Why does the filling in my lasagna get messy and ooze out?

by Vera
(Middletown, NJ)

I make a delicious old fashioned Italian lasagna and I make the filling extremely rich.

I cook my noodles 'al dente', drain these and lay out to dry.

I put a layer of sauce, noodles, ricotta mixture (which has 3 lbs of ricotta, 2 eggs, fresh parsley, 1/2 lb shredded mozzarella, 1 cup parmesan cheese), and meat sauce on top, continuing with 2 more layers. It ends with 2 ricotta layers inside.

I cook it for about 30 minutes to an hour, and let it sit for a good 15 - 30 mins, and it still oozes out.

What could I possibly be doing wrong?

Thanks.

Response: Hi Vera.

Wow that's a seriously major sauce - I've never heard of so many ingredients being added in there!

A couple of considered suggestions from myself and my ever-dependable mamma-in-law Marisa:

1. A general point first - make sure your tomato sauce is really quite dense and not very liquidy.

2. The most important feedback I have for you however concerns the eggs.

Adding eggs to the ricotta makes the mixture swell up/expand during cooking. This will cause the sauce in general to ooze, as you say happens.

We are not sure eggs are required at all. You certainly have enough other tastes going on that it would still be super-scrummy without these.

3. Since you're using fresh pasta sheets, make sure you don't fill your lasagna tray right to the top, as fresh pasta will further expand when baking.

4. Finally, we reckon you are cooking your lasagna for a little too long. Our usual rule of thumb - no matter what the type of lasagna really - is approx. 30 minutes at 180C/350F.

I hope all that's helpful Vera - please let us know how you get on, and if you manage to lose the ooze!

Matt ;-)

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Thanks
by: Vera

I am so excited to finally get an answer to my dilemma. I cannot wait to try you & your mamma-in-law's suggestion about eliminating the eggs. I never thought of that. I will absolutely let you know how it comes out!

I am so glad I found your website.

Lasagna feedback
by: Anonymous

I dry my noodles on a paper towel. And I only use 1 egg and a small container of cottage cheese. For me you have too many layers, but if it tastes good then that's what counts!

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