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Many people have never experienced crispy lasagna besides the beloved crisp edges that form on the edges of our lasagna casserole dishes. Question: Does anyone not love the crispy edges of lasagna?
Let's take crispiness and expand on it by making the pasta super crispy instead of soft and chewy. The crispiness is excellent, but the Bolognese sauce takes the recipe over the top.
What is Crispy Lasagna?
Crispy Lasagna is a dish of stacked fried sheets of flat pasta noodles, usually with a meat sauce and cheese filling. The term lasagna is also used to refer to the wide flat noodle used in the dish.
- The first ingredient needed is "fresh" pasta sheets sold in the refrigerated grocery store (do not use dry pasta for this recipe). The second option is making the fresh pasta yourself. Below you'll find a tutorial on making fresh pasta.
- The Sauce, our recipe uses the best Texas Bolognese sauce on the planet with a vegetarian option as well)
- The Cheese. Our recipe uses two kinds of cheese. The first cheese is fresh Ricotta cheese. Store-bought works great; below, I'll show you how to make it homemade. And the second cheese is a finishing cheese spread over the top before the oven. I used asiago cheese.
Second, we need a sauce with deep southwestern flavors. The Texas Bolognese uses flavors from the American Southwest and is the perfect level of spice without the spiciness of hot heat.
Living in Texas helps familiarize you with the wide range of spices and peppers that are not only delicious but can also give your cooking an extra creative boost. I'll show you how to pick just about any type without burning your taste buds and what kinds might be the hottest!
Pasta Type For Crispy Lasagna
There are two pasta options:
- Purchasing fresh pasta. Most grocery stores carry fresh pasta in the refrigerator section. Look for the fresh pasta sheets. Another option would be to use wonton wrappers.
- The next option is making homemade fresh pasta from scratch.
Learning to make pasta from scratch is an art form, and the best way of doing it without mess or fuss is by using your food processor!
Fresh Pasta Recipe Ingredients & Measurements
- Whole Wheat Flour - 1 cup
- All-Purpose Flour - 1 cup
- Extra Large Eggs - 4 eggs
- Olive Oil -1 Tablespoon
- Sea Salt -1 ½ teaspoon
How To Make Fresh Pasta
- Add all the flour, plus one and a half teaspoons of salt (or to taste), into your food processor. Pulse or blend for about 10 seconds until there are no lumps in sight!
- Adding olive oil will make your pasta taste better and is an important ingredient in creating a crispy crust. Start with 1 tablespoon and add more as needed.
- Turn on the machine and add the eggs one at a time. The dough will come together into a ball.
- Next, knead the dough on a tabletop for about 10 minutes, or until it becomes elastic and smooth.
- Be mindful to work quickly, as you do not want the dough to dry out.
- Once the pasta is elastic, meaning the dough is very smooth, wrap it in plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator for 15-20 minutes. This is the resting process and is very important. This will allow the gluten to relax before rolling it out for the crispy lasagna.
- Shape the pasta before the refrigerator. Think about the size of the pasta roller machine's opening, and then mold the pasta into a flat disk that will fit into the machine's opening.
Using a pasta roller machine or the KitchenAid pasta attachment. First, roll over the pasta a few times to soften it before running it through the pasta machine using a rolling pin.
Steps To Rolling Fresh Pasta
The key is allowing the fresh pasta to air dry to remove extra moisture before frying. The pasta surface should feel smooth and dry when ready. Pasta air-drys fast. In this case, 2 hours if rolled thin enough.
- Start on number 1 of the pasta machine. The lower the number, the thicker the pasta sheet will be. You need to start on the lowest number and work your way up to the desired thickness. Start on number 1.
- After running the pasta through the first time, fold the pasta sheet back over on top of itself. You want the sheets to be the width of the pasta machine opening once you are done rolling the sheets out.
- Work up to pasta machine thickness number 5 for crispy lasagna.
Place the sheets on parchment paper, sprinkle fresh flour on both sides to avoid sticking, and cover with a kitchen towel, so they do not dry out.
Step #2 Frying The Fresh Pasta
Did you know fresh pasta sheets puff up when cooked in hot oil? Who Knew? 🤔
The Crispy Pasta Presentation
It is important to think about the way you want the dish to look on the plate. Get one of your serving plates out and place it in front of you. Then lay one of the fresh pasta sheets on the plate. Make your mind up on how big or small it needs to be to fit correctly. Then make your cuts to the pasta sheets. Try to make each pasta sheet the same size.
You can use store-bought fresh pasta sheets.
