Thursday, May 26, 2011

Ricotta vs. Béchamel Sauce for Lasagna

I didn't have an oven when I was in Japan.  It doesn't come with a stove like in USA.  So I was so excited to have one in the tiny tiny studio apartment in NYC.  I had a good recipe for meat sauce so I knew that would make great lasagna.  Since all the lasagna I had in the States were layered with ricotta cheese, I started to make it with ricotta.  I liked it, and J liked it.  I vaguely remembered that lasagna I had in Italian restaurants in Tokyo were usually made with béchamel sauce, but I thought that it was because it's hard to get ricotta cheese in Japan.  But as I lived in USA, I found that Italian cooking books suggest béchamel sauce for lasagna.  But using ricotta is so much easier.  You just have to go to store for it whereas you have to MAKE béchamel sauce.  So once a while I made lasagna with béchamel sauce when I feel like working hard.  J said it tasted different.  Not bad, but not same.  I didn't quite like the reaction, so I continued cooking with ricotta.

But One day, I realized that the milk gravy that is used for southern fried chicken is basically béchamel sauce.  I am not sure why fried food has to be smothered with butter, milk and flour, but it tastes good and J likes food like that, so I made fried chicken with milk gravy.  

And there was left over milk gravy a.k.a. béchamel sauce in the pan.  I had all the ingredients to make Lasagna next day.  So I decide to make 2 kinds of lasagna to compare the taste.

We definitely preferred the one with béchamel sauce.  It brings the taste of meat forward whereas the ricotta is watering down (or ricottaing down?) the taste of the meat.  I was wondering béchamel sauce will be too rich, but, no, it compliments the tanginess of tomato sauce and evens out the complexity of vegetables while the taste of ground beef and liver is brought to spotlights.  It was perfect.

I guess I will make lasagna with béchamel sauce now on.  

I finally started to sew something other than curtains.  It is so nice to sew in my own sewing room.  I'm making a dress for my daughter to wear for wedding next month.  

12 years old is not easy to make a dress for.  It can't be too cute, but it can't be too adult.  Such a complex  age.... The last bit of childhood is still there.  As much as I hope her to grow up, I will probably miss it when it is gone.


  1. bechamel is bleck gross stick with ricotta


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