Lasagne (Lasagne) - a typical dish of Italian cuisine from the series "at everyone's hearing." But not everyone realizes that this is not a layer of puffed meat pie or casserole, but one of the many varieties of pasta in the republic.
It is believed to be the oldest type of pasta. Over the long period of life of baked pasta in the southern regions of Italy, several traditional versions of food have developed. The northern regions almost universally accepted only one option for classics - Bolognese (alla bolognese). Like every popular woman, a lady named Lasagna has its own zest and little secrets, which we will tell about now.
Lasagna recipe was already known in the Roman Empire.
The terms "laganon" and "laganum" denoted a thin sheet of dough based on wheat flour, which was prepared in the oven or on an open fire.
In the Apicio recipe book, this dough is used to create a dish called "lagana". In it, wheat leaves are separated by layers of minced meat.
In the Middle Ages, Lasagna recipes took shape and were already so widespread that numerous writers (Jacopone da Todi, Cecco Angolieri, etc.) mentioned it in their works. One cannot say with certainty that the dish of those years was 100% similar to the modern version. They even suggest that it looked more like gnocchi.
Renaissance is the heyday of Italian pasta. It was at the end of the XVII century that the recipe of the lasagna alla bolognese that has survived to this day was released. And in 1881, in the book "Prince of Cooks", published in Naples, the first use of tomatoes in the composition of the dish is supposed.
Over time, there were more and more interpretations of the growing popularity of food. From solemn banquets, lasagna smoothly passed to the dining tables of all Italian houses.
Varieties by region
Although today there are many regional varieties of lasagna, they can be divided into 2 traditions:
- More ancient, related to the center and south of Italy.
- Recipes of the northern flat territory of the republic.
We’ll take a closer look at what food options are preferred in different areas of the country.
The most common recipe in northern Italy involves the use of pasta with egg base. In Emilia-Romagna, a mixture of pork and beef is used as minced meat. Required ingredients: Bolognese sauce, Bechamel sauce and Parmesan cheese. In other regions of the northern part of the republic, the term "lasagne" is often used for egg pasta in the form of wide (about 2 cm) and long stripes. Such pasta is eaten on its own or added to minestrone soup.
In the tradition of the northern regions, there is a variant of green lasagna. Spinach is added to the dough for such a paste. There is also a version with a layer based on mushrooms, although more often it catches your eye in the central regions of the country.
In the Veneto area, a variety with red chicory is preferred over meat sauce. This recipe often uses several types of cheese.
Puglia and Basilicata
The classical interpretation of lasagna characteristic of Puglia and Basilicata differs from all other species in the absence of eggs in the dough. The dish is called sagne (lasagne) ncannulate. I twist the pasta strips by hand in the form of female curls. To get them, it seems that the dough is wrapped around a rigid frame (curlers). In fact, masters form curls without using any devices.
Lasagne ncannulate is boiled in water, not baked. Serve it with seasoning with tomato sauce, ricotta and basil.
In the Campania (Campania) is very popular Neapolitan version of the dish, which was originally created for the luxurious cuisine of rich courtyards. Now she plays a fundamental role during Easter celebrations and Carnival. It is no exaggeration to say that these days every family cooks lasagna at least 1 time. The recipe involves the use of tomato sauce, boiled eggs, mozzarella, meatballs and ricotta.
Marche and Umbria
A dish resembling lasagna is common in Marche and parts of Umbria. It is called vincisgrassi. Unlike the famous “sister”, they do not use minced meat, but roughly chopped meat with the addition of chicken offal and a lot of spices (cloves, nutmeg). The oldest truffle recipes. Not always, but it happens that the dough is prepared on the basis of wine.
Molise and Abruzzo
In the regions of Molise and Abruzzi, the version with the name "sagne a pezzate" is considered the traditional way to make lasagna. The pasta is cut into small squares and cooked. For serving use tomato sauce, basil, garlic, olive oil and grated cheese. There are options with asparagus, fresh beans, pancetta.
Castiglione Messer Marino has an interesting custom. Boiled lasagna is called sagne a lu cuttor there. It is enriched with meat, sausages, pork belly, liver, chili pepper and eaten with bare hands directly from copper boilers.
The version of lasagna living in Sicilian cuisine is closest to the Neapolitan version. Enrich the recipe with the introduction of boiled eggs, fried meat, vegetables (eggplant, carrots, celery), semi-hard cheeses. In Naples, this kind of dish is called lasagna riccia.
- We recommend reading about: sicilian sweets
Like many dishes with a long history, lasagna overgrown with a lot of interesting facts:
- July 29 - National Lasagna Day in Italy.
- In the republic, the term "lasagna" in relation to paste has a plural and implies more than one strip of dough.
- Traditionally, in the south of the country, dough is made from water and semolina. In the northern regions, where semolina was not widely available, recipes with flour and eggs developed.
- Initially, the word Lasagne did not refer to the dish itself, but to the dishes in which it was cooked.
- The earliest recipe dates back to the time when tomatoes were not yet known to Europeans. Therefore, they were not used in the composition. However, today most of the classic versions are cooked with tomatoes or sauces based on them.
- Previously, it was necessary to boil all the pasta before baking multilayer lasagna. Now softening flour dough is achieved with a sufficient amount of sauce.
- The most famous lover of lasagna is the cat Garfield.
- Strange Al Yankovic ("Weird Al" Yankovic) recorded the song "Lasagna" - a parody of the hit "La Bamba".
