The Story of Lasagna

If you’re like us, you can eat lasagna all the time! A warm and cheesy lasagna dish is an ideal go-to meal for family gatherings and celebrations. When topped with grated fresh parmesan cheese and a glass of pinot noir, a regular lasagna dish on a Friday night is elevated to a gourmet meal fit for a king and queen. That’s exactly the kind of experience you’ll enjoy at Mi’talia, the best lasagna restaurant in Miami. When you’re here, you’ll want to try our Stone Oven Lasagna made with beef bolognese and paired with sourdough toast. But as much as we eat and love this Italian favorite, have you ever wondered who invented lasagna? 

What Does Lasagna Mean?

The origins of the word lasagne or lasagna can be traced back to Ancient Greece. What we know as lasagne or lasagna is derived from the word “laganon”, which was the first form of pasta. Laganon was a reference to flat sheets of pasta dough cut into thin strips. As you might expect, Laganon looked very different from what we know to be a typical lasagna dish today. It consisted of layers of pasta and sauce without traditional Italian ingredients. Ancient Rome was known to have a similar dish called “lasanum”, which is Latin for container or pot. Italians used this word to refer to the pot that the dish was served in. Eventually, the dish evolved and took on the same name. The origins of what we know as twisted macaroni came later. 

Lasagne is the plural word for one sheet of lasagna and is used regionally throughout Italy. Referencing lasagne or lasagna depends on whether you’re in the northern or southern regions of Italy. The plural form is mostly used in British English, while American English is known to use the singular version. 

What Does Lasagna Mean

The Savory History of Lasagna

When was lasagna invented? The Italian favorite of lasagne or lasagna that we all know and love originated in Italy in the city of Naples during the Middle Ages. One of the first references to modern-day lasagne can be found in a 14th-century English cookbook that highlighted a dish with layers of pasta without the tomatoes. Later, another reference was made to lasagne in an Italian cookbook in the 1880s that featured tomato sauce. 

The dish eventually evolved into the traditional lasagna of Naples called “Lasagna di Carnevale” made with local sausage, fried meatballs, hard-boiled eggs, ricotta or mozzarella, and Neapolitan Ragu. One of the most popular variations of this lasagna dish is called “Lasagna al Forno.” This variation originates from the Italian region of Emilia-Romagna and is made with ricotta or mozzarella, thick Ragu, bechamel sauce, wine, onion, oregano, and green sheets of pasta made with spinach. Lasagne’s history wouldn’t be complete without variety throughout the regions of Italy. Different areas may use different dough or sauces. The beautiful Italian region of Piedmont specializes in lasagna al Sangue, which translates to “bloody lasagne” due to the addition of blood from a slaughtered pig. 

Lasagna History of the Origin of Naples 

The Greeks are believed to have first settled in the area of Naples in 2BC and it is currently the third-largest city of Italy. Naples is also the capital city of Campania, one of the most populous areas in Italy. It eventually became the epicenter of culture for the Roman empire and played a key role as the capital of the Duchy of Naples and the Kingdom of Naples. Eventually, it became the center of the baroque period and an artistic renaissance sparked by the famed Italian painter Caravaggio. 

Why Eating a Lasagna Dish is Good For You

The person who invented lasagna could never have imagined how it would impact the world today and what nutritional value it contains. When discussing lasagna history, carbohydrates never tasted so good and this dish is packed full of them. Carbohydrates bring energy to your blood cells and help drive essential day to day bodily functions. Most of this energy comes directly from the noodles, with a small amount of coming from the sauce and any vegetables you add. Other nutrients from a lasagna dish include: 

  • Vitamins and minerals – Did you know that your favorite lasagna dish is packed with B vitamins? These nutrients are responsible for driving your body’s metabolism. The beef in the recipe gives your body the iron it needs to promote healthy blood circulation. You can easily add vitamins A and C by including zucchini and red pepper. Adding vegetables will increase your vitamin intake and make for a delicious lasagna dish. 
  • Proteins and fats – Lasagna is also an excellent source for dietary protein and fat. Proteins are broken down by your body into amino acids that are used to create and maintain healthy tissues. Each ounce of meat and cheese adds between 6 and 7 grams of protein. These components are a major source of saturated fat so you’ll want to be cautious when adding them. 

We know that lasagna is far from being considered a health food, but you can make healthy substitutions when making it at home. For example, instead of using white noodles, you can substitute whole wheat noodles that will help to stabilize your blood sugar levels. When making a lasagna dish with meat, try to substitute with 95% lean ground beef, turkey, or chicken and make sure to thoroughly drain off any excess fat. While we all love cheese, try to limit the use of mozzarella cheese to only a few sprinkles on the top or choose a low-fat cheese. To add the nutritional value, load your lasagna with plenty of vegetables to boost fiber, vitamins, and mineral intake. Before adding them to the dish, try pureeing them to improve the texture and adding them directly to your tomato sauce. This way, you’ll be able to reap the nutritional benefits of adding vegetables while not compromising taste or texture. 

Secrets to Making the Best Lasagna Dish at Home

While packing your lasagna with vegetables and lean meats adds nutritional value, using no-boil noodles will improve the taste. They are typically thinner than the dry noodles and absorb the tomato sauce well. Also, you won’t have to wait for the noodles to cook. Using pork sausage instead of ground beef for your tomato sauce will bring your pasta dish to a different level of satisfaction. You can choose to mix sweet and spicy sausage to enhance the flavor of the sauce. Instead of using grated mozzarella, add fresh mozzarella instead. You’ll notice that the rich diary flavor is tasty and the texture is smooth. 

If you’ve never thought about using eggs in a lasagna dish, now is a great time to try. When coupled with parmesan cheese and herbs, eggs round out the flavor and create a creamy texture filling that is mouth-watering. Lastly, when you’re adding vegetables, you’ll want to add the right ones that don’t turn soggy while baking. While this can be fixed by pureeing your vegetables before they are added to the sauce, you can also use spinach. Adding spinach is a great alternative to including vegetables and adding flavor. 

Secrets to Making the Best Lasagna Dish at Home

Order at Our Lasagna Restaurant in Miami Today

Bring the whole family and come in today to try our Stone Oven Lasagna dish made with love! While you’re here, you’ll also want to try our other fan-favorite dishes like Not Your Nona’s Bolognese, Mama’s Meatballs, and Bucatini Carbonara. All of these modern Italian favorites can be paired with a great spritzer or cocktail and sweet dessert. Our South Miami restaurant is conveniently located with outdoor patio seating available to enjoy sunsets. You can also enjoy modern Italian comfort food in your own home with our take out menu. Dine-in and make your reservations or book a private event with us. With so many options available, you’ll be able to satisfy your lasagna craving anytime with us. Just visit our website and place an order or book your reservation today!