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When you make lasagna from scratch, each ingredient plays a crucial role in achieving the perfect balance of flavors and textures. Choosing the right type of cheese is arguably one of the most critical aspects of whipping up a deliciously authentic lasagna experience. Mashed spoke with cookbook author and content creator Danny Freeman, known for his colorful, intricate pasta designs, about the significance of selecting the appropriate cheese to elevate the dish.
Freeman points out the regional variations in lasagna preparation, shedding light on the distinctive styles originating from Italy and Italian-American communities. For instance, traditional Bolognese lasagna calls for béchamel sauce — a luxurious concoction of butter, flour, and milk. The white sauce imparts a pleasantly sweet creaminess that contrasts with the robustness of the meat, tomatoes, and herbs.
On the other hand, many Italian-American lasagna recipes use ricotta instead of béchamel, according to Freeman. To fully maximize the flavor of ricotta, which sports a naturally fluffy character, he incorporates parmesan, basil, garlic, or pepper into the mixture. This infuses a nuanced luxury that complements the overall composition.
Choose Your Lasagna Cheese Wisely
For those who favor a more straightforward approach to lasagna, Freeman is a champion of mozzarella. As a result of omitting both béchamel and ricotta, the layered sheets are generously adorned with mozz and parm. This approach resonates with folks who appreciate the pure essence of fine Italian cheese. "It adds a rich, cheesy taste that I just love," the carb connoisseur says. He advocates for purchasing a whole ball of mozzarella and shredding it to ensure "the freshest flavor." The suggestion of using whole mozzarella emphasizes Freeman's commitment to quality and effort.
The choice of cheese in lasagna is not a one-size-fits-all decision but rather one that depends on personal palate. Whether you prefer béchamel, ricotta, or mozzarella, each dairy product brings a distinctive character to lasagna. According to Danny Freeman, all pasta lovers should embark on a culinary mission to find their favorite blend of cheeses that captures the heart of the beloved Italian classic.
Read the original article on Mashed.