It’s virtually hard to say which component of lasagna is the sweetest. Is it the hearty noodles, rich tomato sauce, or gooey, melty cheese that makes this dish so delicious? Whatever aspect of this traditional Italian cuisine you choose, it’s indisputable that the cheese you use influences the final taste.
While you may cook your spaghetti any way you like, some cheeses provide an unrivaled taste. Ricotta, mozzarella, parmesan, romano, and provolone are some of the cheeses used in lasagna. When feasible, use fresh, whole-milk versions of these items for a creamier, richer flavor. So, why do these cheeses work so well together? What cheese may be used in place of ricotta? Continue reading for some delectable advice on selecting the perfect dairy for your Italian dishes!
Top 7 Best Cheese To Use In Lasagna
1. Ricotta Cheese
A fresh white cheese, ricotta is often included in traditional lasagna preparations. This cheese is known for its gentle sweetness, creamy flavor, and thick, smooth texture (which make ricotta look and taste like velvety plush curd). To utilize ricotta in a lasagna dish, they choose whole-milk ricotta to increase the moisture in the cheese and give it a silkier texture.
Even if the cheese is soft and smooth, blending it with the other ingredients for a silky lasagna sauce is difficult. While making lasagna, you’ll need to add an egg to the ricotta to help it stick together.
Another reason is that ricotta might dry up and lose its softness while cooking. Then, by combining the cheese and eggs, you may provide a modest moisture level to the ricotta, preventing it from cracking when baking. The taste test will undoubtedly assist you in selecting the most delicate ricotta for your lasagna!
2. Cottage Cheese
Cottage cheese is a unique cheese with a savory flavor and a solid gel, lumpy, and curdled texture. Some individuals dislike cottage cheese because of its distinct taste, while others like it significantly.
Cottage cheese may have a ricotta-like flavor (which is not very much). It mainly contributes a slight sweetness to the dish and a large amount of sourness and creaminess. Its flavor profile may offer a great deal of depth to a substantial dish.
3. Feta Cheese
Due to the distinct taste of feta cheese, it is also widely used to create bechamel sauce or to sprinkle over lasagna. Depending on whether it’s prepared from sheep or goat milk, there are two main types of feta.
Feta cheese is often cut into cubes or crumbles. It has a natural white hue and a taste profile that includes salty, sour, acidic, and cheesy richness.
The unusual peppery flavor (which is more evident in older sheep milk-made feta variations) is also a highlight. If you aren’t used to such a spicy flavor, feta produced from goat cheese with softer characteristics is a preferable choice.
In addition, if you prefer a healthy choice for cheese in lasagna, cottage cheese, which contains just 1% fat and 98 calories per 100 grams, might satisfy your needs.
4. Mozzarella Cheese
When melted, mozzarella has a semi-soft and notably stringy/elastic feel. It is traditionally manufactured from water buffalo’s milk (but versions are also derived from cow, goat, and sheep milk. Classic mozzarella cheese adds a gooey, melting quality to your favorite meat or spinach and cheese lasagna. Because it’s an Italian cheese, the tastes complement each other well. Because whole-milk mozzarella has more flavor than part-skim, it’s recommended to use it instead of part-skim.
You may use shredded mozzarella from the grocery for rapid construction, but fresh mozzarella adds more taste. If a ball of fresh mozzarella is solid enough, you may shred it using a grater. Fresh mozzarella may also be finely sliced and layered in your lasagna.
The shredded or sliced mozzarella cheese may be used to layer the lasagna. It’s also the layer that goes on top of the lasagna. Using mozzarella to finish the lasagna gives it a golden, cheesy appearance. Use the mozzarella alone or combine it with other shredded cheese varieties to add extra taste.
Provolone (or large provola) is an Italian semi-hard cheese created from full-fat cow milk that complements your lasagna well. The strong tanginess of provolone is one of its most prominent flavors; some varieties even have a smoky undertone.
Because it has a creamy, somewhat salty, and light sweet aftertaste, it’s occasionally mistaken for mozzarella. It may also be melted, resulting in a stringy, flexible, and gooey texture (just like mozzarella).
Provolone is a versatile cheese that may be prepared and served in several ways. It is extensively used in sandwiches and is typically offered as a table cheese. It’s also utilized in casseroles and baked pasta dishes.
6. Parmesan Cheese
The first hard cheese on the list is parmesan! To describe the flavor of this sort of cheese, I can say that it has a strong, distinct intensity. The taste intensity of old-aged parmesan (up to two years) may differ significantly from the fresher parmesan.
Parmesan may bring a delightful softness to the dish behind the “shield” of its gritty and hard texture with its gentle, creamy, and sweet flavor with a little fruity and nutty base.
