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I will try to do lasagna and I have doubts about how to deal with the pasta. The bolognese and bechamel sauces are fine (at least I know how to approach them).

The problem I am having is with these "pre-cooked" lasagna pasta sheets (this is in France, Barilla is a very common brand of pasta over here)

enter image description here

Instead of a written description of how to use them, they only went for a few icons:

enter image description here

What does the first icon mean?

It could be a part of the bechamel sauce recipe, but it misses everything else (the roux, etc.).

Am I supposed to boil 0.9L of milk, pour it in the flat bowl, then put the sauce (I cannot believe that, maybe a first layer of pasta on top of the milk? - still does not make a lot of sense) and then the layers of bechamel and sauce?

In other words: where does this 0.9L of milk go?

EDIT: on The French Barilla site they have a section with recipes, including a few lasagnas using the pasta I have. https://www.barilla.com/fr-fr/recettes/collezione/lasagnes-a-la-sauce-napoletana-et-legumes-grilles for instance mentions milk only in the context of the bechamel sauce.

FINAL EDIT: I got a message from Barilla telling me that the first icon is "the recipe for bechamel"... Well never mind. I had the bolognese sauce done my own way and I used a 50 g flour + 50 g butter (roux), + 0,9L milk and the texture & amount was perfect. Thanks everyone.

  • Follow separate recipes for the bolognese and bechamel sauce, ones that have the steps explained. – GdD Nov 19 at 18:05
  • Also it says in the package: "no pre-cooking" so you have to cook it first – Luciano Nov 20 at 13:33
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    @Luciano actually it's the opposite I think it's meant to mean "no pre-cooking needed" at least that's how I would understand the french "20' sans pré-cuisson" and how I usually use this specific brand of Lasagne – Gilles V. Nov 20 at 14:43
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I found written instructions for how to use this pasta on the Barilla website. They are pretty much the same as you have interpreted the iconic instructions, which is to say, it's not a full recipe.

COOKING YOUR PASTA

  1. Boiling is not necessary for Oven Ready Lasagne.

  2. Add contents of package directly to baking dish and add Lasagne, sauce and filling.

  3. Alternate layers with Lasagne, sauce and filling until desired number of layers is achieved. Bake according to recipe directions.

  4. Lasagne may be prepared up to 24 hours in advance without baking it. Prepare and store the Lasagne in the refrigerator at or below 40°F. Since the Lasagne will be cold it will require a longer baking time, approximately 60 minutes at 375°F.

  5. To freeze Lasagne, we recommend that you do not bake it before freezing. You may assemble the Lasagne in a freezer safe/oven safe container, cover tightly and freeze. When you are ready to bake the Lasagne, defrost it in the refrigerator for 24 hours. Bake it at 375°F and increase bake time to 70 minutes.

On a separate page with "tips and tricks" for preparing lasagne, they have these instructions for using the precooked lasagne sheets:

Barilla Oven Ready Lasagne sheets make assembling this classic pasta dish uncomplicated. For the best results, we offer the following tips for assembling your lasagne:

  • Begin with a 13 x 9 x 3-inches deep baking pan, sprayed with nonstick cooking spray.
  • Spread 1 cup of sauce on the bottom of the baking pan and begin layering.
  • Place 3-4 sheets of uncooked Barilla Oven Ready Lasagne side by side on the bottom of the pan. The lasagne will expand to the edges of the pan during baking.
  • Top with filling or sauce as directed in your recipe on every layer, spreading each to the edges of the pan to seal in and cook the lasagne during baking.
  • Repeat this process for a total of 4-5 layers.
  • The final layer will be 3-4 sheets of uncooked Barilla Oven Ready Lasagne plus the remaining sauce and cheese, if included in recipe.

They also have these Q&As:

Q: I am using my own homemade red sauce, the recipe on the back of your box does not indicate how many ounces of sauce this recipe requires.

A: Our recipe requires a minimum of 48 ounces of sauce. It's important to have enough sauce to ensure the lasagne is moist and rich.

Q: If we wanted to use the Oven Ready Lasagne with a cream sauce, how much sauce will it require?

A: We believe a minimum of 6 to 8 cups is necessary.

These Q&As seem to refer to the 9oz (255g) box size available in the US. So for your 500g box, you would want double the recommended amount of sauce. For red sauce, use at least 48 oz (1.4 L) of sauce for 255 g of pasta or 96 oz (2.8 L) of sauce for the full 500 g box. For white sauce (bechamel sauce), use 1.4 L to 1.9 L for half the box, or 2.8 L to 3.8 L for the full box.

