Lasagna is wide, flat-shaped pasta which is probably one of the oldest types of pasta. Lasagna can also refer to a dish which is made of a few layers of lasagna sheets alternated with sauce and a number of other ingredients.
Lasagna is traditionally ascribed to the city of Naples in Italy, where the first modern recipe was published in the recipe book. Soon it became a traditional dish across the country.
Traditional lasagna is made by interleaving layers of pasta with layers of sauce, which is made with Parmigiano-Reggiano, béchamel, and ragù. Lasagna made with mozzarella cheese or ricotta, tomato sauce, miscellaneous vegetables (such as mushrooms, zucchini, spinach), various meats (such as chicken, pork, ground beef), and typically flavored with oregano, onion, garlic, and wine is common in other regions and outside of Italy.
In every case the lasagna is oven-baked. In Southern Italy, pasta dough is traditionally made with water and semolina, but in the northern regions, eggs and flour are used, since semolina is not available. Today, durum wheat is the only type of wheat which is commercially sold pasta wheat. Commercial lasagna is made of semolina. The intensive farming economy of Emilia-Romagna in the northern region of Italy results in plentiful meat and dairy products.
Emilia-Romagna’s pasta are almost always served with a ragù, which is a thick sauce made from several ingredients, such as carrots, celery, finely chopped beef and pork, onions, tomatoes, and butter. This is especially the case in Bologna, its capital.
- 1 (16 ounces) container of ricotta cheese
- 1 and 1⁄2 quarts of spaghetti sauce (jar spaghetti sauce or your favorite homemade)
- 1⁄2 cup of grated carrot
- 6 cooked lasagna noodles
- 3 cups of shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese
- 1 (16 ounces) package of frozen chopped spinach (well drained and thawed)
- 2 eggs
- 1 and 1⁄2 cups of thinly sliced zucchini
- 1⁄2 teaspoon of oregano
- 1 cup of sliced fresh mushrooms
- 1⁄2 cup of grated parmesan cheese
- In the first step, mix together oregano, spaghetti sauce, and carrots. Now, mix together spinach, eggs, and Ricotta in a different bowl. In the next step, spread a half cup of spaghetti sauce in bottom of 9 x 13-inch baking dish. Next, layer 3 lasagna noodles, half Ricotta mixture, half sliced mushrooms, half remaining sauce, half of sliced zucchini, half of Parmesan, and half of Mozzarella. In the third step, repeat layers with the ingredients which have remained. At the end, bake in the oven at 350 degrees F, for about 45 minutes.