Among all the fake Italian dishes abroad, lasagne is surely the most distorted and furthest away from the authentic recipe. Therefore, it should be avoided at all costs.
Faux-Italian restaurant offer weird “chicken lasagne” and “vegetable lasagne” or “seafood lasagne” all of which are offered as authentic Italian recipes.
In Italian Restaurant abroad the mystification of this dish are countless because, if lasagne was prepared in accordance with the true recipe, its price would be astronomical. The preparation time would make it expensive, and not just the ingredients. This is a dish that would cost more than the average meal consisting of three courses.
Lasagne was already known in Etruscan times, as well as in Ancient Greece and in Imperial Rome. ‘Lasanum’ is the Latin word for a vase or a container.
The recipe remained just about unchanged until the gastronomic treatise by Francesco Zambrini in the XIV century. In this treatise Zambrini wrote down a recipe that prescribed that sheets of pasta should be made from wheat and eggs and then layered with cheese. We have found no historical confirmation with regard to the origins of Lasagne alla Bolognese, nor have we found confirmation of the dish as we know it today. The origins of the recipe were not even mentioned in the most important Italian gastronomic treatise by Artusi. In the recent past, the academy of Italian cuisine consulted gastronomy books, chefs and Bolognese families with regards to the development of the dish. Only then could it record the traditional recipe of Lasagne alla Bolognese at the Chamber of Commerce in Bologna.
The reputation of Lasagne alla Bolognese appears to come from Bolognese restauraunt owners and chefs who, at the beginning of the last century, perfected and made the recipe popular throughout the Emilia Romagna region. Afterwards, Paolo Monelli reported the recipe in his cuisine treatise “Il Ghiottone Errante” and it quickly became well-known all over Italy. As always, the recipe is subject to many variations among different provinces and cities. Actually, the original Lasagne alla Bolognese recipe is made with green sheets (spinach added to the dough), Bolognese ragu and béchamel.
In any case, one must consider that even in Italy this is not a restaurant dish, unless you are in Bologna or Emilia Romagna in a restaurant that specializes in this dish. Lasagne is absolutely and emphatically a homemade dish.
Drawn from Fettuccine Alfredo, Spaghetti Bolognaise & Caesar Salad by Maurizio Pelli.
For info: The Culinary Clinic by Maurizio Pelli.