Lasagne noodles (Recipe: four-cheese lasagne)
Lasagne noodles with an "e", or lasagna noodles with an "a"?
I have both in my pantry.
Is one right, and the other wrong?
Yes, and no.
The Barilla box says lasagne with an "e"; the Dreamfields box says lasagna with an "a". Barilla is made in Italy, Dreamfields in North Dakota. I have to believe that the Barilla folks know more about this.
Lasagna means one noodle; lasagne means more than one. In America, it's common to use lasagna, and that's what I've been doing for my entire life, until now. The evidence against it is overwhelming. Not only does the Barilla box make a bold statement, but also my casserole dish from England, which is closer to Italy than North Dakota, spells out lasagne.
I've been blind, but now I see.
Barilla noodles are flat, thin, and no-boil, meaning you can use them straight from the box. (De Cecco and Ronzoni also make no-boil noodles; the Ronzoni noodles are accordion-shaped, for no reason I can figure out.) Dreamfields -- thicker, with curly edges -- are low on the glycemic index, which means they can be part of my low-carb diet more often, though they do need to be par-boiled before use.
Use either noodle, par-boiled, to wrap herb ricotta or artichoke cannelloni, or for eggplant and pine nut rolled lasagne. Use no-boil noodles for pans of lasagne, filled with butternut squash, bolognese sauce, roasted vegetables, spinach-walnuts-arugula, turkey, or chocolate meat sauce.
The noodles -- made of durum wheat semolina, egg, water and salt -- will keep for a couple of years in the pantry; if you have a partial box left over, seal it in a ziploc bag.
By the way, the only difference between no-boil and most regular lasagne noodles is thickness.
A real crowd pleaser, this recipe is a slight variation on my traditional lasagne, lightened with the addition of cottage cheese, and made a hefty four layers thick. Can be frozen uncooked; defrost and bake at 375F. Or can be cooked ahead and frozen; reheat, covered, in a 350F oven. Serves 8-10, with a side salad.
16 oz part-skim ricotta cheese
8 oz low-fat cottage cheese
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1 tsp ground black pepper
16 lasagne noodles (no-cook or par-boiled)
4 cups marinara sauce (store-bought or homemade)
30 oz part-skim mozzarella cheese, sliced 1/4-inch thick
1-1/4 cups grated fresh Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
Preheat oven to 375°F. Combine ricotta, cottage cheese, egg, nutmeg and black pepper in a small bowl. In a 9x13 baking pan, begin the assembly: spread a thin layer of sauce on the bottom. Top with a layer of the noodles (you may need to break or cut some to fit them neatly in one layer), then plops of the cheese mix here and there (use 1/3 of the cheese). Add plops of sauce here and there (use 1/3 of the sauce), top with a layer of 1/3 of the mozzarella slices. Then again: noodles, ricotta mixture, sauce, mozzarella. Then a third time. Finally, add a fourth layer of noodles, and spread the remaining sauce on the noodles. Top with the parmesan cheese. Cover with aluminum foil and bake for 45 minutes. Uncover, and bake 15 minutes more. Remove from the oven and allow lasagne to rest for 5-10 minutes before serving.