Lasagne from Scratch: A Lactard’s Nightmare

homemade lasagna

“I can’t sell you this.” Dawn informed me.

Anticipating the carb overload that awaited us, we were racing the clock as we power walked over to CVS last night. The timer on the oven ticked down from 30 minutes when we popped out into the twilight.

Opting for the graduate study level of difficulty instead of the Bachelor Basics, we spent the majority of the evening making homemade whole wheat noodles, a spicy Italian sausage ragu and Bechamel sauce. The end goal was homemade lasagne (lasagna is the noodle, lasagne is the dish) and Dawn was the only thing standing between us and delicious, cheesy, possibly mouth-burning decadence.

Bechamel sauce is one of the mother sauces and I had never made it. That needed to change. It is commonly used in lasagne, as well as for Croque Monsieur. It is a white sauce that starts with a roux (butter and flour), then adds milk and a pinch of nutmeg. (Go here for the recipe.) You can use Bechamel as a base for numerous other creamy sauces. Gourmet mac and cheese that beats the blue box is a prime example.

Despite how much as I love cheese and milk, my stomach has developed a more acrimonious relationship. Aiming to assist my innards with processing the lactose super load, we ran to CVS to grab digestive enzymes. As any lactard knows, the lactase assists in breaking down the lactose. Science! I spotted CVS’s enzymes and celebrated that they were on sale. Is there anything better than finding the drug you need is on sale? Being able to digest lactose may trump that joy.

Box in hand, we went to check out and were informed by Dawn that she couldn’t sell me the drugs. Why must I suffer?! I considered telling her about the delicious feast that was waiting for us, possibly extending an invitation. The lactase pills were going to expire in May. I didn’t see why this was a problem. I just wanted my drugs. Is this what it’s like to be a food junkie? I NEED MY LACTASE!

Then, the magic moment happened. She called the manager to see if they had more in the back. In this moment, I flashed back to all the sitcoms and comedies that depicted variations on this situation. Mercifully, I wasn’t seeking diarrhea remedies or an ointment for a stubborn rash. That was last week.

The manager went to their storeroom. Leann and I waited, wondering if the timer had gone off yet. By this point, the entire store learned that I was seeking digestive enzymes. Working through the stages of grief, I considered offering to just take the expiring package and roll the digestive dice. I just need a few pills for today. I have my own stash at home. GIVE ME THE LACTASE!As much as I feel like an outsider in my stomach’s issues with lactose, apparently I am not alone. They were all out of that package. The manager offered to match the price for a comparable product. I grabbed the bigger bottle and shelled out my $1.50. With that, we were on our way back to the kitchen. The timer had 1 minute left. Perfect timing!

I popped two tablets and removed the lasagne from the oven. Now, how were we going to kill time while it cooled to a non-mouth-singing temperature?

Bachelor Basics Shortcuts

  • Rather than making noodles from scratch, you can buy dried noodles. You’ll need to cook them for just a few minutes to soften them.
  • Don’t feel like making your own sauce? Buy a jar of your favorite sauce. I’d recommend something with some zip, like an arrabbiata.
  • If you opt for the two above shortcuts, still make the Bechamel. It takes lasagne to the next level.
  • Fresh herbs go a long way. Adding fresh herbs like basil and oregano to pre-made sauce is a great shortcut.

Lasagne Assembly Tips

Not going to deceive you, lasagne is a pain in the digestive tract. The above shortcuts will help immensely, as will having uniform noodles to build your layers. Doing it from scratch is more like a puzzle and definitely a project for two or more people.

If you have everything pre-made, it’s a simple layering job. We did: Bechamel, noodle, arrabbiata sauce, cheese, noodle, repeat. We added a layer of sauteed spinach. Gotta get those greens.

Be consistent in how much of the sauces you put in each layer. We did about 1/2 a cup of Bechamel and a little less of pasta sauce in each layer.

If you make a chunky sauce, like I did, put it in the blender to smooth it out. Spreading a chunky sauce is difficult. A thin sauce is best for lasagne. Mine had chunks of hot italian sausage, poblano peppers and carrots.

Lasagne feeds an army, so be sure to invite your friends over and take your enzymes.