AskDefine | Define lasagna

Dictionary Definition

lasagna

Noun

1 baked dish of layers of lasagna pasta with sauce and cheese and meat or vegetables [syn: lasagne]
2 very wide flat strips of pasta [syn: lasagne]

User Contributed Dictionary

English

Alternative spellings

Etymology

From lasagna, lasagne, from Latin lasanun, cooking pot < λάσανον, pl. λάσανα

Pronunciation

  • (Canada) /ləˈzɑnjə/

Noun

lasagna, plural lasagnas or lasagne
  1. flat sheet of pasta
  2. an Italian baked dish comprising layers of (1) with (usually) bolognese and bechamel sauce

Usage notes

In Italian, lasagna refers to one sheet of pasta and lasagne (the plural of lasagna) refers to the dish with several layers. This distinction is rarely observed in English.

Translations

Italian

Noun

lasagna (plural lasagne)
  1. a flat sheet of pasta

Extensive Definition

Lasagna (singular, in Italian; plural lasagne pronounced [laˈzaɲe]) is both a form of pasta in sheets (sometimes rippled, though seldom so in Italy) and also a dish, sometimes named lasagne al forno (meaning "oven-cooked lasagne") made with alternate layers of pasta, cheese, and often ragù (a meat sauce) or tomato sauce.
The word lasagna, which originally applied to a cooking pot, now simply describes the food itself. Most English-speaking people follow the Italian usage and use the plural "lasagne" to refer to both the dish and the pasta, but Americans commonly use the singular "lasagna". For example, "Weird Al" Yankovic (an American singer and songwriter) used this spelling for his song "Lasagna", which is as a parody of "La Bamba".

Variants

Various recipes call for several kinds of cheese, most often ricotta and mozzarella. The classic Lasagne alla Bolognese uses only Parmigiano Reggiano. Many recipes also add béchamel sauce (besciamella).
A variant is Lasagne verde (green lasagne) which is the normal egg pasta with spinach added. Other variations include vegetarian or seafood versions of the dish. This concept is acknowledged by the writers of the Seinfeld episode called "The Butter Shave", in which "Vegetable Lasagna" was the nickname given by Elaine Benes to the airline passenger next to her.
Łazanki is a similar dish made in eastern Europe.

Origin

Although the dish is generally believed to have originated in Italy, the word "lasagna" is derived from the Greek word λάσανα (lasana) or λάσανον (lasanon) meaning "trivet or stand for a pot", "chamber pot". The word was later borrowed by the Romans as "lasanum" to mean cooking pot. The Italians then used the word to refer to the dish in which what is now known as lasagne is made. Another theory suggests that lasagna might have come from Greek λάγανον (laganon), a kind of flat sheet of pasta dough cut into stripes.
The recipe was featured in the first cookbook ever written in England, leading to an urban legend that the dish originated in the British Isles. The claim is dubious, due to the much earlier Roman use of "lasanum", and the Italian embassy in London particularly speaks out against such theories.

References

lasagna in Samogitian: Lazanėjė
lasagna in Czech: Lasagne
lasagna in Danish: Lasagne
lasagna in German: Lasagne
lasagna in Esperanto: Lasanjoj
lasagna in Spanish: Lasaña
lasagna in Finnish: Lasagne
lasagna in French: Lasagne
lasagna in Hebrew: לזניה
lasagna in Indonesian: Lasagna
lasagna in Italian: Lasagne al forno
lasagna in Japanese: ラザニア
lasagna in Dutch: Lasagne
lasagna in Norwegian: Lasagne
lasagna in Polish: Lasagne
lasagna in Portuguese: Lasanha
lasagna in Russian: Лазанья
lasagna in Swedish: Lasagne
lasagna in Chinese: 千層麵
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