Lasagna - To boil or not to boil?

I have several recipies for lasagna and all look equally good. But some call for boiling the noodles first and some call for the “no boil” style which I have never used. Any feedback from the good cooks out there? The no boil would be much easier but I’m not sure about the results. Any major differences in texture or flavor? TIA

I’ve had great success with my veggie lasagna and the no boil method. Always ends up fully cooked. Of course, there’s a lot of liquid in the cheeses, spinach, and sauce.

Also, I cook it, then refridge overnight, and reheat for the first serving. That may have something to do with it, too.

I never boil my noodles, but I do try to prepare it the night before I serve it, for optimal taste.

Heck, my Grandma Bodoni used to use uncooked noodles in her lasagna, add about half a cup of water (in addition to the sauce and the other ingredients, cover the dish, and bake it. Her noodles always came out nicely cooked. My dad will be 73 in less than a month, and he was one of her younger children, so this method of cooking lasagna is fairly old.

Lasagna, like soup, is better the second day, after the flavors have had time to marry.

My lasagna ingredients:

Ground meat (preferably beef and pork, in a 2-1 ratio), onions, garlic, bell pepper, mushrooms, cheese (ricotta, mozzarella, provolone, parmesan, and romano)(cottage cheese in lasagna is an ABOMINATION and will not be tolerated), marinara sauce, and noodles.

When I make manicotti or stuffed (pasta) shells, I stuff the pasta with the cheese mixture, and then put the meat and veggie mix around the pasta, and then pour the marinara sauce over it all. I always cook the meat and veggies before assembling the dish.

Now you’ve done it. You’ve given away half of the top secret, never to revealed, ingredient. Luckily, you forgot to mention that a 4-2-1 beef-pork-chicken liver blend is even better.

LIVER!?! :eek:


No need to boil. However if it makes you more comfortable, boil some water in a pan or tea kettle, and soak your noodles until they get slightly malleable.

I’m able to get fresh noodles from an italian deli close to home, so this is never a consideration for me :smiley:

My personal opinion is that not boiling makes the dish just a bit too dry. My theory is that the noodles absorb moisture from the sauce if they bake without boiling. Other than that, yes it does work. I’ve thought of compensating by adding water to the sauce but haven’t done experiments on it.

My wife used to boil the noodles, now she doesn’t. It seems to have a bit more flavor with the non-boil method, which makes sense. As far as texture and moisture, I can’t see a difference.

I have had mixed experiences with no boil noodles. But I can see the wisdom of using regular noodles and letting them soften during cooking and storage. I’ll have to try that next time.

It depends if you like your lasagna soft or with crunchy edges to the noodles. If you like it soft, boil the noodles.

Exactly the difference. I have tried both methods and prefer boiling the noodles, but for only a minute or two, just enough to get them soft for easy layering and removing that “crunchy” texture.

And large curd cottage cheese (along with all the other cheeses) is not an abomination…it keeps the lasagna moist. I once did one using only ricotta instead of cottage cheese and it was dry as dust.

Thank you all for the input. I think I’ll try the “partial boil” method to get the best of both worlds. Happy Thanksgiving!

I cook mine long enough so a noodle will bend in half without breaking. And I go with the cottage cheese in lasagna is a crime. I mix an 8 oz block of cream cheese and a couple splashes of milk in my richotta. It always comes out creamy without the lumps you get with cottage cheese.

You misspelled “cottage cheese in all circumstances is a crime”. Bleh! :stuck_out_tongue:

I’m making two right now. A smaller one I’ll dig into in a couple of hours, and a larger one I’m bringing to my cousin’s tomorrow as part of the big family meal. (Cooking seprate, of course. I gots the big one sitting up in the fridge right now and will bake it tonight, fridge it, then pop it in the oven over there. :slight_smile: )

Thanks for the reminder, PeanutHead!