View Poll Results: Lasagna: ricotta or bechamel?
Ricotta 90 60.81%
Bechamel 18 12.16%
Both 11 7.43%
Neither 5 3.38%
Sometimes one, sometimes the other 11 7.43%
Depends on... 2 1.35%
A completely different answer 9 6.08%
What's "lasagna"? 2 1.35%
Voters: 148. You may not vote on this poll

Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
  #101  
Old 08-19-2019, 07:07 AM
davidm's Avatar
davidm is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2002
Location: Near Philadelphia PA, USA
Posts: 12,482
Quote:
Originally Posted by SanVito View Post
Ok, while I have everyone's attention, I've noticed in this and other threads that Americans sometimes use 'noodles' to refer to pasta in general? Is this right? Or is it just for long thin pasta like spaghetti or linguine.



Full disclosure, I would only use 'noodles' to refer to the long thin things that typically come with cuisine from the Far East. Not Italy.
I'm an American and generally use "pasta" to refer to the various Italian things like spaghetti, lasagna, rigatoni, etc. I use "noodles" when refering to the far eastern things or things like this: https://www.walmart.com/ip/4-pack-Gr...6-oz/578178620
__________________
Check out my t-shirt designs in Marketplace. https://boards.straightdope.com/sdmb...php?p=21131885

Last edited by davidm; 08-19-2019 at 07:08 AM.
  #102  
Old 08-19-2019, 08:26 AM
pulykamell is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: May 2000
Location: SW Side, Chicago
Posts: 47,822
Quote:
Originally Posted by SanVito View Post
Ok, while I have everyone's attention, I've noticed in this and other threads that Americans sometimes use 'noodles' to refer to pasta in general? Is this right? Or is it just for long thin pasta like spaghetti or linguine.

Full disclosure, I would only use 'noodles' to refer to the long thin things that typically come with cuisine from the Far East. Not Italy.
No, it's not just thin pasta like spaghetti or linguine (and I tend not to use it for those shapes.) My personal tendency is to use "noodles" most commonly for short egg noodles of a flat, or flat and twisty sort like this. But then there's the noodles in "chicken noodle soup," which can be pretty much any kind of pasta. But, thinking about it now, I think "noodles" to me conjures up wider styles of pasta rather than thinner ones.

I will sometimes say "lasagna noodles" when describing the sheets. I'm not sure why, and it's not common for me to refer to them, but that sounds natural to me, so I must have picked it up here.

Last edited by pulykamell; 08-19-2019 at 08:26 AM.
  #103  
Old 08-19-2019, 10:02 AM
davidm's Avatar
davidm is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2002
Location: Near Philadelphia PA, USA
Posts: 12,482
Quote:
Originally Posted by davidm View Post
I'm an American and generally use "pasta" to refer to the various Italian things like spaghetti, lasagna, rigatoni, etc. I use "noodles" when refering to the far eastern things or things like this: https://www.walmart.com/ip/4-pack-Gr...6-oz/578178620
Quote:
Originally Posted by pulykamell View Post
No, it's not just thin pasta like spaghetti or linguine (and I tend not to use it for those shapes.) My personal tendency is to use "noodles" most commonly for short egg noodles of a flat, or flat and twisty sort like this. But then there's the noodles in "chicken noodle soup," which can be pretty much any kind of pasta. But, thinking about it now, I think "noodles" to me conjures up wider styles of pasta rather than thinner ones.

I will sometimes say "lasagna noodles" when describing the sheets. I'm not sure why, and it's not common for me to refer to them, but that sounds natural to me, so I must have picked it up here.
I forgot about chicken noodle soup. That often has short spaghetti-like things that, for some reason, we refer to as noodles rather than pasta.

I guess the best way to describe our usage is that if it's prepared in an Italian manner it's pasta otherwise it's noodles, but there are probably a few exceptions to that.
__________________
Check out my t-shirt designs in Marketplace. https://boards.straightdope.com/sdmb...php?p=21131885

Last edited by davidm; 08-19-2019 at 10:05 AM.
  #104  
Old 08-19-2019, 10:49 AM
bobot's Avatar
bobot is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2009
Location: Chicago-ish
Posts: 8,708
Seems pretty common to me, perhaps I was raised by rubes, to refer to the pasta portion of a plate of spaghetti as spaghetti noodles. I've never before considered if that was proper.
  #105  
Old 08-19-2019, 10:55 AM
araminty is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jan 2006
Location: Santa Clara, CA
Posts: 2,783
When I referred to "pasta sheets" for the first time, meaning uncooked dried lasagne, my American husband laughed aloud.
  #106  
Old 08-19-2019, 11:30 AM
pulykamell is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: May 2000
Location: SW Side, Chicago
Posts: 47,822
whoops. dupe.

Last edited by pulykamell; 08-19-2019 at 11:30 AM.
  #107  
Old 08-20-2019, 12:21 AM
Johanna's Avatar
Johanna is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Oct 1999
Location: Altered States of America
Posts: 13,393
When I make regular lasagne, I use tomato sauce and ricotta. When I make lasagne Florentine, I use béchamel and spinach.