But wait, there’s more! Because of its unique umami flavor, the cheese may also have a powerful, savory flavor. All of them came together to create this one-of-a-kind cheese that may enhance the flavor of your lasagna.
I recommend using freshly grated parmesan rather than store-bought grated parmesan (their tastes are somehow less substantial than freshly grated when used). While lactose is required in the production of cheese, parmesan is lactose-free. Lactose is the major carbohydrate contained in milk, yet it is indigestible to around 75% of its population. This is related to a lactase deficiency, an enzyme that aids in the digestion of lactose by breaking it down into glucose and galactose carbohydrates.
7. Romano Cheese
Cow, sheep, or goat milk is used to make Romano cheese. They’re a thick, crumbly cheese with distinct taste profiles, similar to parmesan and popular in Italian cookery. They also have a high salt concentration, which helps bring out the tastes of other ingredients in the meal.
Romano cheese is similar to parmesan in that it comes in both fresh and dried (dehydrated) forms. Let’s talk about the taste of this cheese! Romano has a particular taste that is both savory and spicy. Pecorino romano has a distinctive earthy and grassy flavor with a tinge of bitterness (due to sheep milk).
Because dry romano cheese has a low moisture level, it’s best to grate it over your lasagna before serving (the fresh variant will contain more moisture than this).
What Cheese Can You Substitute For Ricotta?
Ricotta may be substituted in a variety of ways. We’ve previously discussed cottage cheese, but there are a few more you may not be aware of.
Mascarpone is a kind of cheese made from mascarpone cheese. Mascarpone has a softer tanginess and a richer sweetness than cream cheese. It also substitutes ricotta and adds a buttery, nutty taste to your lasagna.
When adding mascarpone to a recipe, remember that the primary protein or other ingredients must taste more pungent. It will assist in balancing each other out and eventually become a delicacy. Spicy Italian sausages or other flavorful ground beef may be substituted for plain ground meat in tomato sauce or filling.
2. Cream Cheese
Cream cheese has a silky feel that reminds me of ricotta. It also has a rich, milky, creamy, somewhat sour, and sweet flavor. With its ricotta-like taste profile, Cream cheese might be an excellent substitute for the cheese.
Cream cheese, despite its name, has less fat than ricotta. Nonetheless, its qualities are similar enough to make it a viable option. Because of the difference in consistency between cream cheese and ricotta, you’ll need to use some extra cream cheese.
3. Goat Cheese
Goat cheese is another excellent melter with a kick to it. Because not everyone like its unusual flavor, you may wish to sample it beforehand. This fresh cheese, sour, salty, somewhat acidic, earthy taste, and an outstanding melting action, may be used instead of ricotta in lasagna.
Don’t worry if it doesn’t have the same characteristics as ricotta. There are many different types of goat cheese to pick from, and they all have a nice, smooth sweetness to them that will satisfy your aftertaste.
4. Paneer Cheese
This cheese is created from cow/buffalo milk and is classified as a fresh, unsalted soft cheese. It has a white tint, a firm/crumbly consistency, and a gentle, delicate, creamy milky flavor. Paneer cheese doesn’t melt and goes well with strong tastes in casseroles and soups, so it’s a good substitute for ricotta in lasagna.
5. Fromage Blanc Cheese
Fromage Blanc is good if you want to replace ricotta with a lower-fat cheese. It has a modest sweetness and tanginess.
Although this cheese is often used in desserts, it will not become runny or watery when exposed to high heat. Then, if you have any, use it to substitute ricotta in a lasagna recipe.
6. Bechamel Sauce
Bechamel sauce is made with butter, flour, milk, and a few spices. You may flavor it with other additions, such as cheese. For lasagna, use freshly grated parmesan.
To add additional richness to lasagna, bechamel sauce is sometimes utilized. It also helps to balance the taste of the tomato sauce. It may be used in lieu of the ricotta layer. Bechamel is a lighter alternative to ricotta.
If you use tofu instead of ricotta, don’t expect much in the way of flavor. It has a bland flavor with a soy-like undertone; its tastes are mostly derived from its dish partners. Tofu’s texture is the single attribute that helps it make this list.
Tofu may provide a soft, silky, and smooth texture with a gorgeous white hue (much like ricotta). Fresh tofu may be preferable to conventional, thick tofu since it may be mixed smoothly to produce a filling or sauce for lasagna.
We’ve concluded that mozzarella, parmesan, ricotta, romano, and provolone are the best lasagna cheeses. You’ve discovered some excellent ricotta substitutions as well as dairy-free alternatives.