Interesting facts about lasagna

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Lasagna is a culinary dish made with stacked layers of pasta alternated with sauces and ingredients such as meats, vegetables and cheese, and sometimes topped with melted grated mozzarella cheese.

It is made with a type of wide, flat pasta, possibly one of the oldest types of pasta.

Traditionally, pasta dough prepared in Southern Italy used semolina and water; in the northern regions, where semolina was not available, flour and eggs were used. In modern Italy, since the only type of wheat allowed for commercially sold pasta is durum wheat, commercial lasagne are made of semolina from durum wheat.

Typically, the cooked pasta is assembled with the other ingredients and then baked in an oven.

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Lasagna originated in Italy during the Middle Ages and have traditionally been ascribed to the city of Naples.

The first recorded recipe was set down in the early 14th-century Liber de Coquina (The Book of Cookery). This recipe was later evolved into the traditional lasagna of Naples ‘lasagne di carnevale’ which is layered with local sausage, small fried meatballs, hard-boiled eggs, ricotta or mozzarella cheese and Neapolitan Ragù.

However, what could be considered as the most well-known variation in the world traces back to the Italian region of Emilia-Romagna and is referred to as ‘Lasagne al Forno’. This name refers to the familiar layered dish made with a thick ragù and bechamel sauce, ricotta or mozzarella cheese, typically flavored with wine, onion, and oregano.

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In the northern Italian region of Emilia-Romagna, and especially in its capital, Bologna, layers of lasagne are traditionally green – the color is obtained by mixing spinach or other vegetables in the dough.

Lasagna or Lasagne?

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 baked pasta dish.

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Regional usage in Italy, when referring to the baked dish, favours the plural form lasagne in the north of the country and the singular lasagna in the south.

The plural usage has influenced the usual spelling found in British English, while the southern Italian, singular usage has influenced the spelling often used in American English.

The largest lasagne is 4,865 kg (10,725 lb 7 oz) and was created by Magillo Restaurant and Macro Supermarket (both Poland), in Wieliczka, Poland, on 20 June 2012. The attempt was made during the 2012 UEFA European Football Championship in Poland and was made in the city where the national Italian team were staying. Around 5,000 people attended the making of the lasagne. Makro supermarket supported the attempt.

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The most expensive lasagna in the world is served in Las Vegas in Portofino at the Mirage. It is the “Diamond and Gold” lasagna for $100 a slice. The lasagna is made of the layers of pasta stuffed with porcini mushrooms, Iberico ham and Prosciutto di Parma as well as 24-month-aged Parmigiano-Reggiano, buffalo mozzarella and Kobe Bolognese spread between each layer. A “foiefredo” sauce — an Alfredo sauce infused with foie gras — tops the dish. On top, White Diamond truffles shaved table side and for kicks and giggles, 23-karat gold flakes.

The comic strip Garfield’s titular character is a big fan of lasagna. Garfield has a long love affair with this perfect package of pasta, cheese, and marinara.  From the moment of his birth in Mama Leone’s Italian kitchen to today, Garfield has never met a lasagna he didn’t like.

In the United States, July 29th is celebrated as National Lasagna Day.

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