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One of the most memorable pasta ever - lasagne bolognese made from flour, eggs and sweat!
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An organized workspace is essential! Clockwise from the top left: A large black pot of ragù bolognese, a small stainless steel pot of white béchamel sauce, a stainless steel colander and pot full of ice cold water to instantly stop the cooking once the lasagna has been blanched, a copper pot of boiling salter water and finally a large rectangular ovenproof dish. That's where it will all end.

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When the water is boiling like a caldron from hell, turn the heat up to make sure it will continue boiling even after the pasta absorbs part of the heat.

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Plunge the lasagne one by one into the hot salted water. Please consider that I could have trimmed the lasagna to remove the unsightly serrated edges, but to some see this as a desirable telling sign of homemade pasta. You can see what happens when you flour the pasta or incorporate tiny grains. Nothing goes away, instant lasagna karma.

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Do not actually cook the lasagna, just boil it for a few seconds to stiffen the pasta, then remove using a skimmer or shallow sieve. Please, please, do not ever pour down the pasta into a colander with the boiling water. This is nearly criminal. Not only will you tear your pasta but it means you will have tried to cook everything in one batch, rather than cooking it a few sheets at a time.

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Immediately immerse the cooked lasagna into a bowl of cold water to stop the cooking. If you don't do this you will end up with overcooked pasta unfairly known in my parts as a Swiss-German floorcloth pasta. You haven't cooked for hours to eat that.

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Cover the bottom of your ovenproof dish with a layer of pasta. Please consider that you may have to cut some of the very long pasta sheets, or fold them in half or pile them on top of each other to achieve this. Place some hot ragù bolognese on top ...

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... then a little grated parmesan cheese ...

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... and finally some béchamel sauce. The béchamel is never mixed with the ragù, these are two separate layers.

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Continue with another layer of pasta and ragù ...

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... now we have covered most of the dish's bottom.

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Proceed with the béchamel ...

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... and more cheese.

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Finally our top layer, well wrapped in the pale yellow pasta...

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... then some ragù.

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Please consider that not all households in Bologna place ragù on top.

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Finally the rest of your béchamel ...

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... and the cheese to get a nice crust. Bake in a medium hot oven (180C°/350F°) for about 40 minutes or as long as it takes for the lasagna to bubble and color on the top.

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Here comes that pivotal moment when the blabbermouth stops talking, the conceited prima donna looks up from her mirror, the teenager closes his phone, your brother-in-law shuts the TV off and all congregate in silence around the oven. As the dish slowly comes out the dark crucible and into the light, they whisper: All we saw enter the oven was flour, water, ground meat and some spices, and behold this wonder! What miracle could turn these mundane ingredients into this marvel?

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The smell fills the room. Have your guests leave the kitchen and sit at the table. Bring her majesty the lasagna out. Let her rest one last time so that everything sets and won't slip as you cut it.

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Cut into rectangular portions with a metal scraper.

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The lasagna needs no side dish.

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Tell them you saw this on FXcuisine!

As always, many thanks to Beatrice Bryan from Alsatia for her patient proofreading

Published 29/02/2008
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62 Comments

