Lasagna is a famous Italian dish. It consists of bechamel, ragu, parmesan cheese and pasta dough cut into long strips. The history of this dish, which is as satisfying as it is delicious, dates back to ancient times. The best recipes and history of lasagna, which is very popular and loved around the world, are presented in this article. Read on for everything you need to know about lasagna.
History of Lasagna: What Is Lasagna?
Lasagna is a special and delicious dish that is among the pastas in Italian cuisine. Its original name is known as Lasagna Bolognese. The reason for taking this name; It is the splendor of the city of Bologna. It consists of a specially opened thin dough meeting with various sauces and gives the final touch to the oven. Each layer of lasagna dough is also called a lasagna sheet. One of the secrets of the softness of the lasagna dough is the bechamel sauce applied to the middle layers. You might think that if lasagna is a kind of pasta. In fact, lasagna is a kind of pasta with sauce. Only, the cooking method differs.
When the lasagna dough is rolled out, it is up to you to flavor this dough. Whatever vegetables or flavors your palate appeals to, you can fill the middle layers of the lasagna with these ingredients. Lasagna pasta is colored with different ingredients placed between lasagna sheets! Lasagna, which is prepared in layers, creates an integrity with the sauces added, and this integrity brings a festive atmosphere to many stomachs. Bechamel and bolognese sauces are very popular among lasagna sauces. Among the most well-known varieties of lasagna, the one with tomato sauce and cheese is loved. The cheeses used are also quite special. The consistency of this food is created even better with ricotta and mozzarella cheese. Lasagna with cheese also attracts great attention.
History of Lasagna: When Was Lasagna Invented & Where Did It Originate?
Lasagna originated in Italy in the Middle Ages and is attributed to the city of Naples. The first recorded recipe appears in the Liber de Coquina (Book of Cookery) in the early 14th century. It has been described that a leavened dough is prepared in thin layers, boiled and eaten with a thin stick by adding cheese and spices.
History of Lasagna: Origin Of The Word
In Ancient Rome, in the book “De Re Coquinaria” written by Marcus Gavius Apicius, a dish similar to a traditional lasagna called “lasana” or “lasanum” (Latin meaning “container” or “vessel”) is encountered, but the origin of the word may be older than this article. Another theory is that the word lasagna comes from the Greek “lasana” or “lasanon”. The meaning of this word can be translated as “bottom part of the pan” or “big pot”. The Romans used the word as “lasanum”, which means “pot”, and the Italians gave this word as a name to the containers in which lasagna was cooked. Over time, it got the name of the pot in which it was cooked.
Classical Lasagna Recipe
- 200 gr Lasagna preferably fresh 10 cm X 20 cm 12 sheets
- 400 gr Bechamel Sauce
- 400 gr Bolognese Sauce
- 400 g Cheese (Fresh Cheddar) grated (or mozzarella)
- 40 gr Cheese (Parmesan), grated for the top layer
We learned the history of lasagna and origin of the word lasagna. Now it is time for the best recipes! To prepare the classical lasagna, firstly, if pre-boiling is required depending on the type of pasta, put it in the pot and keep it in boiling water for about 20 seconds until it is just soft. Then, take it on a cloth and drain the water. At least 5 layers will be prepared according to the depth of the container. American recipes use 2 layers of lasagna dough between the layers of ingredients, but common is 1 layer of pasta per layer of ingredients.
Start by applying a thin layer of bechamel sauce to the bottom of the bowl. The trick is to use very little material on each layer. After the first layer of bechamel, cool at least 5 layers of pasta in the form of one layer of macaroni, one layer of ragu (bolognese sauce), one layer of cheese.
After laying a lot of cheese on the top layer, cover it with aluminum foil. Make sure that the aluminum foil does not touch the food. Then, preheat the oven to 160°C. After that, place the bowl in the preheated oven and bake for 1 hour. At 50 minutes, remove the aluminum foil and let the cheese on it crackle well.
Let it rest for at least 10 minutes when you take it out of the oven. Finally, cut into squares and serve.
Lasagna With Eggplant Recipe
- 4 eggplants
- 600g boiled chicken breast
- 2 green peppers
- 1 red pepper
- 1 onion
- 4-5 tablespoons of tomato sauce (You can use 3 grated tomatoes or 1 tablespoon of tomato paste instead. If you use tomato paste, you can add half a glass of hot water.)
- Black pepper
- Red powdered pepper
- Chili pepper
- Oil (for frying)
For the bechamel sauce:
- 2 spoonful of butter
- 1 tablespoon of oil
- 1.5 tablespoons of flour
- 1.5 cups of milk
- Black pepper
- For the top:
- Cheddar cheese
How to Prepare Lasagna With Eggplant
Firstly, put the chicken breast on the stove to be boiled. Next, peel the eggplants and slice them lengthwise into thin strips. Then, take them in a deep bowl and leave them in salted water for 20 minutes. Pour the holding water of the bitter eggplants and after washing, take them into a strainer or dry them with a towel. After that, fry both sides of the eggplants in hot oil. Then, take the fried eggplants on a paper towel and absorb excess oil. Take 2 tablespoons of oil in a deep pot or pan, add chopped onion and fry for 2 minutes. Then, add the peppers. After the peppers are roasted, add salt and spices.
After that, add 4-5 tablespoons of the tomato sauce you prepared before (you can use the ingredients specified in the ingredient list instead of tomato sauce). Finally, add the boiled and finely chopped chicken breast and mix. After 2-3 minutes of roasting, remove them from the stove.
Prepare The Béchamel Sauce
Now, it is time to prepare the béchamel sauce. Firstly, put the butter and oil in the pan, add flour after it melts and fry it until it smells. Then, add milk and mix with a whisk and cook until it thickens and boils. Finally, add salt and pepper and remove from the stove.
After that, add bechamel sauce to the prepared chicken mixture and mix. Then, arrange half of the eggplants on the bottom of the baking dish, pour half of the chicken mixture on it and spread it. Then, lay out another layer of eggplant and pour the remaining chicken mixture and spread it evenly. After that, cover the top of the dish with grated cheddar cheese. Finally, since all the ingredients are cooked, the baking time will not be long, just keep it in the preheated 190C oven until the cheese on it melts and turns brown.
Reference: Buccini, Anthony F. “Lasagna: A Layered History.” Wrapped & Stuffed Foods: Proceedings of the Oxford Symposium on Food and Cookery 2012. Oxford Symposium, 2013.
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