What is lasagne?
Lasagne (pronounced “luh-ZAN-yuh”) is a form of pasta and also the name of the dish that is made from this pasta shape. Wide, thin sheets of pasta are baked in layers in the oven alternately with a savoury sauce – usually bolognese – with cheese over it. In other words, “lasagne alla bolognese al forno”, as the Italians say.
Lasagne is one of the oldest Italian dishes. The name is directly derived from the Greek “laganon”, a flat type of bread that was cut into strips and added to stew-like dishes. Cicero, who lived in the first century AD, loved it. In the thirteenth century, Marco Polo ate “lasagne” made of flour, and from the Middle Ages, the pasta shape developed into the dish as we know it today.
In addition to the most famous lasagne, with bolognese sauce from the north of the country, the Italians have many other regional variants. In Liguria, lasagne sheets are alternated with freshly-made pesto. In Marche, they use chicken liver and marsala, and the Neapolitan party version is filled with meatballs, boiled eggs and sausage.
How to make lasagne
To make a classic lasagne (alla bolognese al forno), first, assemble the different components. It starts with a simple but tasty bolognese sauce with pancetta, ground beef, red wine and tomatoes. The chef also makes a bechamel sauce from milk, flour, butter, Parmesan cheese and salt. Now the construction work begins. The layers are piled in a baking dish on a base of bolognese sauce: pasta and sauce, pasta and sauce, with a layer of bechamel in the middle and on top. On top, sprinkle grated Parmesan. The lasagne is ready after a good half hour in the oven.
How to eat
An authentic lasagne is a relatively dry dish that is cut into small squares and served as primo piatto, the first of two main courses. The lasagne as it is served in Canada is often a little juicier. You eat lasagne with a knife and fork.
Lasagne is an all-in-one meal.
Difference between cannelloni and lasagne
Cannelloni are cylindrical pasta tubes stuffed with various fillings and baked in a bechamel sauce, while lasagna is made with flat pasta sheets layered with filling (typically alternating between ricotta cheese and meat sauce) and baked until golden. Both dishes offer a delicious combination of pasta, filling, and sauce, making them favourites in Italian cuisine.
Spaghetti bolognese is also served with the same meat sauce, also known as “ragù” in Italy.