  • #1
  • Comment by Curt
  • on: 29/02/2008
Great looking noodles and lasagna.  You've done a nice job of showing the pasta process for this, and the end product looks tasty!
  • #2
  • Comment by Thuan
  • on: 29/02/2008
Looks great! My pathetic kitchen is too tiny for a mise en place like that.  will you plan to write up a confit dish? (duck?) I've tried some video tutorials from the web and they did not turn out so terrific.  perhaps the quality of duck I can procure in Houston is not so great
  • #3
  • Comment by vespa rossa
  • on: 29/02/2008
Dio mio, hai fatto benissimo!  Vorrei proprio avere la tua cucina nella casa mia.  Grazie per le foto che mi aiutano da sapere come preparare questo piatto.
  • #4
  • Comment by Allen
  • on: 29/02/2008
It looks lovely -- I just made my first pasta last weekend and loved it.  Every time I see your flat bowl (used to create the pasta dough) I am envious.  I need to find one of those -- it would be so helpful for some of my cooking prep work!
  • #5
  • Comment by Ariun
  • on: 29/02/2008
A wonderful description -- vivid yet clear, spiced with humor. What a delicious read! Thank you FX!
  • #6
  • Comment by Kyle
  • on: 01/03/2008
Though this looks like it would take the better part of an entire day, the payoff looks so worth it!  I've never seen a lasagna that looks so good.  Nice work, thanks!
  • #7
  • Comment by grace
  • on: 01/03/2008
I just found your website and what a wonderful surprise!  The step-by-step photographs are beautiful.  I think I need to start making my pasta from scratch more often.  If you do not mind, where to you find those lovely pasta drying trays?
I used to think writing about the step-by-step cooking process was boring. Until reading your posts. I cannot help chuckling along with your observations/comments. You have great ability to hone in on what is important- it actually makes me feel that I could "easily" (well some of the time) achieve the same...This lasagna definitely made me sit up and take notice.
  • #9
  • Comment by Valmi
  • on: 01/03/2008
I'm eagerly looking forward to trying this soon! My only reservation is with the chicken livers. I recently made pasta n'casciata using a modified version of your neapolitan ragú with chopped liver added and I didn't fall in love with it. The liver bits had an unpleasant texture after all that simmering, and mouthfuls with liver tasted very different from mouthfuls without liver. Then my girlfriend made your lapin braisé and again the rabbit liver bits, while they added nicely to the taste of the sauce, were like rocks. Is there a trick?Great site, by the way, very inspiring!
  • #10
  • Answered by fx
  • on: 02/03/2008
Curt, thanks for visiting! I think you could make the ragù using leftover 12-hour-brisket or other pulled barbecue meat, if possible not overly mopped or otherwise seasoned, and turn out amazing American lasagna with a meat ragù very much in line with what the Italians do.
  • #11
  • Answered by fx
  • on: 02/03/2008
Thuan I've never seen a chef say his kitchen big enough! Some 3 Michelin stars restaurant have only about 200 square feet of kitchen space, while others have well over 3000 square feet. I'll look into the duck confit, but think it might be a problem with the duck fat or the cooking time.
  • #12
  • Answered by fx
  • on: 02/03/2008
Vespa Rossa, grazie per la visita e il complimento! Queste lasagna son abbastanza semplice a fare da se, dovvrei tratare di farli anche tu!
  • #13
  • Answered by fx
  • on: 02/03/2008
Allen, I'm glad you were pleased with your first pasta batch and am sure a lot more will follow! The flat wooden bowl can be found in various countries, I just saw yesterday a picture of a Bulgarian mama making biscuits in a squarish, flat wooden dish just like it. Before I used to do everything directly on the table or kitchen top, it's fine really but a bitt less convenient to clean up. And of course you get a more ceremonial look with the gsâa!
  • #14
  • Answered by fx
  • on: 02/03/2008
Ariun, thanks for visiting my Lasagna!
  • #15
  • Answered by fx
  • on: 02/03/2008
Kyle, you are right that lasagna making will take up the better part of your morning, but you can have family and friends join in, it's a wonderful, fun and healthy way of spending the day! You owe it to yourself to try this during your time on this earth.
  • #16
  • Answered by fx
  • on: 02/03/2008
Grace, these are called 'cassetti asciugapasta', or 'pasta-drying drawers'. They are not particularly well built and I ordered them for €6.90 for a set of 3 from a cookware supplier in Italy, http://www.daltoscano.com .  You can also use a 'stendipasta' to hang the pasta up to dry.
