Lasagna Recipes with a Non-Traditional Twist
If we know two things about Garfield it’s that he hates Mondays and loves lasagna. But, how do you make this rich Italian casserole? And, are there recipes beyond the traditional way? In today’s blog, we give the history of this pasta dish. Plus, ways to make it but with a twist!
A Traditional Lasagna
Lasagna is an Italian dish made of stack layers of thin flat pasta. In between lie alternating fillings such as:
- Ragù: Ground meats and tomato sauce.
- Other vegetables: Onions, zucchini, red bell pepper, etc.
- Cheese: Ricotta and parmesan.
- Seasoning and Spices: garlics, oregano, and basil.
Additionally, melted grated mozzarella cheese tops the dish.
Typically, the pasta is assembled with the other ingredients and then baked in the oven. Square-portions are cut from the casserole.
Did you know that the pasta in this dish is also called lasagna? More than one sheet is the plural lasagne.
Lasagna originates in Italy during the Middle Ages. Traditionally, the city of Naples is its home. The first recorded recipe comes from Liber de Coquina (The Book of Cookery) written in the early 14th century. It bears some similarity to the modern dish using:
- fermented dough flattened into sheets — recommended to be boiled in chicken broth and dressed in cheese and chicken fat
- boiled, sprinkled cheese and spices
It was then eaten with a small pointed stick.
Types of Traditional Lasagna
- di Carnevale (of the carnival): Layered with local sausage, small fried meatballs, hard-boiled eggs, ricotta, and mozzarella cheese. Then, sauced with a Neapolitan ragù.
- al forno (of the oven): Most commonly seen outside Italy, this dish layers with a thicker ragù and a Béchamel sauce. This is a traditional french sauce made from butter, flour, and milk. It includes salt and nutmeg as a seasoning base.
- di Bologna (of Bologna): This pasta is traditionally green (obtained by mixing spinach into the dough). It is served with ragù (made of onions, carrots, celery, ground pork and beef, butter, and tomatoes), béchamel and Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese.
What’s in a Name?
The dish translates roughly to ‘container’ or ‘pot’. Therefore, although there are traditional ways to cook this dish as long as the structure is intact it is still a lasagna.
With a Twist
Want to try your hand at a non-traditional lasagna? Check out these recipes!
- Rolls. Using the traditional recipe, this dish presents it with a twist! Cut cooked pasta into thinner strips. Place a ragù and cheese mix and on one end of the strip. Roll. Bread the rolls in flour, egg and breadcrumbs. Fry in vegetable oil then they’re ready to enjoy!
- Breakfast. We know start to deviate more away from traditional recipe. Cook together spinach, mushrooms, onions and garlic. Add in cream, salt, pepper and nutmeg. Transfer to a baking-dish (like you would use for lasagna). Make wells with in the the mixture — here you will crack an egg into each. Cook for about 30 minutes at 450 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Apple Pie. Same original layering idea, but this one is for those with a sweet tooth! Begin by layering a tray with Graham crackers. Next, add a layer of cream cheese batter made from creme cheese, brown sugar, cinnamon, cream, and vanilla extract. Then add the apple-pie filling of cooked apples and pie crust. Continue layering until batter is the last filling. Drizzle with caramel and serve!