The growing concern for egg safety in the kitchen stems from a strain of salmonella bacteria trapped inside eggshells, causing food-borne illness. When assembling lasagna, raw egg is mixed in with one or more different kinds of cheese and sometimes vegetables to create one of the dish's many satisfying layers. Making lasagna with eggs ahead of time and then refrigerating or freezing the dish for later is both safe and convenient as long as you take a few simple precautions.
Mixing the Eggs
Using raw eggs safely in the kitchen begins with proper storage because refrigeration prevents bacteria growth. Store eggs in their carton in the coldest part of the refrigerator -- not in the door -- since the bacteria in eggs can multiply if they aren’t kept at or below 40 degrees Fahrenheit. When adding eggs to your lasagna ingredients, crack them into a separate bowl first and smell. A strong, foul odor means your egg has gone bad and should be thrown away. If a bit of shell gets into your egg or lasagna ingredients, remove it by dipping in a clean utensil. Washing your hands and utensils after handling raw eggs avoids cross-contamination.
Refrigerating Uncooked Lasagna
Once out of their shell, raw eggs can be refrigerated for up to four days. Hard-boiled eggs cooked and sliced can be refrigerated for up to one week. Lasagna made with eggs can be assembled and refrigerated the day before you plan to bake it. To store your assembled lasagna in the refrigerator, cover tightly in tinfoil or plastic wrap and keep in the coldest part of the refrigerator. Do not taste the lasagna until after it has been cooked. Cooking to a temperature of 160 F or higher destroys the presence of salmonella in raw eggs.
Freezing Lasagna with Eggs
Eggs can be frozen after you crack them open. Both the egg whites alone and the yolk with the egg white together are safe in the freezer for up to one year. When using no-cholesterol egg substitutes made with egg whites, contact the manufacturer listed on the product to inquire about safe freezer storage. After lasagna has been baked, leftovers can be frozen. To prepare leftover lasagna made with egg for the freezer, do not allow the dish to sit out for more than 2 hours before storing.
Cooking and Serving
Even lasagna stored in the refrigerator or freezer before cooking benefits from resting when it is removed hot and bubbly from the oven. Making lasagna ahead of time gives the herbs and flavors of the dish plenty of time to meld, but allowing it to rest after cooking helps the sauce thicken. The resistant starch from the pasta will coagulate the sauce, making your dish easier to cut. Most recipes recommend waiting 10 to 15 minutes after removing from the oven, but it will retain its heat for up to 1 hour.
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For more than 10 years, Carol Butler has run a small, off-grid furniture business with her husband and is a regular contributor to the Edible community of magazines. As staff writer for RichLife Advisors, she covers financial planning and other industry-related topics. She holds a B.F.A. in theater arts.