  • #17
  • Answered by fx
  • on: 02/03/2008
Callipygia, I think was saves my articles from having readers show me they callipygian behinds as they leave are the pictures. Just the words would be indigestible!
  • #18
  • Answered by fx
  • on: 02/03/2008
Valmi, thanks for visiting! I have the solution for the liver. Just do like at La Tour d'Argent (see my article) - they quickly run the duck livers through a food blender before adding them back to the sauce. Myself I usually crush them under the blade of a large chinese cleaver, then chop them to cut through the fibers, then when frying them I make sure there are no large bits which I agree are utterly unappetising. I am glad you decided to try the liver-in-the-sauce and am confident that, armed with these extra tips, your  next sauce will be a success!
Jolie Lasagna mon ami Thats very beautiful lasagna, I am so jealous that I could not be there to get just a spoonful of it.-JZ
  • #20
  • Answered by fx
  • on: 03/03/2008
Johnny thanks for coming back to FXcuisine.com to ready my lasagna article! Yes, gorgeous indeed, but anybody can replicate it with very basic ingredients - and a lot of time.
  • #21
  • Comment by Nichi
  • on: 13/03/2008
Amazing. Thank you, I learned a lot...And now, I am hungry.
  • #22
  • Answered by fx
  • on: 16/03/2008
Nichi, thanks for visiting and I hope you get to try this once! Look into my bubble gum ice cream recipe for less exhausting fun.
  • #23
  • Comment by Luci
  • on: 19/03/2008
Hi FX!  I made this on the weekend and it was a great hit - I made a double batch, it took the whole afternoon, but it was worth it!  I'm thinking about making it again this weekend.... :)
  • #24
  • Comment by Ross
  • on: 20/03/2008
Francois, thank you for the wonderful site and the wonderful pictures.After many years of thinking about it, you prompted me to make my own pasta. I started with parpadelle and the results have been excellent.My local supermarket didn't have didn't have durum flour but did have semolina with the consistency of sugar. It seem a little coarse but I used it anyway. It took great effort to knead and roll out but the noodles were very firm and delicious.I've since found a source of 100% durum wheat flour and use only that and eggs. Wonderful exercise and the results are fantastic.I saw Mario Batali make a sauce where he browned a fillet of beef before adding it to a ragu base. He then casseroled it slowly in an oven until the meat was tender enough to break apart and mix in with the ragu base. He served that with parpadelle, I think. It looked delicious.Thanks again.
  • #25
  • Answered by fx
  • on: 24/03/2008
Luci, thanks for trying my lasagna, I hope you'll want to make it again and again! Next time you can invite your guests an hour before to help you make the pasta, I did that once and people still speak about it years later as a most memorable food experience!
  • #26
  • Answered by fx
  • on: 24/03/2008
Ross, congratulations for making your first pasta! When you'll look back a few years from now you'll see this as a landmark in your home chef career. Coarse durum semolina can be made finer with a kitchen mixer. Batali is a great source for pasta knowledge in English. Try to get Paul Bertoli's "Cooking by Hand" and "Bugialli on Pasta", two other major serious homemade pasta cookbooks.
  • #27
  • Comment by Ross
  • on: 27/03/2008
Francois, a question.I've been using fine ground durum wheat flour. It makes good pasta. But I'm wondering if it makes sense to add in perhaps 20% ground semolina for a firmer noodle.When I made my first batch with 100% ground semolina it was almost impossible to work with but made a wonderful noodle. It was wonderfully firm without being chewey.Is this something you do?
  • #28
  • Answered by fx
  • on: 27/03/2008
Ross, I think durum wheat is the cereal and 'flour' versus 'semolina' is the size of the grains - let me know if my wording is not correct. Yes you could use a little more semolina to make them harder but my recommendation is to try with the various flours/semolinas you have until you get a texture that works with your procedure and tastes. I don't think there are two chefs or to mamas in Italy that use the exact same flour mix. Good luck!
  • #29
  • Comment by oss
  • on: 27/03/2008
Yes, Francois, your wording is correct.I think I'll try 20% semolina to 80% flour in my next batch.
  • #30
  • Comment by Ross
  • on: 28/03/2008
Tried the 20%/80% ratio tonight... and  it was wonderful; firm but not too firm. Just delicious. This will be my standard recipe form now on.

