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Lasagne (// or // or //, Italian pronunciation: [laˈzaɲɲe], singular lasagna) are a wide, flat pasta shape, and possibly one of the oldest types of pasta. The word also refers to a dish made with several layers of lasagne sheets alternated with sauces and various other ingredients.
Lasagne originated in Italy, in the region of Emilia-Romagna. Traditional lasagne is made by interleaving layers of pasta with layers of sauce, made with ragù, bechamel, and Parmigiano-Reggiano. In other regions and outside of Italy it is common to find lasagne made with ricotta or mozzarella cheese, tomato sauce, various meats (e.g., ground beef, pork or chicken), miscellaneous vegetables (e.g., spinach, zucchini, mushrooms) and typically flavored with wine, garlic, onion, and oregano. In all cases the lasagne are oven-baked.
Traditionally, the dough was prepared in Southern Italy with semolina and water and in the northern regions, where semolina was not available, with flour and eggs. Today in Italy, since the only type of wheat allowed for commercially sold pasta is durum wheat, commercial lasagne are made of semolina (from durum wheat).
There are three theories on the origin of the word "lasagne", two of which denote an ancient Greek dish. The main theory is that lasagne comes from Greek λάγανον (laganon), a flat sheet of pasta dough cut into strips. The word λαγάνα (lagana) is still used in Greek to mean a flat thin type of unleavened bread.
Another theory is that the word lasagne comes from the Greek λάσανα (lasana) or λάσανον (lasanon) meaning "trivet or stand for a pot", "chamber pot". The Romans borrowed the word as "lasanum", meaning "cooking pot" in Latin. The Italians used the word to refer to the dish in which lasagne is made. Later the name of the food took on the name of the serving dish.
A third theory proposed that the dish is a development of the 14th century English recipe "Loseyn" as described in The Forme of Cury, a cook book in use during the reign of Richard II. This has similarities to modern lasagne in both its recipe, which features a layering of ingredients between pasta sheets, and its name. An important difference is the lack of tomatoes, which did not arrive in Europe until after Columbus reached America in 1492. The earliest discussion of the tomato in European literature appeared in a herbal written in 1544 by Pietro Andrea Mattioli while the earliest discovered cookbook with tomato recipes was published in Naples in 1692, though the author had apparently obtained these recipes from Spanish sources.
As with most other types of pasta, the word is a plural form, lasagne meaning more than one sheet of lasagna.
- Baked ziti
- King Ranch Chicken – a casserole also known as "Texas Lasagna"
- Moussaka – a Mediterranean casserole that is layered in some recipes
- Pastitsio – a baked, layered Mediterranean pasta dish
- Timballo – an Italian casserole
- The Oxford Companion to Food 2nd Ed. Oxford University Press, USA. 2006. ISBN 0-19-280681-5.
- "Presidential Decree 187" (in English). translation from UA A.F.P.A. 9 February 2001. Retrieved 7 October 2012.
- λάγανον, Henry George Liddell, Robert Scott, A Greek-English Lexicon, on Perseus
- Andrew Dalby, "Food in the Ancient World from A to Z", Routledge, 2003, on Google books
- "Everyone Eats: Understanding Food and Culture", Eugene Newton Anderson, NYU Press, 2005
- The Real Italian Pasta
- λάσανα, Henry George Liddell, Robert Scott, A Greek-English Lexicon, on Perseus
- Muhlke, Christine (2 April 1997), "A Lighthearted Look at How Foods Got Their Names", Cookbook Shelf:Book Review (Salon.com), retrieved 30 September 2007
- "lasagna". Merriam-Webster's Online Dictionary. Encyclopædia Britannica Online. Retrieved 30 September 2007.
- lasanum, Charlton T. Lewis, Charles Short, A Latin Dictionary, on Perseus
- "Loseyns (Lozenges)". Celtnet. Dyfed Lloyd Evans. Retrieved 24 March 2012.
- Smith, Andrew F. (1994). The tomato in America: early history, culture, and cookery. Columbia, S.C, USA: University of South Carolina Press. ISBN 1-57003-000-6.
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