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mamma mia!
make a perfect lasagna
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As a kid I had simpler tastes. Lasagna made with Ragu from the jar, oozing with not-so-fresh ricotta and mozzarella – this seemed like pure heaven. Though I’ll still happily stuff myself with lasagna made the lazy way, the little bit of the food snob that now lurks within me knows this much to be true: a truly stellar lasagna has to be created from scratch. Sadly, the process is a somewhat time-consuming one, but save your lasagna-making for that Sunday afternoon when you actually have a break from your usual busy schedule, and your efforts will be well-rewarded.

Lasagna tips
Lasagna is actually a fairly idiot-proof dish to make. The most important thing to remember is that you’ll need to undercook the pasta. It should be fully flexible, but still have an opaque white center. The reason for this is simple: the noodles will continue to cook and absorb the liquid from your sauce once you pop it in the oven.

Since lasagna from scratch is somewhat time-consuming to prepare, double your batch and freeze the remainder for a quickie insta-lasagna dinner later down the line. Assemble the lasagna, wrap it tightly, and pop it in the freezer.

Variations on a theme of lasagna
Lasagna offers the potential for myriad variations, so have fun experimenting with different combinations.

1. Replace the meat with roasted vegetables. Choose a medley of eggplant, red and yellow bell peppers, zucchini, and onion, or whatever else happens to suit your fancy.
2. Use a ricotta filling in place of the béchamel sauce: 16 oz. ricotta cheese mixed with 2 eggs
3. Use Italian sausage in place of the ground meat.
4. Add cooked spinach and mushrooms.
5. Cheater’s lasagna: Use spaghetti sauce from the jar; make a cheese sauce by thinning ricotta with a little bit of water. Just brown the meat, add spaghetti sauce, and you’re ready to start layering.

Ready to get in the kitchen? Start cooking with a recipe for a scrumptiously simple, classic lasagna …

this way for the recipe!


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