Some cheese lasagna is just heavy and bland, due to the use of plain-tasting cheeses. But even those with good cheese flavor can have soupy, dry, or greasy textures.
We wanted a robust cheese lasagna with great structure, creamy texture, and maximum flavor.
For the best cheese flavor, we settled on a combination of fontina, Parmesan, Gorgonzola, and Gruyère. We found that making the béchamel sauce with a high ratio of flour to butter created a thick binder that provided enough heft to keep the lasagna layers together. And replacing 1 1/2 cups of the milk with chicken broth was the key to balancing the richness of the sauce and bringing forward the cheese flavor. But the real secret of a great four-cheese lasagna proved to be a fifth cheese. While ricotta didn't add much flavor, it gave the lasagna body without making the dish heavy and starchy. Our final challenge was to keep the baking time short enough to avoid harming this delicate pasta dish. Both presoaking the no-boil noodles and a low-heat/high-heat baking method (baking at 350 degrees and then quickly broiling to brown the top) kept the lasagna from overbaking.