Step #3 Making Texas Bolognese Sauce
The sauce is rich in flavors loved by Texans. The use of peppers and chiles is our magic touch. Our recipe isn't spicy. The reason why it isn't spicy is the way we treat the peppers and chiles before cooking. It tames down the spice level.
The recipe calls for ground beef and mushrooms to create a deep depth of flavor at the base. Texa Bolognese goes so well with many other recipes. Talk about a weeknight pasta dish no one will ever forget. #texasbolognesesauce
There is a vegetarian option, too.
How To Make Ricotta Cheese
Making cheese is fun and cost-effective. Our ricotta cheese recipe calls for four ingredients and about 1 hour of your time. #easyricotta
My mother is a big fan of our fresh ricotta cheese. The recipe and instructions can be found on the recipe card and the links below.
Recipes To Try
- Five Cheese Spinach Lasagna From Scratch
- Fettuccine Alfredo With Garlic Butter Shrimp
- 45 Types Of Pasta | A-to-Z | Defined | Photos | Uses
- Fried Mac And Cheese Sliders
📖 Recipe Card
Ingredients To Make Crispy Lasagna
- Pasta Sheets (<Make Homemade> or buy at grocery store) 18 pieces
- Canola Oil / or Peanut Oil 24 oz
- Asiago Cheese (Topping Cheese / Use what you enjoy, another option, Parmesan Cheese.) ½ cup
Bolognese & Ricotta Cheese Recipes Links
Texas Bolognese Sauce
- Ground Beef 1 pound
- Portobello Mushroom 1 cap
- Cremini Mushrooms 12 caps
- High-Quality Butter 1 tablespoon
- Vidalia Onion (Mirepoix onion, carrot, celery) 1 medium
- Celery (Mirepoix onion, carrot, celery) 1 stalk
- Carrot (Mirepoix onion, carrot, celery) 1 large
- Red Wine ½ cup
- Tomato Paste 5 tablespoon
- Dried Thyme ½ teaspoon
- Tomatoes (/ I like using whole tomatoes and breaking them up myself) 1 can
- Jalapeno Pepper 1
- Serrano Pepper 1
- Dried Ancho Chile 1
- Guajilo Pepper 1
- Thai Chilies (/ cut in half lengthwise) 3 tips
- Habanero Pepper (/ cut in half lengthwise - no rib or seed) ½
- Red Bell Pepper 1
Homemade Ricotta Cheese
- Whole Milk ( / Low-Fat milk will not work) 8 cups
- Heavy Cream ( / Half & Half - substitute option) 2 cups
- Lemon Juice ( / Juice of 2 lemons) 6 Tablespoons
- Kosher Salt 2 teaspoon
Fresh Homemade Pasta
- Whole Wheat Flour 2 cups
- All-Purpose Flour 1 cup
- Eggs 4 extra large
- Egg Yolk 1 extra
- Sea Salt 1 teaspoon
Home To Make Crispy Lasagna
- Quick Method1) Making the Texas Bolognese sauce2) Buying the Fresh Pasta Sheets at the grocery store3) Buying fresh ricotta cheese
- Step #1 Shaping The PastaShaping the pasta into rectangles to fit the plate. Place a pasta sheet over a plate and measure the size you would like the pasta. Make a small indention, then move the pasta sheet to a cutting board to make all of the needed cuts to all pasta sheets.Store the pasta sheets once cut on a plate with a damp paper towel or dishcloth. This makes sure the pasta sheets do not dry out.
- Step #2 Frying The Pasta SheetsPrepare the frying oil. Using a large pot with a lid, fill the pot with oil. Use only enough oil to add one piece of pasta sheet at a time. About 3 inches of oil.Time to fry once the oil reaches 350 degrees. I suggest test frying a small piece to make sure the frying oil is just right. Not too hot, not too cold. You will want the test piece to be golden brown and crispy.Place one sheet into the hot oil using kitchen tongs, and hold/press the pasta sheet underneath the oil line, complete immersing. The oil will bubble up controllably. Once the bubbles calm down, I know that my pasta is done cooking and can be taken out of heat safely.I cook for an additional 30 seconds from this point for max crispiness!
- Building The Crispy LasagnaUsing 3 pasta sheets per plate. Start with one piece in the center of the plate, then add some of the Texas Bolognese sauce on top. Add pieces of fresh ricotta cheese all around the pasta sheet. Build up 3 layers and finish with Asiago cheese. Another option would be Parmesan cheese.
- Build up 3 layers and finish with Asiago cheese. Another option would be Parmesan cheese.