  • #31
  • Answered by fx
  • on: 29/03/2008
Ross, in Japan they named the variety of soba noodles made in Tokyo with the Japanese words that mean 2 and 8 because it uses 2 parts regular flour to 8 parts buckwheat. So you could call your house mix two-and-eight perhaps!
  • #32
  • Comment by Ross
  • on: 29/03/2008
Francois, the soba noodle ratio is a fine indicator, for sure, but I think I'll try a 70/30 or 60/40 ratio soon. At 80/20 the dough was quite pliable, so as long as I can work it comfortably I'll err on the side of a firm mixture. Once again, thank you for your inspiration.
Fabulous website, with delicious looking recipes.  Despite being a very lazy cook myself, I do love to read recipes and every once in a while try one out.  This website is filled with a wealth of recipes that are just that little bit different.  I'll be back to try one or two out soon.
  • #34
  • Answered by fx
  • on: 05/04/2008
Dee Huff, once you have firmly committed the recipe to memory, bought the ingredients and prepared the workspace, it's no big deal to cook and the lazyness dissolves into gluttony. I hope you get to try one of my recipes!
Francois,

You inspired me to try this from scratch, meaning NO boxed, dried lasah=gna noodles!  I usually make my own pasta, but I never had when it came to lasagna, and let me tell you, the difference it makes is ASTOUNDING.  I used a combination of your ragu bolognese, and one handed down to me by my late Italian granny, and it was fabulous.  It was gone within an hour or two.  I posted some photos and results on my new blog, although my camera is awful, so they don't look nearly as beautiful as yours.

That said, I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE your site and cannot wait to dig into some more of your recipes.
  • #36
  • Comment by Richard
  • on: 01/06/2008
Hi Francois,

I tried lasagne with my own "made-from-scratch" lasagne sheets this evening.

I defrosted a couple of bags of my ragu and made it for the family.

The results were superb. I love the way you can get the lasagne good and thin. Its almost like working with filo pastry (like making a baklava!!)

Its STILL not as good as my Mum's lasagne even though the ragu and the pasta is superior! I guess no lasagne will ever match up to those memories!!

Its certainly worth doing this way and a much more satisfying dish than using commercial lasagne sheets.

I was going to take a photo and send it to you. But we were hungy and it disappeared in minutes!!

All the best,

Richard
  • #37
  • Answered by fx
  • on: 04/06/2008
Lisa, congratulations on making your first batch of homemade lasagna! Next time, try my Sicilian Chocolate Ragù, also served on lasagna.
  • #38
  • Answered by fx
  • on: 04/06/2008
Richard, I'm so glad I had a hand in convincing you to try making your own lasagna! Sounds like you had a great time. Certainly your memory of your mother's recipes can never be beaten!
  • #39
  • Comment by Shelley Vescera
  • on: 23/06/2008
These recipes are so authentic and delicious!  I am so happy to have found your website!  I have an Italian cookbook that dates back to the 60's that I use and your Ragu Bolognese recipe is very similar and delicious. I love the lasagne! Thank you!!
Shelley Vescera
From Rhode Island
  • #40
  • Answered by fx
  • on: 28/06/2008
Shelley, thanks for visiting and I hope you get to try the Bolognese as well as the Chocolate Ragù, both very old, time-tested and delicious Italian recipes you can find on FXcuisine.com
  • #41
  • Comment by Bart
  • on: 04/10/2008
Tonight I made this recipe using the remains of the bolognese sauce that I made last night.  Since I commented on the sauce that it lacked some body, I decided to make some additions to it before I ladled it into the lasagna.  I sautéed five cloves of minced garlic in some olive oil and added that to the sauce.  Then I simmered the sauce (with some extra water) with five bay leaves and about ten springs of thyme for one hour.  The sauce had already improved since yesterday as the flavors had time to marry, but the addition of garlic and herbs improved it further.

I made the pasta and the bechamel.  This time, I used 110g of flour per 70g of egg.  It turns out that the KitchenAid just can't knead pasta dough like it does bread dough.  I have to use my hands, and it's a lot more tedious than just letting the machine knead the dough.

I used five eggs, which was 255g of egg, and I feared that I wasn't going to have enough pasta to make the lasagna.  So I rand the pasta sheets up to the setting 6 on my Atlas.  (Normally, I would have stopped at setting 5).  It turns out that setting 5 would have made too little and setting 6 made too much, but it turned out okay.  The pasta was thin and we actually liked how thin it was in the final dish.

