LASAGNA, As is the case for many dishes of Italian cuisine whose origins go back in time, lasagna was quite different centuries ago from how it is today, evolving and acquiring several variations before being codified in the classic version of Bolognese cuisine.
The traditional lasagna alla bolognese is a first course consisting of layers of thin pasta dough made with flour, egg and spinach; between each layer are ragù sauce and béchamel. The top layer is lightly sprinkled with Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese; the preparation is then baked.
The term ‘lagana,’ already in use in Roman times, referred to square- or rectangular-shaped thin sheets obtained from a mixture of wheat flour, then baked or fire-cooked.
The practice of boiling mixtures of water and flour dates back to the Middle Ages; lasagna was one of the most popular formats. A famous quote from this time is by Fra’ Salimbene da Parma, who, in 1284, thus described a chubby friar eating lasagna: “I’ve never seen anyone stuffing himself on lasagna with cheese so pleasurably and so fully as him.” This hints at the introduction of cheese in the recipe. Egg would not be used in the dough until the Renaissance.
Tomato appeared in the recipe for the first time in the 1880s in Naples; while the use of layered lasagna in vogue today is due to Francesco Zambrini from Bologna, who introduced it in the 19th century.
The success and fatherhood of Bolognese lasagna is due to some Bologna-based restaurateurs who popularized the use of spinach in the dough at the beginning of the 20th century, and around the same time the use of ragù sauce, béchamel and grated Parmigiano.
As with any traditional dish, there are many recipes and variations of Bolognese lasagna, but the Accademia Italiana di Cucina (Italian Kitchen Academy), after careful analysis, has registered what can be considered the original and traditional recipe at the Chamber of Commerce of Bologna, and it consists exactly of the three main ingredients mentioned above: egg pasta dough with spinach, ragù sauce and béchamel.
Homemade layers of pasta, meat sauce, ricotta cheese and mozzarella cheese, baked to perfection