The Great Lasagna Challenge, Day 3: The Main Event!

We’ve been waiting all week for today, when we could finally craft our ingredients together into a lasagna! There were definitely ups and downs to the process: the ups being everything that wasn’t making mozzarella, and the downs being the multiple attempts at making mozzarella. 🙂

With the difficulties of first-time cheese making behind us, we were ready to put our sauces, noodles and cheeses together. We did decide to make a slight, last-minute change to the challenge: while we were originally going to make the homemade pan as well as a pan with store-bought ingredients to test against each other, in the end we decided to just make the single, homemade pan. The main reasons for the decision were that a) No one could make it tonight for the taste test, and that’s a lot of lasagna to have left over, and b) we know what a normal lasagna tastes like well enough without needing to make one just for this.

The most difficult aspect of putting the dish together was grating the mozzarella spheres, which were very soft. Eventually it all shredded down, the rest of the ingredients were assembled and we found ourselves with this:

You can see the layers slightly better from the side.
You can see the layers slightly better from the side.
Look at all of that cheese!
Look at all of that cheese!

One of the coolest things about this lasagna compared to others we’ve made in the past were the colors. The bright white of the fresh mozzarella contrasted with the deep red of the marinara was really a sight to see, and set our hopes high for the meal to come.

Fresh mozzarella doesn't brown as easily as the store-bought variety.
Fresh mozzarella doesn’t brown as easily as the store-bought variety.

What you see directly above is a picture of the lasagna in the oven. Yes, we were so excited about this meal that we couldn’t even wait until it was finished to start snapping shots! It smelled excellent, and we had tested enough of the components to be fairly sure the meal wouldn’t be a total disappointment. However, there are no guarantees, particularly when it comes to making meals for the first time. So, we waited as patiently as we possibly could.

Finally, it's lasagna!
Finally, it’s lasagna!

Finally, it was time to eat, and fortunately the end result was delicious. There are two main things that we will do differently in the future, and if you’re reading the entirety of this saga before making your own scratch-lasagna, this will be the area where you’ll want to take notes:

First, the next time we do this we’ll make the noodles much thinner. Due to the size of lasagna noodles, we were worried about them tearing if we rolled them thin, but it doesn’t seem like it will be an issue, and the thick noodles are just too much for a meal like this.

Also, the next pan we make of this will get a full batch of marinara sauce, not one that we’ve partially drained for spaghetti and bread sticks. This batch was very good, but a bit more sauce would send it into the stratosphere.

Truly, that’s all we would change, and even with those issues this was still head and shoulders above a standard lasagna. The texture of the fresh mozzarella was different in a positive way, and the ricotta filling was so much lighter and more flavorful than store-bought.

So, there you have it: Lasagna made from scratch. We definitely hope some of our friends will try this out, and let us know you results in the comments!

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