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I'm 16 and I'm making lasagna for my family tomorrow. I have got mince, onion, white sauce, red sauce, lasagna sheets, tinned chopped tomatoes, fresh tomatoes, and grated cheese. Not looking to add anything else; how do I assemble that into a lasagna? Do I have to cook the lasagna noodles first?

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You'd be best off with a recipe, which you could find using Google or by searching on a site like allrecipes.com. Unfortunately, recipe requests are off-topic here. I'll go ahead and answer with the basics, though. –  Jefromi Nov 12 '12 at 23:18
    
P.S. I went ahead and edited your question to try to keep it from being closed as a recipe request. I think I left all the British English in, though! –  Jefromi Nov 12 '12 at 23:29
    
Add a big bunch a fresh spinach in to one layer, and your Mum will be extra pleased. Steam it very lightly first to pack it in –  TFD Nov 13 '12 at 1:28
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Lasagne is like most baking -- you really should follow a recipe the first few times, as the proportion of liquid is rather important. Too much, and it's a sloppy, soupy mess and won't firm up after cooling. If you try one of the 'no boil' recipes and it's too dry, the noodles don't soften up. –  Joe Nov 13 '12 at 2:43
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1 Answer 1

The general process of making lasagna is:

  • Cook the other ingredients - brown the meat in a pan (maybe with seasonings); if you're using fresh tomatoes, cook them; if you're using canned tomatoes, drain the extra liquid out. The important thing is that everything is cooked, and there's not too much liquid left, since that'd make the lasagna messy at the end. This does mean it's faster with canned tomatoes, since you only have to drain them, not cook them.
  • Cook the noodles as you would any pasta. Be sure to stir, since big flat noodles stick together more easily than most. (There are also no-boil lasagna noodles, but you've already bought yours, and I doubt that's what you have.)
  • Layer the ingredients in the pan, starting with sauce on the bottom (otherwise the noodles will stick to the pan), then noodles, then alternate layers of the other ingredients and noodles and sauce until you run out or your lasagna dish is full.
  • Bake it until it's heated through (the ingredients are all already cooked).
  • Let it cool for a bit before serving; this helps keep it from falling apart when you cut into it.

When you go looking for recipes, though there are tons and tons of them, they'll pretty much all look generally like this. They'll just have variations in ingredient proportions, seasonings, order of layers, and so on. You shouldn't have trouble finding one that matches up with the ingredients you have, if you want a recipe to follow carefully. As long as it generally matches the steps I listed, it should be fine.

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I'd recommend starting the meat cooking before the noodles -- if you have to hold the pasta, you risk them sticking together and being a real pain. And add the onion after draining most of the grease from the meat, but before you add the tomatoes -- the acid in the tomatoes will keep them from breaking down as easily. You can also hold some of the sauce (white or red) in reserve to put on top when serving. –  Joe Nov 13 '12 at 2:52
    
@Joe Thanks; I swapped those two steps. I had the noodles first as a direct answer to the OP's question, but you are quite right. –  Jefromi Nov 13 '12 at 3:18
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A tip I'd add to this is to try and cook the meat sauce for a couple of hours at least. You not only get a tastier sauce with more tender meat, but the liquid will evaporate more leaving you with a nice thick sauce and thus a coherent lasagne. Also, let the lasagne sit for 5 minutes after baking so that it can 'solidify' a little. –  ElendilTheTall Nov 13 '12 at 12:03
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