The OP seems to think of replacing ricotta with béchamel. That isn't how I think of it. Béchamel replaces tomato sauce. Spinach replaces ricotta.

Anyway, I voted both B & R. Edit: I should have voted sometimes one, sometimes the other.

Last edited by Johanna; 08-20-2019 at 12:22 AM.
  #108  
Old 08-21-2019, 12:52 AM
Mama Zappa is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 12,399
Quote:
Originally Posted by Beckdawrek View Post
Agree
You are both dead to me.

I'd never heard of bechamel (or the Italian besciamella) being used in lasagna until relatively recently. It's just milk and flour, basically - seems like all it would do is help moisten the noodles. The cheese (ricotta, dammit!!) gives flavor and protein beyond what milk could do.

Once or twice I have been served lasagna in a restaurant that was probably made with bechamel, in hindsight - no tomato / meat in it at all, maybe with a bit of tomato poured over the top.
  #109  
Old 08-21-2019, 01:01 AM
Mama Zappa is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 12,399
FYI, my mother (whose ties to Italy come no closer than Germany or Hungary) got a lasagna recipe from some utterly American cookbook in the 1960s, and I honestly think it's the best lasagna I've ever had.

The meat sauce is basically tomatoes, meat, onions and I think garlic - no oregano or other seasonings.

Then assemble as follows:
thin layer of meat sauce
layer of noodles
Ricotta (we just blop spoonfuls of it along the noodles, we don't try to spread it)
mozzarella
grated parmesan (the stuff in a can, nothing fancy).
Repeat until you can't fit any more in the pan. Last layers are noodles, more mozzarella / parm, and a bit of meat sauce to make sure there are no nekkid noodles to get crunchy in the oven.

Every couple of years I'll buy a whole lotta ingredients and foil pans, and have a massive lasagna assembly line going on where I freeze pan after pan of the stuff. Too darn much trouble otherwise.
  #110  
Old 08-21-2019, 01:03 AM
Mama Zappa is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 12,399
Quote:
Originally Posted by Johanna View Post
Lasagne layered with spinach, sometimes called Florentine,* is of course made with béchamel. It's been many long years since I've seen that dish, since "Florentine" was last trendy in the 1970s....
Well, this is the definitive answer as to why bechamel / besciamella sauce in lasagna is just plain wrong. If it's associated with spinach it's evil.
  #111  
Old 08-21-2019, 03:51 AM
Johanna's Avatar
Johanna is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Oct 1999
Location: Altered States of America
Posts: 13,393
Hm? I'll stand by my belief that they go well together.
  #112  
Old 08-21-2019, 09:05 AM
bobot's Avatar
bobot is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2009
Location: Chicago-ish
Posts: 8,708
Alright then, where do we stand concerning boiling or even par-boiling the pasta (almost said noodles) before assembling the lasagna? I've found better results par-boiling. Otherwise, I feel I must add extra water before baking the thing, and I don't get the amount right.
  #113  
Old 08-21-2019, 09:13 AM
pulykamell is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: May 2000
Location: SW Side, Chicago
Posts: 47,822
Quote:
Originally Posted by bobot View Post
Alright then, where do we stand concerning boiling or even par-boiling the pasta (almost said noodles) before assembling the lasagna? I've found better results par-boiling. Otherwise, I feel I must add extra water before baking the thing, and I don't get the amount right.
The lasagna I usually make (spinach lasagna sheets, bolognese, bechamel), I make from scratch, and with that, I do find par boiling the noodles makes a difference in texture. Par-boiled, the final dish comes out with more distinct layers; cooking it without parboiling noodles, I find the result more mushy. Now, this doesn't mean the dish isn't good in both cases, but I prefer the texture of the better separated noodles.
  #114  
Old 08-21-2019, 09:49 AM
MrDibble's Avatar
MrDibble is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Mar 2001
Location: Cape Town, South Africa &
Posts: 26,019
I'm the opposite - I par-boil store-bought dried sheets, but if I've made the sheets myself, I don't bother, they cook in the sauces.
  #115  
Old 08-21-2019, 07:59 PM
Mama Zappa is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 12,399
Quote:
Originally Posted by bobot View Post
Alright then, where do we stand concerning boiling or even par-boiling the pasta (almost said noodles) before assembling the lasagna? I've found better results par-boiling. Otherwise, I feel I must add extra water before baking the thing, and I don't get the amount right.
I always used to precook the noodles - it's what the recipe called for. Then I read an article at Epicurious that made the point that using the no-cook noodles not only reduced the effort involved - but absorbed any extra liquid from the other ingredients.

As I tend to make mine sauce-heavy, that's actually a good idea - so I've used the no-boil noodles the last few rounds.

I wouldn't use regular noodles w/o boiling at least partly.

