The Simple Addition To Prevent The Ricotta In Lasagna From Drying Out

The phrase "labor of love" is associated with only a handful of dishes, ones that require love, time, and a whole lot of ingredients and steps. And while lasagna may be one of them, it's worth every second of effort.

Layers upon layers of lasagna pasta sheets, sauce (often made with meat), and cheese make up this Italian dish, which was invented in Naples, Italy in the Middle Ages, per Mi'talia. According to the outlet, one of the earliest references of the dish was found in an English cookbook in the 14th century and did not include tomatoes. But, as time went on, variations of the dish were mastered, including a sweet rendition with cinnamon and sugar, per Cucina Venti. And, by the 1880s, per Mi'talia, a version with tomato sauce was discovered.

Several variations of lasagna can be found in various parts of Italy. As La Cucina Italiana discusses, Molise is known for broth-based lasagna, the Ascoli province doesn't use tomatoes, and Sardinia utilizes thin and crispy flatbread to prepare their lasagna. But for the most part, many people love lasagna for the tender pasta, hearty sauce, and stretchy cheese.

Speaking of the cheese, mozzarella and ricotta (and maybe some parmesan) are typically found in standard lasagna recipes, per Kitchn. But the ricotta has a tendency to dry out (via Bon Appétit), potentially ruining your labor of love. To that, we've found a simple addition to prevent this mishap.

Got an egg to spare?

Lasagna just wouldn't be the same without the softness of ricotta, a type of Italian cheese that's known for its creaminess and brightness, per MasterClass. Flavors aside, it maintains its consistency when baked inside lasagna, which may be why it's so popular, as noted by Food Network.

But according to Bon Appétit, ricotta may dry out, adding an unpleasant contrast to the other lasagna elements. To that, they suggest adding an egg, herbs, and other seasonings before following the lasagna recipe as normal.

So how do eggs enhance ricotta? Two words: richness and moisture (per Cultured Table and Sauder's Eggs, respectively). The moisture is a big one and, as the latter source explains, egg proteins help to keep water and moisture intact. This is because egg whites have lots of water (88%) while egg yolks are made up of 50% water. Furthermore, egg yolks are also comprised of fat, which aids in increased moisture for ricotta.

So next time you're making lasagna, be sure to use an egg to increase the moisture levels of the ricotta cheese. The final product will be even more delicious and best of all, much less dry.