Method #2 - Every Thing Homemade - Bolognese | Fresh Pasta | Ricotta
- Links to each independent recipe are listed in the ingredients recipe card section above
Step 1 Making The Texas Bolognese Sauce
- This sauce only gets better in the refrigerator, I like making the sauce a few days in advance.
Preparing The Mushrooms
- Rinse/wash the mushroom off under cold water. Do this quickly, as mushrooms will absorb some water. Using a spoon, clean off the spores from underneath the mushrooms. If not, you'll impart a more earthly flavor profile most will not enjoy. Almost a dirty flavor. Remove the spores.
- Next, chop the mushrooms into small sizes. We will be saluting them and need the mushrooms the same size for even cooking time and appearance. No big chunks.Option: If preparing the vegetarian version, leaving some large pieces might be a nice touch for additional texture. Be sure to double the number of mushrooms to use that amounts to what you like. I would suggest mixing in a few different types of mushrooms. Idea: Try using some dried mushrooms. Place them into warm water to soften. But sure to add some of the liquid to add a big flavor. I suggest tasting the dried mushroom liquid before adding it to ensure you think it will work with the recipe.
- Add butter to a large skillet over medium heat, then add the mushrooms. But only add half of them at this point. Add a small pinch of salt and dried thyme at this time. Cook until they have shrunk in size and caramelized, then add the second half and cook them alongside the cooked mushrooms. Ensuring the mushrooms get caramelized for maximum flavor. Otherwise, there would be too many mushrooms.
- Making Bolognese Sauce
- Set up your food processor close to a cutting boardChop the onion, carrot, celery, jalapeno, serrano, guajillo, habanero, Thai chile, ancho, and bell pepper into a size that helps the food processor do its job. Do not add large chunks to a food processor or risk uneven blending. I used half of each pepper, which was great but not very hot. If you watch the video, you can see how I cut the peppers, i.e., how much I used precisely. Add each ingredient one at a time to the food processor until everything is smooth/purred.Next, add the "base" to the cooked mushrooms and start reducing the liquid. We want to cook off some of the liquid and tighten the sauce up a bit.Now add in the ground beef. Add salt and pepper and cook the beef through.Next, add a few tablespoons of tomato paste and stir it in. Then add in the red wine and cook off the alcohol. Lastly, I like to add something fresh. I like adding a whole tomato from the can. The canned tomatoes will be soft and have the right texture to add with ease.
- After a few minutes, the red wine has cooked into the bolognese sauceTSA: Taste - Season - Adjust. Does it need more tomato paste? Salt? Does the color look good? Add in more tomato paste for a deeper color. Cook until the flavor has come together. About 15 minutes on low. Longer if you like. Then, there you go. You have Texas Bolognese Sauce
Making Homemade Ricotta Cheese
- Using a large pot, add the 8 cups of whole milk, plus the 2 cups of heavy cream. Plus the 2 teaspoons of salt.
- Heating The MilkUsing a candy thermometer, SLOWLY bring the temperature up to 190 degrees. (about 10 minutes). Make sure the milk never gets to a boil. Be mindful of the bottom of the pot and do not allow the milk to become scorched. Use a spatula to stir and scrape the bottom during the heating.
- The idea is to be gentle with the protein and fats in the milk. The slow heating process allows the fats and proteins to loosen up. Once an acid is applied, the lemon juice, the coagulation starts.
- Once 190 degrees is reached, stir in the 2 Tablespoons of lemon juice. Stir to combine. You'll start to see the milk begin to thicken quickly. This is the coagulation process happening. You're making cheese!!!
- Coagulation TimingCover the pot with the heat off and allow it to coagulate for 15+ minutes. A s the acid does the work. The curds and whey will begin to separate. Thick pockets of curds will begin to form. After 15+ minutes, pour through cheesecloth. Drain off all of the whey (liquid) from the curds(cheese). Do not allow the curds (cheese) to sit in the whey (liquid) for any amount of time.
- Once the whey level starts to touch the bottom of the cheesecloth, drain off the whey. Continue until all whey is gone and only the curd is left.
- How To Shape The RicottaTake a large piece of plastic wrap. Layout the curds on top in a long log shape. Roll into shape and twist the ends.
- StorageRefrigerate, wrap in plastic wrap to set up. Before storage is your one chance to shape the ricotta. Fresh ricotta cheese will last one week, plus in the refrigerator. Over the days, the cheese will shrink a very small amount due to the frigid air in the refrigerator, causing dehydration.