If I told you this was the improve lasagna recipe, would you believe me? Let’s try it. These are multi-layered lasagna. I published the recipe for the first time in 2006 and I still prepare it after all these years. Imagine dozens and dozens of very thin sheets of fresh pasta brushed with a simple and vibrant red tomato sauce, strung with layer after layer of warm, slimy and fresh mozzarella. Where the sauce, cheese and pasta touch the pan, especially in the corners, everything becomes crunchy and caramelized. The corner pieces, omg.
I have to say this is not a lasagna route for the faint of heart. This lasagna requires commitment, patience and a lot of time. Think about the weekend project. This is partly due to the fact that you are using fresh pasta and, well, there are a thousand layers. That said, I’ve simplified the process a lot over the years. And he will call those tips in the recipe below.
How to make lasagna: the basics
- Start by making the sauce: The sauce I use for this lasagna is super simple, vibrant and a spicy wink.
- Prepare the pasta: You will use homemade pasta or buy fresh pasta sheets. No dry pasta for this lasagna. The key will be to get your extra thin pastry before boiling.
- Assemble the lasagna: You’re on the home straight.
- Baking: Until it is golden, hot and bubbly – serve!
Homemade pasta versus store-bought pasta
Originally, I would always make this lasagna with homemade pasta sheets. Eventually it occurred to me that I could buy pasta sheets and shave some production time. I’d say it halves your time. The main thing, in both cases, is that you want to get the super thin pastry. So, even if I buy ready-made sheets, I pass them a couple of times with the pasta machine at home to make them even thinner.
I am using homemade pasta here, but the process is basically the same if you’re using store-bought pasta sheets.
Can i freeze lasagna?
Yup! Absolutely. You can store it, assembled, cooked or raw.
- To freeze a raw lasagna: Line your pan with a layer of parchment paper. Assemble the lasagna in the pan, allow to cool completely and freeze until solidified. Once frozen, transfer the frozen lasagna block from the plate, wrap it completely with foil, and freeze for up to a month or two.
- To finish a raw frozen lasagna: Remove all the layers of foil, you can decide whether to leave the parchment or not, and transfer to the original pan. Allow to thaw completely before baking as indicated.
- To freeze baked lasagna: If you know you’re going to freeze your completely baked lasagna, line your baking sheet with foil and then a layer of parchment paper. Assemble the lasagna as indicated, then bake. I tend to cast a shadow here, knowing I’ll heat it up later. Let it cool completely after cooking and then freeze it. Transfer the frozen lasagna out of the pan, wrap it tightly in plastic wrap, and freeze it for up to a month or two.
- Heat a lasagna in the oven: remove the lasagna from the freezer and remove the foil. Transfer to the original baking tray and allow to thaw completely. Cover with foil and cook as directed until golden and bubbly.
This is a good photo (above) that shows the ideal thickness of your pasta for this lasagna. The photo above shows the amount of sauce you are aiming for, as well as the mozzarella.
What you see in the photo above is the boiled dough ready for assembly. Due to the olive oil in the cooling water you use, overlapping the pasta sheets here is not a problem. They separate relatively easily.
Ready for the oven! Here’s what it looks like fully assembled and ready to cook. You can of course experiment with different pots and pans. You can make extra pasta and sauce and go to a deeper dish. Once you get the hang of it here, you can take the general idea and stick with it.
Variants of lasagna with a thousand layers
Today I share the “antipasto” version of this tomato based lasagna, but feel free to experiment through the seasons. I made the roasted pumpkin + brown butter, or else pesto and ricotta – play around a bit, but keep the sauces + fillings simple and (key!) not too chunky. Part of the magic comes from layering the baklava-like dough, one on top of the other. There is enough to do between each layer to keep it all moist, flavorful and light as a feather. Well, as light as lasagna.
This is such a fun lasagna to make. Especially if you are not in a hurry. Have fun, it’s worth it when it comes out of the oven!