Lasagna cheese filling

I make a damn good lasagna. I’ve always used small curd ricotta for the filling, but I’ve seen/heard of people using larger curd cottage cheese.

Given that I make giant lasagnas, they cost $50 each and I don’t wanna screw one up.

What say y’all?

The Calabrian restaurant I worked for used ricotta (mixed with grated parmesan, chopped garlic, and chopped parsley).

Thanks. I do add parsley, basil, garlic, and parmesan.

But my main question is regarding the size of the cheese curds, ricotta vs cottage.

Surely one of the great chefs at this site has done it both ways.

Maybe I just need to gamble and experiment, but any advice is good.

But there are more differences between the two cheeses than just the size of the curds. Which do you prefer the taste of? Personally, I like a full-fat ricotta more than cottage cheese. What do you like? If you don’t have a taste preference, then it probably doesn’t matter.

Don’t do it! Years ago, I lived in a small Montana town in the middle of nowhere. (Is that redundant?) I was astonished to discover that grocery stores didn’t carry ricotta. I called my mom, who was from Italy and made the best lasagna in the universe. She said some non-Italians used cottage cheese, so maybe that’d work.

I tried it. Twice. The first time I just used it straight from the carton. Blech. It tasted different, the texture was off–a big NOPE. The second time, I tried putting it in the food processor to try to get the texture closer to ricotta. It was somewhat better texture-wise but still didn’t taste right.

Cottage cheese in lasagna is like Velveeta on pizza. Stick to ricotta. It’s worth shelling out extra cash.

You be awesome. Don’t worry about it.

I do whole milk ricotta, Parmigiano-Reggiano, basil, a wee bit of pepper, and one whole egg.

Do you mix the raw egg into the ricotta? I’m intrigued, as the lasagne I typically cook uses a bechamel sauce rather than ricotta, which is more typical in italian versions (I think ricotta is more an American thing), so I’ve never tried the ricotta version. I would add egg to the sauce in a moussaka, but not in a lasagne. I’m guessing it adds a firmness to the consistency?

Yes, I mix it into the ricotta. It acts as a binder, much like it does in meatballs. I don’t care for bechamel in lasagna; I prefer the texture of ricotta along with layers of shredded mozzarella and Bolognese sauce.

(Also, a minor nitpick, but everyone insists on referring to white sauce in lasagna as a bechamel when, technically, the addition of cheese makes it a Mornay sauce. Julia Child would not approve of this kind of carelessness in vocabulary.) :slight_smile:

Well, I don’t actually add cheese to my bechamel - I scatter mozarella as a separate layer, and sprinkle the top with parmesan.

I prefer the looseness of the bechamel - in my mind ricotta would make the dish a bit too dense and, for want of a batter word, claggy.

Personally, I prefer my lasagna to be dense and weighty, so that it’s almost a cake made out of pasta, meat, and cheese. If I wanted something with a lighter composition I’d make something more along the lines of baked ziti.

But despite being of 1/4th Calabrian ancestry, I can’t claim any cultural authenticity to my cooking - my dad couldn’t cook to save his life and I only ate his mother’s cooking once or twice when I was very young, so I’m entirely self-taught and my main references for Italian cooking are the internet and Henry Hill’s cookbook.

Traditional Lasagne al Forno does use plain béchamel, not Mornay.

Also, if you’re nitpicking, “lasagna” is just a single sheet of pasta…

I’ve never liked the taste or consistency of cottage cheese, to the point I feel somewhat nauseous when I eat a bite, but I’ve never had any problem with ricotta in lasagna. So they seem quite different to me.

If I didn’t have the ricotta, I’d definitely go with making some sort of cheese sauce. Heck, I’d even just use, say, shredded mozzarella before I’d go with cottage cheese.

I think lasagne is one of those dishes we all grew up with, and therefore we all have very strong opinions about which version is right. I like mine nice and sloppy.

Okay, so you make a giant lasagna and don’t want to ruin it. But about making one giant lasagna with one side like you always do it and the other side the other way? So you can compare it directly. Actually, you could make four different corners. I don’t think the taste would mix across the lasagna, it’s more a cake than a soup. You could even make a giant lasagna with a continuous cottage cheese/ricotta gradient from one side to the other so you could find the sweet spot.

Great idea!

While we’re at it, why limit ourselves to testing just one variable? Baked lasagna has three dimensions after all. You could have the ricotta/cottage cheese gradient along the X axis, egg along the Y axis, and parmesan along the Z axis.

I saw the marmite! :dizzy_face: Parmesan is just the topping, I thought, I see no gradient there.
Now if you fold your lasagne like a Moebius Band the gradient possibilities never end (and never start).

Gah, busted!

I did originally suggest Marmite, but feared it would distract from the discussion of multi-dimensional culinary geometry!

Parmesan would then be the second derivative of milk?

Anyone else want to see a picture of this giant lasagne? I mean, how big are we talking here?