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#1 Wed 27 Feb 13 1:54am

marlow77

Member
Member since Thu 03 Nov 11

getting Lasagna right

I appreciate there's probably been a few lasagna threads before but not sure anyone had my problem. I made one the other day with not the right stuff, had no mozarella just used strong cheddar and I arranged the layers badly so the pasta didn't soften much LOLLLLLLLLL. noob

anyway this time around I did it perfectly. Included courgettes, bacon, mushrooms and onion, I used the Dolmio sauces with more mince than it suggest on the jar, I'm thinking this might be something to do with the taste problem. With the added extras aswell perhaps the sauce didn't end up strong enough.

So I layered it thus: the ragu mix, pasta, white sauce, loads of parmesan, one more sheet of pasta, rest of ragu, rest of white sauce, loads of mozarealla sprinkled with more parmesan. Oh not to mention mixing loads of herbs when doing the meat n mix ragu. I DIDN'T however add any salt. I thought a gram in each jar of sauce was more than enough.

Anyways it all cooked brilliantly except this time I didn't use foil on top and it browned really quick, so I ended up adding foil for last 10 mins to stop it burning. It looked great but just tasted completely bland! I added salt to the plate in the end but didn't make much difference.

What is it that just seems to randomly make dishes bland? It can happen with anything I find, is it literally cause you need to add more salt for it to cook in? I couldn't taste anything cheesy at all yet parmesan is real strong, I would've been better off grating that on after it'd cooked tbh.

Any tips? Thanks

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#2 Wed 27 Feb 13 7:14am

JoyYamDaisy

Forum super champ
From Melbourne Australia
Member since Sun 12 Apr 09

Re: getting Lasagna right

Salt has a big role in making things taste well (although when I went for many years without adding salt, my taste buds adjusted, and I didn't need it).

I think your mistake might have been that you didn't taste things as you went along? Each component needs to be delicious, and each of them need tasting so that you can adjust the seasonings before you do the layering and baking.

Occasionally something tastes bland because you are coming down with a cold/flu and it effects your taste. But more often it is in the seasoning.

Good luck next time! I am sure you will prefect it soon!

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#3 Wed 27 Feb 13 10:02am

wine~o

Forum champ
Occupation Handyman
From Dorset u.k
Member since Tue 21 Oct 08

Re: getting Lasagna right

I would suggest getting rid of the premade bought in sauce...and make your own from scratch, dead easy, onion, garlic, can of tomatoes, maybe some tomato puree and dried herbs (Oregano/marjoram/thyme) to taste.

It'll probably take no more than 5 minutes from start to finish..

Last edited by wine~o (Wed 27 Feb 13 10:03am)

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#4 Wed 27 Feb 13 1:27pm

koukouvagia

Forum champ
From New York
Member since Fri 12 Dec 08

Re: getting Lasagna right

marlow77 wrote:

anyway this time around I did it perfectly. Included courgettes, bacon, mushrooms and onion, I used the Dolmio sauces with more mince than it suggest on the jar, I'm thinking this might be something to do with the taste problem. With the added extras aswell perhaps the sauce didn't end up strong enough.

Any tips? Thanks

Each component needs to taste good on its own.  There are a lot of things going into this.  How did you make the white sauce?  Did you cook the courgettes before layering them in?  Did you cook the onions and mushrooms?  How did you incorporate the meat into your sauce?  What are the ingredients listed in the jarred sauce?  Did you boil the pasta in salted water before layering into the lasagna?

I'm certain that the cause of what went wrong lies somewhere in the answers to these questions.  Let us know how you prepped and we'll figure out what happened.

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#5 Wed 27 Feb 13 2:30pm

marlow77

Member
Member since Thu 03 Nov 11

Re: getting Lasagna right

Well, it's definitely nothing to do with the sauces, I've used them plenty before and had strong taste.

Everything was cooked first before layering, mushrooms and bacon first for few minutes, then threw in corgette and onion for another 5 mins, added basil, thyme, oregano and cayenne pepper, I like a little spice. Then added the mince til browned, then the red sauce which I believe you're not meant to cook in or anything, just add it then layer. Pasta sheets weren't boiled, even Jamie's recipe says this isn't needed.

