The Noodles Michael Symon Never Uses For Lasagna

If you love lasagna — the classically comforting Italian layered casserole of ribbons of pasta alternated with fillings such as tomato-based sauces, meats, cheeses, and vegetables — then you're far from alone. In a YouGovAmerica poll surveying Americans on their favorite Italian dish, 83% of participants favored the multi-tiered dish, which beat out other popular pastas including ravioli and baked ziti, and was outranked only by garlic bread. A hit among many types of palates, and children and adults alike, lasagna also scores points for serving a large number of people, for the ease with which it can be prepared ahead of time, and how well it reheats (via Escoffier).

As is the case with many of the most commonly prepared dishes out there, there seem to be a million and one ways to adapt lasagna, from going light with a veggie-and-kale filling to replacing the noodles with versatile spaghetti squash. But there's one extremely common lasagna preparation method out there that's relied upon by many harried cooks, and chef and TV host Michael Symon gives it an unequivocal thumbs-down.

Michael Symon says 'no' to no-boil noodles

According to the Los Angeles Times, when "no-boil" lasagna sheets hit supermarket shelves, dinnertime was streamlined for many, allowing home cooks to layer dried noodles right into their lasagnas — no boiling pot of water needed — and enjoy hot, cooked lasagna about an hour later. No-boil pasta sheets, which are passed through a water bath when manufactured in order to pre-cook them, according to HuffPost, can certainly save time and energy. But former co-host of "The Chew," Michael Symon, gives them a firm "no."

Oven-ready lasagna noodles, as they're also called, have been critiqued for not boasting the best texture, turning out softer than the thicker noodles that have to be boiled first (via HuffPost). And it's for that reason — texture — that Symon prefers to go the old-school route with lasagna noodles. "Don't bother with those no-boil noodles — they compromise the texture," he told Food & Wine. "Go the extra mile and use the real thing." 

So the next time you're craving an authentic, beautifully textured lasagna, be sure to build in a little extra time for boiling and draining all those noodles.