I'm using fresh pasta sheets (boiled al dente), a very slow simmered Bolognese, a whole milk ricotta mixture with a fair amount of spinach, basil, egg and Parmesan and a Bechamel sauce. The thing is, I want six layers of pasta but I don't want a huge pan of lasagna. I'm making this for a (obviously very hot) date. I don't need leftovers into the next millennium. I think I'm going to use my 9" pullman loaf pan (4x4x9 with a lid). I plan to butter the pan then line it with three parchment "slings", maybe one half of an inch between the strips of parchment for slicing. Get it? To make it easier to remove clean slices? After lining the pan with my "slings" I'll butter again then line the pan with Bechamel, then stack the layers. I'm thinking that I will use the pullman pan lid instead of aluminum foil for the initial bake. I will assemble the lasagne the night before and keep it refrigerated it until the next day.

So here's the question. I've looked at a gazillion recipes for clues about baking temperature, when to remove the lid and what temp to finish. Also whether to bring it to room temp before baking. Of all the recipes I've looked at, not a one deals with such a tall but narrow lasagne. Clues are all over the map and I'm losing confidence. Can anybody advise?

  • Why double the usual number of layers? All you're doing is making it more complicated. – Carey Gregory Sep 14 '13 at 5:26
  • Just 'cause. I wanted two layers of the Bolognese just to make it look extra fancy and I wanted to showcase the homemade pasta. – Jolenealaska Sep 14 '13 at 8:03

The thing about lasagna is that it really only needs to be heated through. All of the components (pasta, the sauce or sauces, the cheeses) are already cooked, or don't need to be cooked.

So baking the whole lasagna heats it through and helps the flavors to meld.

A 4" thickness not tremendously thicker than some more traditionally proportioned lasagnas, so you should expect it to bake through in about the same time any casserole of that thickness would require. I would start at about 325-350 degrees, for about 1 hour to maybe 1:15. You may need to leave it covered for most of the baking period so that the top doesn't overly brown or dry out.

In the end, you can test the casserole with an instant read. It should probably get up to about 150 or 160 F internally to be enjoyable

Lasagna should be very forgiving.

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  • That's helpful, especially the final temp. I'm trying out a test batch on my neighbor, so I've got one chance for tweaking. Thanks so much. – Jolenealaska Sep 14 '13 at 8:07
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    I'm a newbie and too lazy to look at the (apparently somewhat extreme compared to what I am used to) rules, but I want to say to SAJ14SAJ that his/her advice was invaluable. I made my test batch, laid it on my palate deprived neighbor, he was floored. (I hope that's a good thing). The final temp coming out of the oven was key. I'd have cooked it longer/hotter without your advice, I'd have probably caused the cheeses to break otherwise. – Jolenealaska Sep 15 '13 at 10:08
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    Oh please, he's big-headed enough already ;) – ElendilTheTall Sep 15 '13 at 12:28

I generally agree with SAJ14SAJ, but will just add that taking the foil...or cover...off for the last 15 to 20 minutes is desired in my family. In fact, we sometimes switch to the broiler for the last couple of minutes. We like getting the top browned and edges more cooked...even crispy. Also, in looking at your recipe, and in my opinion, if you want to showcase the homemade pasta, leave the spinach, egg, ricotta and parchment out. Just go, bolognese, bachemel and Parmesan. After you bake, then let rest for 15 - 20, it will slice and serve nicely. It's home made, and lasagna is rustic, don't worry about the absolute perfect slice.

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  • I made a test batch, I did remove the cover for the last 20 minutes just because I always have. As far as your advice regarding the ricotta layers, I've decided to go halvsies. I really liked the "striped flag effect" of my multicolored lasagna, but I had the layers arranged so that there were three of the spinach/ricotta and two of the Bolognese. I will reverse them for the "real" meal so that the Bolognese predominates. I put some bechamel in each layer, so there is no lack of that. You're right, the slings are superfluous, I might keep one just to get that pesky middle piece out. – Jolenealaska Sep 16 '13 at 2:27

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