The sauce jars recommend 450g of mince and include no other ingredients with it's instructions. As I used probably 600g PLUS lots of other stuff, maybe the sauce was just too "diluted" so to speak, is that possible?

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#6 Wed 27 Feb 13 2:48pm

Maree

Forum champ
From Newcastle, Australia
Member since Sat 10 Mar 07

Re: getting Lasagna right

Were the "extras" well drained before adding? Sorry, I'm stabbing in the dark, here.

I no longer (umm, 20+ years) use the dried "no pre-cook " lasagne sheets. I/we don't like a lot of sauce and I was / we were sick of crispy edges.

If I've time (rarely) to make pasta, I do so for family meals. More realistically, I buy fresh sheets from the supermarket. It avoids crispy edges and the sheets can be easily made into lots of different dishes.

I don't indulge.


"Cook with love and laughter ..."
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#7 Wed 27 Feb 13 4:24pm

mummza

Forum super champ
Occupation avoiding housework
From The land of song.
Member since Tue 04 Oct 05

Re: getting Lasagna right

marlow77 wrote:

Well, it's definitely nothing to do with the sauces, I've used them plenty before and had strong taste.

I think its all to do with the jar of sauce really , I tried them nce and am not keen on them I mostly use a passata that I add a few things to ( olive oil , herbs, maybe a touch of tomat puree if I want a greater depth of flavour, pepper, a little salt etc ) and make the sauce myself, it des not take long and tastes a lot better
The eat that I add to the sauce is browned and seasoned as it improves the flavour as far as I know ( I dont eat it myself but cook meat for my family )

marlow77 wrote:

Pasta sheets weren't boiled, even Jamie's recipe says this isn't needed.

Some brands of dried pasta sheets suggest they are cooked lighty before use.

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#8 Thu 28 Feb 13 1:20pm

koukouvagia

Forum champ
From New York
Member since Fri 12 Dec 08

Re: getting Lasagna right

marlow77 wrote:

Well, it's definitely nothing to do with the sauces, I've used them plenty before and had strong taste.

Everything was cooked first before layering, mushrooms and bacon first for few minutes, then threw in corgette and onion for another 5 mins, added basil, thyme, oregano and cayenne pepper, I like a little spice. Then added the mince til browned, then the red sauce which I believe you're not meant to cook in or anything, just add it then layer. Pasta sheets weren't boiled, even Jamie's recipe says this isn't needed.

The sauce jars recommend 450g of mince and include no other ingredients with it's instructions. As I used probably 600g PLUS lots of other stuff, maybe the sauce was just too "diluted" so to speak, is that possible?

But how did you cook everything?  Did you boil it?  Did you sautee it?  The method you use to cook is very important.  For example, if I were to cook meat I would sear it in a hot pan by itself until it was cooked all the way through and got a little color and all the liquid was cooked out.  Then I would remove it from the pan and cook the onions in the fond that the meat created.  That's how you build flavor.  I would definitely not add ceyenne, instead I would add chili flakes which gives a nicer flavor to a dish like lasagna.

Did you season anything with salt?  Courgettes give off a lot of liquid, as do mushrooms so it's no surprise that your sauce would come out watered down.  Did you season anything?

How did you make the white sauce? 

Building flavors is all based on technique, it's definitely not about how much stuff you throw into a dish.  If you don't follow the right procedure it will taste like a mess.

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#9 Thu 28 Feb 13 1:30pm

MsPablo

Forum super champ
Occupation Just being me
Member since Fri 28 Mar 08

Re: getting Lasagna right

I think too much bechamel or a bechamel that doesn't have much flavor can really dilute the flavor of lasagna.

I don't know what Dolmia brand is like, but we have excellent pasta sauces in jars in the U.S.  In fact, it is one of the best processed products you can buy here - tons of choice, organic, best quality ingredients, all styles.  I still make my own for lasagna usually because it takes a lot of sauce, so it's a little cheaper to start from scratch.

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#10 Thu 28 Feb 13 2:52pm

koukouvagia

Forum champ
From New York
Member since Fri 12 Dec 08

Re: getting Lasagna right

There is no such thing as "too much bechamel" in my world.  cool
I could eat it in a bowl.  But it has to have a real nutmeg kick to it.

Last edited by koukouvagia (Thu 28 Feb 13 2:53pm)

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