Which Ingredient Should Go First When Layering Lasagna?

Rarely is it the case in cooking that there's one right answer. Chefs and home cooks alike love to disagree about the benefits and drawbacks of ingredients and techniques. Even the ultimate Italian comfort food — lasagna — isn't immune to controversy. For example, some recipes call for layering in ricotta cheese, as in this delectable sausage lasagna recipe with a rich pesto-ricotta combination. However, The Daily Meal notes that using ricotta can potentially detract from the other flavors of lasagna. Whether you're Team Ricotta or Team Béchamel, the kind of filling you use is merely a matter of preference.

The same is true for the kind of pasta you use. Some cooks, like Jamie Oliver, swear by fresh lasagna noodles. Others opt for the ease of oven-ready, no-boil noodles, though chef Michael Symon considers them an abomination. People looking for gluten-free or keto options for their layered pasta dish may opt for sliced zucchini. All of these ingredients have their appropriate functions, but there's one thing everyone can agree on when it comes to lasagna — the ingredient that should be the first layer placed in the dish.

Which ingredient should go into your dish first?

It's the sauce! Always the sauce. Jamie Oliver notes that it should be the tomato based-sauce that you layer into the pan first. Another important reason for saucing first is so your noodles don't stick to the bottom of the pan. Additionally, it's critical to make sure your sauce covers the entire bottom of the dish. If not, you may end up with stuck-on pasta that won't have the delightful texture you're looking for, and it also may complicate your cleanup.

As for which sauce you choose, there are several delicious options. It's hard to go wrong with a classic bolognese that combines ground pork and ground beef. Kale lasagna is perfect for vegetarian eaters and may only require a jar of ready-made marinara. No matter your sauce of choice, though, it should be your foundation — the very first layer that goes into your glass baking dish. However, some cooks prefer a stainless steel pan or ceramic dish to a glass one, proving that controversy never entirely ends.