Possible cooking errors
Despite the ease of execution, lasagna can still be ruined. We will give 5 most common mistakesto avoid in cooking:
- The use of a large number of layers of paste. This error is especially noticeable for semolina paste. Such a dish will be overdried. Therefore, cooks often recommend to beginners to cook lasagna with fresh dough.
- Inadequate lubrication of the bottom and walls of the mold with oil. Thoroughly lubricating the mold is necessary to avoid the paste sticking to its surface. Crispy edges and base are especially appreciated by lovers of lasagna. A great option is to sprinkle the form with a thin layer of breadcrumbs on top of the fat film.
- Excess sauce in the filling. It leads to a lack of slight crunch. Such a dish is more like a thick soup.
- Use of dry semolina paste. Unlike flour base, semolina paste should be slightly boiled to the state of "al dente", and then baked with the filling.
- The absence of a crust on the surface. It is rather a mistake in culinary aesthetics. To get a beautiful crust, sprinkle lasagna with grated cheese and, for 3-4 minutes before cooking, the dishes include the grill function.
A wide variety of recipes can not be placed in one article. Therefore, we will present to your attention a classic recipe for lasagna with minced meat - alla bolognese. In the republic, it is believed that every housewife should be able to prepare a Bologna version of the dish.
Lasagna alla Bolognese
The Bolognese version is the most common version of lasagna with minced meat both in Italy and abroad. The main criterion for its preparation is the selection of components. Minced meat must be mixed: pork and beef, and tomatoes - aromatic, so that their taste can be clearly traced.
The shelves of modern shops are full of pasta for cooking lasagna. But it is much more pleasant and reliable to roll out the dough yourself. Moreover, the process is not very difficult.
The components necessary for the paste:
- Flour - 350-400 g;
- Spinach (peeled and washed) - 400 g;
- Eggs - 3 pcs.
First, boil the spinach in a small amount of slightly salted water until softened. We drain, rinse under a stream of cold water and leave until the liquid drains completely. If necessary, spinach can be slightly squeezed through cheesecloth.
Beat leaves in mashed potatoes and combine in a bowl with flour and eggs. Knead the elastic dough. Wrap it with cling film and leave it for 1 hour at room temperature.
Divide the dough into parts, roll out a rolling pin to a thickness of 1 mm. Cut a rectangle to the size of its shape for the preparation of lasagna.
Components for the filling:
- Minced pork - 250 g;
- Ground beef - 500 g;
- Tomato puree - 250 g;
- Carrots - 50 g;
- Onion - 50 g;
- Celery - 50 g;
- Milk - 40 g;
- Olive oil - 1 tbsp. spoon;
- Dry white wine - 250 ml;
- Water - 3 L;
- Salt, black pepper - to taste.
We start by finely chopping celery, carrots and onions. Heat the oil in a pan and add vegetables to it. Stew on low heat for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. We add ground beef and pork and fry for 10 minutes.
When the meat dries significantly, add white wine and, stirring the mass, wait for its evaporation. Add tomato puree, a pinch of salt and 1 liter of water. After boiling, simmer over medium heat for about an hour.
Pour 1 liter of water and continue the procedure for another 1 hour. After the time has passed, add the last liter of liquid and repeat the quenching step for 60 minutes. At the end of cooking, the meat should be dense, but not too dry. Salt and pepper to taste. Turn off the fire, add milk, mix thoroughly and set aside for cooling.
Components for bechamel sauce:
- Milk - 1l;
- Butter - 100 g;
- Flour - 100 g;
- Nutmeg and salt - a pinch.
Now we are preparing the sauce. In one pan we heat the milk, in another - melt the butter. Remove the container with liquid oil from the fire and gradually add the sifted flour. We work energetically with a whisk to get mass without lumps. Again, send the pan to the fire and lightly fry.
When the milk becomes hot, season it with salt and nutmeg and pour into the butter-flour mixture. Working with a whisk, we wait for thickening under low heat (cook for 5-6 minutes until a creamy consistency). Ready-made bechamel sauce should be smooth and uniform.
The last stage is the assembly of lasagna. It will require another ingredient - 250 g of hard cheese grated on a coarse grater (ideally parmesan).
In a rectangular baking dish (30 * 20 cm), oiled, evenly distribute a small amount of bechamel sauce. Put a sheet of pasta and again fill it with a thin layer of sauce. We spread part of the filling and sprinkle with cheese.
We continue to lay out the layers in the order: pasta, bechamel sauce, meat filling, cheese (optimally - 3-4 repetitions). The upper floor of the "structure" is meat sprinkled with cheese.
Bake in a preheated oven to 200 degrees for 25 minutes. Lasagna readiness indicator - a light golden crust on the surface. We take it out of the oven, slightly cool and serve. It is best to combine a Bologna dish with red dry or young sparkling wines.
Calorie content and nutritional properties
Despite the apparent bulkiness of the composition, minced meat climbing is not at all a hypercaloric dish. Its nutritional value is only 277 kcal per 100 g of product. It consists of:
- Proteins - 12 g;
- Fats - 19 g;
- Carbohydrates - 15 g.
At the same time, one should not forget that animal components certainly carry cholesterol into the load. Therefore, people with excess weight should limit the consumption of Italian food.
Heat treatment at high temperatures destroys the vitamin composition, but retains the mineral. Beef, as a valuable source of iron, gives lasagna the status of a dish useful for patients with anemia. A fairly high sodium content narrows portions of the delicacy for those who suffer from excessive blood pressure.
Our ode of climbing has come to an end. Live enthusiastically, travel hearty, eat in moderation and remember: "The fashion for multi-layered clothing will pass in a couple of years, and the love of multi-layered climbing will last forever!"