit. I usually snack on one of the noodles-you know, just to make sure they're good-and this time, you couldn't eat them because they were still pretty hard in the center. Way short of al dente! I guess that's the secret, though. After cooking in the oven for an hour, the noodles were perfectly done. Finally, success! And it's so much easier! Ina comes through again!!

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