Lasagna with Raw Noodles

The advertising flaks tell you that you can create lasagna with uncooked noodles! Well, do tell! I've been doing this for a long time. And I have -not- used the high-priced "special" noodles, either; just plain cheap, store-brand ones.

This came about because I couldn't manipulate those cooked noodles (the way Mama can). They'd break and shred and generally look awful. I couldn't even get two nice ones for the top of the dish! One fine day I decided to do it with uncooked noodles. Worked great! Here's how.

box of lasagna noodles
spaghetti sauce (home-made or from a jar; with or without meat)
mozarella cheese, shredded (I've also used jack cheese)
cottage cheese (I use fat-free, but it doesn't matter)

For filling, I usually use drained cottage cheese. Put it in a strainer and let it sit in the sink for 15-30 minutes. This is so the dish isn't "watery." (Ask how I know this!)

Place about 1/2 cup sauce in the bottom of the dish.

I add 2-3 T water to give a good "steamy" start to the noodles, but this is optional.

Put a layer of noodles on next. As with Mexican lasagna, I try to make the top and bottom layers with noodles in one piece because the dish is easier to serve. Using the dish as a guide, I snap off the excess length. I prepare the top and bottom layer of noodles before I start to build the casserole. The little pieces I use as the middle layer of noodles.

Follow raw noodles with cottage cheese, then some sauce.

Another layer of noodles and sauce. Put in some more cottage cheese, if you like. There's really no one way to build this dish!

Finish with noodles and a little sauce to moisten them.

Bake at 350 until bubbly; cover with tin foil for some of the time to help "steam" the noodles. Check with a paring knife to see if the noodles are done.

Put some cheese on top and return to the oven to melt.

I almost always use the microwave. Cover the dish for a while with waxed paper until the noodles are pretty much cooked. Stick a paring knife down into the dish to check. The noodles should offer no resistance. They shouldn't be mushy, though, so don't cook too long. Figure about 15 minutes and then check.

Finish with the cheese and melt it.

Note: Feel free to add other layers, such as sauteed sausage (drain well on a paper towel), spinach (defrosted frozen or canned, squeeze out all the moisture you can), diced or sliced veggies (sauté; or zap in microwave and drain well on paper towel - - you are getting the picture, huh?).

For "White Lasagna," substitute medium-thick white sauce for the spaghetti sauce. Eggplant (peel, slice, salt, and set in a collander to drain for 30 minutes; you can dice it, too, if you'd rather not have slices) is especially good in white lasagna.


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marbeth@marthabeth.com