Speaking of which, the final dish was AWESOME!  It was, by far, the best lasagna I have ever eaten, bar none.  That's partially due to the $15.00 of parmiggano-reggiano that I added to it, I'm sure, but the sauce was rich and meaty and the bechamel added body and richness without being overpowering.  My eight-year-old son loved it as much as the adults did.  It's the perfect "company food" and I feel like I've become a better chef through making this dish.  Thank you, François!
  • #42
  • Answered by fx
  • on: 06/10/2008
Bart, thanks for updating me on your success with this dish, I am so happy it worked for you! Indeed I know no kneading machines that can seriously knead pasta dough, you have to do it by hand, and dry is the way to go. But using the pasta machine to laminate it help even out any unkneaded parts of the dough if needed. It is not surprising your son liked it, after all he's got the genes of his father and kids love lasagna and really can tell the difference with the frozen crap they're served at school!
  • #43
  • Comment by Rubiati
  • on: 28/10/2008
Hi FX,

Looks fantastic!
May I add Cheddar or Romano or Gruyere or combination of these cheese to the béchamel sauce as well as a pinch of nutmeg?

Cheers,

Rubi

Singapore
  • FX's answer→ Rubiati, no, please don't ruin your pasta and your cheese by mixing them. At most you can add a pinch of Parmesan cheese, but more in line might be roasted breadcrumbs. But not Gruyère!

  • #45
  • Comment by Mark Powell
  • on: 24/05/2009
Dear François-Xavier,
I live in Texas. My grand-children are presently here with me, and I wanted for them to have the experience of making something memorable for the American Memorial Day. Since I already have a pasta machine, I chose to make your wonderful recipe for "Lasagna from Scratch" and the bechamel sauce and meat ragu, as well. I'm sure it's the best lasagna any of them have ever had; it was for me, too! Just as important as the eating, though, was their experience of making everything (with just a little help from me). Children remember such things all their lives.
Thank you, François-Xavier!
--Mark
  • #46
  • Comment by mark
  • on: 08/09/2009
I'm absolutely shell shocked by this magestic presentation! Fantastic cooking, fabulous photography, and beautifully written! it's sensational the way you communicate your passion, and i must say i can smell the food from my office desk!
Thank-you for sharing your secrets, I will remember next time i make the lasagna!
  • #47
  • Comment by Taylor Witt
  • on: 27/10/2009
Francois,

I made this tonight on my girlfriend's request and it was GREAT!

I used half beef half venison and put a chile in the ragu while it simmered and it had an incredible depth of flavor. Using the Parmesan and no ricotta was a nice change, and if I can say it it made the dish slightly lighter.

Another great idea fx!
Taylor-Texas
  • FX's answer→ Taylor, this sounds like a wonderful ragù, using benison and a pepper to me is very much in line with the spirit if not the letter of a Bolognese ragù. Congratulations!

  • #49
  • Comment by Simmy
  • on: 03/12/2009
OHhh MY GOD!  My mother used to make lasgna from scratch just like this in Eritrea, Africa (former Italian colony)where store bought lasagna was not available.  She's taught my sister & I to make this type of lasagna but w. store bought lasagna.  I have found many Americans look at our lasagna as NOT authentic.  Thank you for proving us right & everyone else wrong! :-) I will definetly try to make my own lasagna now, for it just looks absolulty delicious.
  • FX's answer→ Glad this brought you back some memories of your childhood Simmy! Lasagna and Bolognese are two dishes that have been mangled beyond recognition abroad. Don't let this grind you down - the original is from Bologna and can't be beaten.

  • #51
  • Comment by don siranni
  • on: 24/01/2010
Now I know what my next".extravangaza" will be-absoultely wonderful.And,of course,I'm still here and learning with every archived FX'er  .Please keep it up,at least a little .   Slainta     Don
  • #52
  • Comment by db
  • on: 24/02/2010
this is a wondeful lagsagna! I'm making it again this weekend for my daughter's birthday lunch. One question: what quantities do you typically use for the butter and flour in the béchamel sauce? Absolutely marvelous site!!!
  • FX's answer→ Don, you need to use the same weight of butter and flour for Béchamel.

