Lasagna Basics: What Goes into Lasagna
The brilliant thing about lasagna is it’s really hard to mess up. You can swap in your favorite meats, cheeses and veggies and it’ll (probably) turn out fine. To get started though, there are a couple of key components: noodles, cheese, sauce and filling.
Noodles: Lasagna noodles are large and wide, with curly little edges, and you can find them in just about every pasta aisle. With regular lasagna noodles, some recipes will call for you to boil the noodles before assembly, but you can also buy no-boil noodles, which saves time (and there isn’t much of a difference in taste or texture). You can also make lasagna without noodles at all, by swapping in sturdy sliced veggie layers. Eggplant and zucchini make great noodle substitutes in lasagna.
Cheese: Cheese! What would lasagna be without cheese? Definitely not as good. A standard lasagna recipe will usually have ricotta, mozzarella and perhaps a sprinkle of Parmesan cheese. You can also find recipes that use cream cheese, cottage cheese, provolone and other cheese blends.
Sauce: The sauce is what brings everything together, so choose wisely. Most recipes call for one or two 15 oz. jars of pasta sauce. This could be marinara or Alfredo or whatever you like best. As long as you keep the total amount of sauce in the recipe the same and you like the flavor profile, the sky is the limit.
Filling: This is where you can really make it your own. While spinach, beef and Italian sausage are traditional, you can swap in ground chicken or turkey, use a mix of vegetables or even leftover rotisserie chicken. All meat should be fully cooked before assembling. If you’re using frozen vegetables, they should be thawed and drained first so the casserole doesn’t get watery.