Problem with sloppy lasagna layers

by Shane
(Australia)

G-day Matt,

It’s been a while since I was last in contact with you but I need your help!

Using your wife’s lasagne recipe I made the best lasagne I’ve ever eaten, however I have been unable to replicate it due to my pasta sheets failing. Basically the sheets aren’t firm so I am not getting nice layers. In one case I was left with slop!

I have basically narrowed it down to three possible problems:

- Sheets too moist
- Sheets too thin
- Not long enough in the oven, resulting in undercooked sheets

In the case of the 'slop lasagne' I rolled out the sheets to setting 9 (the thinnest) and used moist sheets. I have since used setting 7 and let the sheets dry out more, however I still cannot get them firm to show definite layers, and am hoping you can provide me with some feedback.

I am cooking the lasagne covered for 20 mins and then under the grill for 10 mins to brown the cheese on top.

Cheers!

Answer:

Hi Shane.

Okay, here's what I'm thinking:

The first time you made the lasagna, was this using packet or fresh pasta sheets?

Either way, I think I know the problem, and that is...

- when making lasagna using fresh sheets of dough, you need to pre-cook these lasagna sheets (i.e. in boiling salted water) before building your lasagna layers.

This is the one key difference between lasagna-building with fresh pasta and the packet stuff (which doesn't need pre-cooking).

In addition, I maybe wouldn't use the thinnest setting when machining your sheets of dough. I usually use a medium setting for lasagna sheets.

Nor do I cover the lasagna in the oven.

I hope that helps. Do let me know how you get on won't you?

Cheers and buona fortuna ('good luck') :-)

Matt.

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