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Lasagne - stonesoup.jpg
Baked lasagne
Place of origin Italy
Region or state Campania, Naples
Course served Main
Type Pasta
Serving temperature Hot
Main ingredient(s) Durum wheat
Variations Lasagnette

Lasagne (/ləˈzænjə/ or /ləˈzɑːnjə/ or /ləˈsɑːnjə/, Italian pronunciation: [laˈzaɲɲe], singular lasagna) are wide, flat-shaped pasta, and possibly one of the oldest types of pasta.[1] The word "lasagne" and, in many non-Italian languages, the singular "lasagna", can also refer to a dish made with several layers of lasagne sheets alternated with sauces and various other ingredients.


Lasagne originated in Italy, traditionally ascribed to the city of Naples (Campania), where the first modern recipe was created in the Middle Ages and published in Liber de Coquina (The Book of Cookery), and became a traditional dish.[2] 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, pasta dough prepared in Southern Italy used semolina and water and in the northern regions, where semolina was not available, 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).[3]

Emilia-Romagna's intensive farming economy in the northern region of Italy results in plentiful dairy and meat products, and their commonality in regional cooking – more so than the olive oil found in southern regions of Italy. Pastas from Emilia-Romagna and its capital, Bologna, are almost always served with a ragù, a thick sauce made from ingredients such as onions, carrots, finely ground pork and beef, celery, butter, and tomatoes.[4][5]


In Ancient Rome, there was a dish similar to the traditional lasagne one called lasana or lasanum (Latin word for "container", "pot") described in the book De re coquinaria by Marcus Gavius Apicius,[6] but the word could have a more ancient origin. The first theory is that lasagne comes from Greek λάγανον (laganon), a flat sheet of pasta dough cut into strips.[7][8][9][10] The word λαγάνα (lagana) is still used in Greek to mean a flat thin type of unleavened bread baked for the Clean Monday holiday.

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".[11][12][13] The Romans borrowed the word as "lasanum", meaning "cooking pot" in Latin.[14] 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 British recipe "Loseyn"[15] 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[16] 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.[16]

As with most other types of pasta, the Italian word is a plural form, lasagne meaning more than one sheet of lasagna, though in many other languages a derivative of the singular word "lasagna" is used for the popular dish. In English, lasagne (of whatever spelling) is usually used for the dish, and some redundantism like "lasagna noodles" can be used for just the pasta.

See also


  1. The Oxford Companion to Food 2nd Ed. Oxford University Press, USA. 2006. ISBN 0-19-280681-5.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  2. Liber de Coquina (1285), De lasanis. Gloning.
  3. "Presidential Decree 187" (PDF). translation from UA A.F.P.A. 9 February 2001. Retrieved 7 October 2012.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  4. Hess, Reinhardt and Salzer, Sabine. Regional Italian Cuisine. Barron's. Print.
  5. Root, Waverley. The Cooking of Italy. New York: Time-Life, 1968. Print.
  6. De re coquinaria. Apicio.
  7. λάγανον, Henry George Liddell, Robert Scott, A Greek-English Lexicon, on Perseus
  8. Andrew Dalby, "Food in the Ancient World from A to Z", Routledge, 2003, on Google books
  9. "Everyone Eats: Understanding Food and Culture", Eugene Newton Anderson, NYU Press, 2005
  10. The Real Italian Pasta
  11. λάσανα, Henry George Liddell, Robert Scott, A Greek-English Lexicon, on Perseus
  12. Muhlke, Christine (2 April 1997), "A Lighthearted Look at How Foods Got Their Names", Cookbook Shelf:Book Review,, archived from the original on August 8, 2007, retrieved 30 September 2007<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  13. "lasagna". Merriam-Webster's Online Dictionary. Encyclopædia Britannica Online. Retrieved 30 September 2007.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>[dead link]
  14. lasanum, Charlton T. Lewis, Charles Short, A Latin Dictionary, on Perseus
  15. "Loseyns (Lozenges)". Celtnet. Dyfed Lloyd Evans. Retrieved 24 March 2012.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  16. 16.0 16.1 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.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>

External links

  • Quotations related to Lasagna at Wikiquote
  • The dictionary definition of lasagne at Wiktionary