  • #54
  • Comment by Darrell
  • on: 23/05/2010
Hello! I followed your recipe and made my own Lasagna Bolognese from scratch the other day, thanks so much for posting it and for doing so in such an easy-to-follow manner! (The pictures are beautiful and very helpful to us amateur home chefs). Of course, mine doesn't look as nice as your'ss, but I posted it on my blog with a linkback to your's so people can follow your recipe. Thanks!
D-
  • #55
  • Comment by Darrell
  • on: 23/05/2010
PS. Forgot to tell you, I cheated a little bit and did a layer of very thinly-sliced (using my mandoline slicer) tomatoes, zucchini, and eggplant to get some vegetables in there :)
  • #56
  • Comment by Mariam
  • on: 12/06/2010
That was so helpful! I will try it now! I have the exact same pasta machine and I used it once before to make spaghetti, and it turned out surprisingly good! So I thought I'll try something more complicated. Hope it turns out as great as yours looks
  • FX's answer→ Homemade lasagna, made properly, is one of the really amazing dishes of this world!

  • #58
  • Comment by Andrea
  • on: 07/09/2010
This site is very good and interesting! Congrats :-) About the Lasagne i feel that as a bolognese guy and lover of this dish i have to tell a few things about them, at least on how they are usually made here. First difference that comes to my mind is the color: here we use to make them green, adding to the dough either spinachs or, if you are very hardcore and "classic style", Nettle. Second, as for any kind of fresh pasta dishes, for optimal and "true to the spirit" results, one must use a wooden stick called mattarello, the hand machine you show is ok for speed and ease of use, but fresh pasta has to be rough on the surface, not smooth, to better grasp the ragù or topping you put on them. Third point if i may add, is that if possible you should use true italian Parmigiano Reggiano, the parmesan fax simile makes me cry :-(

Last point, as a matter of taste, i'd use maybe less bechamer, to keep Lasagne somewhat more "dry", i dont like to see the oil and liquid on the dish when im done, and they are lighter if you keep both ragu and bechamel quantites a bit down :-)

Congrats again though, is quite a very difficult dish to make!
  • #59
  • Comment by Allison M
  • on: 29/12/2010
Truly one of the most delicious things I have ever made, delicate, light, superb flavor. The combination of the sauce, bechamel and pasta marry beautifully. My husband is already asked when I am going to make this again.
  • #60
  • Comment by Timmo
  • on: 02/01/2011
This is a great blog, you need to publish more recipes!

I had made some beef stock and froze it in ice cube trays.  I two cups left over and decided to make a bolognese, found your recipe and liked how relatively easy it was compared to the one in Cooking by Hand.  I've made it with pureed chicken livers and don't like it as much, so I left it out.  It was delicious, we ate about half of it with fresh tagliatelle.

I think I'll make the lasagna with the other half.  I like your recipe, but I'll roll the dough thinner (second to last, if not thinnest setting) and make more layers.

Thanks for the tips! Believe it or not, it's COLD in Los Angeles right now, and a lasagna would be perfect.
  • #61
  • Comment by Low´n Green
  • on: 10/01/2011
Hi FX,
I made your lasagne and it was really delishous. Now I´m thinking about making it on my daughters communion for about 20 peiple as a main dish. Is it possible to make the lasagne the day before, when I use homemade dough, and put it in the oven the next day?
Thank you for your answer ann your superb site!
  • #62
  • Comment by chris
  • on: 15/01/2011
Thanks for the very good demonstration.  The idea of folding the lasagna sheet in half as you decrease the thickness of the pasta is a good tip.  It didn't say that in the instructions and I was left with a sheet too long and not wide enough.  I must confess, I didn't actually dry or boil the sheets of pasta...just cooked the fresh pasta dish more slowly in the oven to let the juice and sauce cook it through...is that a sin?  It tasted fine!

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