My Italian family is going to give me flak for writing this, but I’m doing it anyway.
I've eaten a lot of lasagna, and one of my favorite versions is a traditional meat lasagna, or lasagna Bolognese. It's a labor of love that can take all day to make. It's worth it—creamy, meaty, and cheesy all in the same bite—but since the meat sauce is already time-consuming to make, when you add the traditional béchamel on top of it, you’ll be in the kitchen for hours.
So is there a way to save time on the béchamel? Ricotta is a viable substitute, but sometimes when ricotta is baked at high temperatures it becomes grainy and dry. Our test cooks at Cook's Country used a secret ingredient originally found in Cook's Illustrated's Cheese and Tomato Lasagna: cottage cheese.
Now before you go running, hear me out. I thought it was blasphemous at first, too. But after learning the reasons behind it, I became a believer. (I felt the same way about slathering mayonnaise on the outside of grilled cheese, but I was also proven wrong there.)