Barilla provides several recipes for their pre-cooked lasagne sheets here.

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  • The specific package in the question is not the Oven Ready variety. – Luciano Nov 20 at 13:34
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    @Luciano yes it is. And for my taste you can't get a good result using them. Better to get fresh lasagne and do the standard way, in case OP reads this comment. – Alchimista Nov 21 at 8:50
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    @Luciano: The package in the question says “Sans précuisson / No pre-cooking”, which presumably is their description in Europe for what they call “Oven-ready” in the American market. – PLL Nov 21 at 12:53
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Barilla say their lasagne is no-cook (not all lasagne is), so I can only assume they expect you to make your béchamel with 900ml milk, then use a jar of their bolognese sauce in the alternate layers. It's a tad lacking in precision, for sure.

Personally, i'd just search a no-cook lasagne recipe online, as the liquid balance is pretty important for lasagne - too much & it's like soup & slime, too little & it's a brick.

I just checked Barilla sites & recipes around the world, most Barilla is no pre-cook - it also says that on your box - only their wavy lasagne is pre-cook.

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  • Additional supporting data: their normal sized jars have 400 gr (here in Germany), about 300-350 ml liquid. That plus the 900 ml milk gives about 1200-1250 ml. Noodles take about 1.1 ('al dente') to 1.4 (the "forgot my teeth" variant) times their weight in water. 1.2 times 500 are 600, so it's about half for the pasta and half for the sauces, seems reasonable to me. Which leads to the questions: is OP's Ragù alla Bolognese as thin as the industrial product? Unlikely. Is OP's Besciamella thick and buttery with a hint of nutmeg or just some floury milk? I hope not! – deamentiaemundi Nov 20 at 4:05
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For the Pasta : You just lay them as-is in your baking dish.

No need to pre/par cook them.

For the rest of the question: The icons seems to refer to steps in a recipe which should be printed out on the box.

The 0.9L is the same as the 900g of milk listed in the linked recipe.

The steps looks to be a really minimalist description of the recipe.

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I have the exact same visual instructions on my pack of lasagna sheets, except that they come with a full recipe as well.

10 sheets of lasagne
Ragout: 400 g minced beef, 40 g chopped onions, 100 g diced carrots, 40 g chopped celery, 30 g tomato concentrate, 40 cL water, 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, 80 g grated Parmigiano cheese, 1 bay leaf, salt and pepper.
Béchamel: 0.9 L of milk, 50 g butter, 50 g flour, nutmeg, salt

  1. In a saucepan, fry the onion in the oil, celery, carrot, bay leaf, and the minced meats until brown.
  2. Add the tomato concentrate and water, season with salt and pepper and cook for 20 minutes on a medium heat. For a simple Bolognese sauce, after sauteing minced beef in a pan, add Barilla Napoletana sauce and heat.
  3. Melt the butter in a large saucepan, then the flour and all the previously boiled milk. Whisk the mixture while adding salt and nutmeg and bring to boil.
  4. Grease an oven proof dish and spread a ladleful of béchamel and 4 tablespoons of ragout on the base, then cover with 2 sheets of lasagne.
  5. Repeat the previous step 4 times, forming 5 layers. Make sure you cover the corners of each sheet with plenty of béchamel and ragout sauce. Sprinkle 15 g of grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese on each layer.
  6. Bake in a pre-heated oven at 220° C for 20 minutes. Remove from oven and leave to rest for 10 minutes.
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2

It’s no-cook pasta, meaning you do not need to cook the sheets of pasta before putting them in the oven.

Basically, you alternate one layer of béchamel (just enough to cover the bottom of the baking dish), one layer of (uncooked) pasta and a layer of ragú (again, just enough to cover the pasta). Repeat until dish is full or you run out of one or more ingredients. Sprinkle grated cheese on top and bake for 20 minutes at 200°C.

Of course, you can replace ragú with any other tomato-based sauce.

In order for the finished product to stay firm and not run away, the texture should be thick/creamy rather than liquid. Also, you can adjust the thickness of the layers of sauce to match its firmness: thin enough so you need to spread out the sauce manually rather than just pouring it until everything is covered.

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  • You can also make a 'no tomato' lasagna using just vegetables and use something different instead of béchemel, like yoghurt. It will taste different but it will work with the sheets. – Willeke Nov 20 at 15:30
  • Yoghurt… sounds like we’re entering the controversial world of fusion cuisine :-) – user149408 Nov 21 at 20:10
  • Not everybody likes tomato sauce and not everybody is confident making a béchamel sauce, besides, yoghurt has many fewer calories. – Willeke Nov 21 at 20:32

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