Friday, March 28, 2014

No-Boil Lasagne Noodles: Why, Exactly?

Sometimes I start jonesing for a particular food or flavor. Awhile ago it was curry, then beef braised in a chile rojo, both satisfied with a couple of simple dinners whipped out of ingredients in the pantry. I was wandering through our neighborhood Trader Joe's recently, thinking of pulling together a lasagne—just the mention of it makes me salivate—so when I saw the package of lasagne noodles on the shelf I threw them into my cart without a glance.

Letting the noodles "rest" for 30 min. Pffft!

Pulling them out of the bag when I got home, I noticed they were labeled "no boil." What? But having promised the family lasagne for dinner and kind of curious to see what the heck these might be, I decided to use them and see just how "oven ready" they really were.

With all my ingredients ready to go, I looked at the instructions. Basically it said to preheat the oven, layering the noodles with sauce and cheese in the pan as usual. But then the next line stopped me. After getting it all ready, it said to let it sit for 30 minutes, presumably to allow the noodles to absorb some of the moisture from the sauce and soften up a bit.

After baking? Just okay, and no time-saver.

Are you kidding me? I could have brought a pot of water to boil and parboiled my noodles—I don't cook lasagne noodles fully, just let them get a little bendy so they can soak up some lovely tomato flavor—in less time than that! And this is considered "convenience food"? Oh, please.

In any case, I did as instructed anyway, and it turned out okay. Not great or mind-blowing, mind you, but the noodles were al dente (a little more than I like) and tasted pretty good. I can only say they won't be making another appearance on our table, unless I need an excuse for a major eye-roll.


pdxknitterati/MicheleLB said...

We used these once, for a recipe from a kids' cookbook. Perhaps the author wanted to avoid a large pot of boiling water with children? But we've never used them again. They were OK, but not stellar.

Kathleen Bauer said...

I wondered about the reasoning behind this product, too, Michele. Not faster than regular noodles, and certainly not better flavor. Just eliminating a step? I don't get it.

JerryC said...

City Market on NW 21st has the best sheet pasta in Stumptown, unless you choose to make your own. All you need to do ot make top quality lasagna is "moisten" the sheet pasta under running water or "dip" into a tray. This hydrates the pasta and removes the cornmeal coating. The only time humans use dry pasta is when constructing Fideo paella...