The downsides of the no-cook noodles are a) they aren't quite the same size as regular ones so they don't fill the pan quite as well, and b) they're a bit more expensive.
  #116  
Old 08-23-2019, 12:44 AM
Mama Zappa is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 12,399
Quote:
Originally Posted by Johanna View Post
Hm? I'll stand by my belief that they go well together.
And do they do - on SOMEONE ELSE'S PLATE
  #117  
Old 08-23-2019, 04:13 AM
Melbourne is online now
Guest
 
Join Date: Nov 2009
Posts: 5,260
Cripes, you make "Lasagna" with Ricotta? And you use catsup for the Tomato?
  #118  
Old 08-23-2019, 07:17 AM
pulykamell is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: May 2000
Location: SW Side, Chicago
Posts: 47,822
Quote:
Originally Posted by Melbourne View Post
Cripes, you make "Lasagna" with Ricotta? And you use catsup for the Tomato?
Don't know where you get the idea of ketchup being used.

No, look up recipes for Neapolitan or Sicilian lasagna. They all pretty much have ricotta & mozz -- there is nothing odd or inauthentic about ricotta in lasagna such that would require you putting quotation marks/inverted commas around them. The Italians that emigrated to the US were largely from this part of Italy, hence that type of lasagna being the standard in the US.
  #119  
Old 08-23-2019, 08:22 AM
Mama Zappa is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 12,399
Quote:
Originally Posted by pulykamell View Post
Don't know where you get the idea of ketchup being used.

No, look up recipes for Neapolitan or Sicilian lasagna. They all pretty much have ricotta & mozz -- there is nothing odd or inauthentic about ricotta in lasagna such that would require you putting quotation marks/inverted commas around them. The Italians that emigrated to the US were largely from this part of Italy, hence that type of lasagna being the standard in the US.
I think the reference to ketchup was from pulykamell's early experiments with pasta sauce - she certainly implied the results were not especially delicious .

Several people have mentioned that when using ricotta, they mix with egg and perhaps some herbs. I know my mother tried the egg mixture once and wasn't terribly pleased with the results. I have never tried - maybe next time I do a lasagna assembly line, I'll do that with one panful and see what i think of the results.
  #120  
Old 08-23-2019, 08:50 AM
pulykamell is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: May 2000
Location: SW Side, Chicago
Posts: 47,822
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mama Zappa View Post
I think the reference to ketchup was from pulykamell's early experiments with pasta sauce - she certainly implied the results were not especially delicious .
Hey, it wasn't ketchup for the tomato! It was in addition to, at the time, add some thickness and flavor to the sauce. But yeah, in combination with all the other stuff I used to put in there, it didn't quite work out. I do occasionally add a dab of ketchup to tomato-based sauces, though. Not really for pasta, but for stews and such, it actually does work well to up the umami and flavor, but when you're going for the clean tomato flavor of pasta sauces I go for these days, not so much. (And, not that it matters, but I'm a "he.")
  #121  
Old 08-23-2019, 09:14 AM
silenus's Avatar
silenus is offline
Isaiah 1:15/Screw the NRA
Charter Member
 
Join Date: May 2003
Location: SoCal
Posts: 51,503
Quote:
Originally Posted by Johanna View Post
Hm? I'll stand by my belief that they go well together.
"Florentine" anything is delicious!
  #122  
Old 08-23-2019, 03:24 PM
butler1850 is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Nov 2001
Location: NH, Escaped from MA
Posts: 2,905
Quote:
Originally Posted by SanVito View Post
.

Ricotta is too thick, claggy and cheesy.

Mix in a bit of sauce until it becomes pink. Then spread as normal between pasta layers.


Makes a world of difference, and a tip taught to me 30 years ago by an Italian aunt of a gal I dated in high school. I still miss that lady's cooking (and the gal more than a bit)
  #123  
Old 08-24-2019, 11:35 AM
carrps is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Apr 2014
Location: Los Angeles
Posts: 802
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mama Zappa View Post
Several people have mentioned that when using ricotta, they mix with egg and perhaps some herbs. I know my mother tried the egg mixture once and wasn't terribly pleased with the results. I have never tried - maybe next time I do a lasagna assembly line, I'll do that with one panful and see what i think of the results.
Yeah, my mom made a "custard" with cottage cheese, egg, chopped parsley and a small sprinkling of parmesan. I use ricotta instead.

I just like the taste of ricotta! I even love ricotta cheesecake.

Lasagne Florentine is almost too rich to eat more than a tiny square.
Reply

Bookmarks

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is Off
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump


All times are GMT -5. The time now is 03:06 AM.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2019, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.

Send questions for Cecil Adams to: cecil@straightdope.com

Send comments about this website to: webmaster@straightdope.com

Terms of Use / Privacy Policy

Advertise on the Straight Dope!
(Your direct line to thousands of the smartest, hippest people on the planet, plus a few total dipsticks.)

Copyright © 2018 STM Reader, LLC.

 
Copyright © 2017