LasagneHow lucky am I…my mom came to visit bearing gifts, my favorite, homemade Lasagna Verde, for my birthday.  Thanks for a wonderful birthday dinner, Mom!  If you haven’t tried Lasagna Verde, a specialty from Bologna, try it, you’ll never look at lasagna quite the same way again.  I know my mom made everything from scratch, and it must have taken her a full day to make one pan of lasagna.  Her efforts were not wasted; I had two helpings and am about to devour another slice, for breakfast.

The History of lasagna is a little confusing.  According to Wikipedia, there are a few theories, but know it comes from one of these Greek words, either “laganon, a flat sheet of pasta dough cut into strips or “lasanon” meaning chamber pot.  The Romans supposedly borrowed the word as “lasanum” meaning cooking pot in Latin.  The Italians used the word to refer to the dish in which the lasagna is made.

There are a few types of lasagna – Greeks have Pastitsio, made with eggplant, meat, and white sauce.  Southern Italians enjoy their lasagna with tomato sauce, ricotta cheese and lots of mozzarella cheese; some add mini meatballs, sausage and even sliced hard boiled eggs.  While Northern Italians enjoy Lasagna Verde made from spinach pasta dough, incorporating béchamel sauce, nutmeg, Bolognese ragout sauce, fresh ricotta, mozzarella and Parmigiano Reggiano; this has the most steps and takes the longest to make.  If you eat a gluten free diet, you can substitute pasta with thin sliced vegetables like eggplant or zucchini and fill the layers with tomato sauce and cheese.

One of my favorite quick lasagna recipes comes from my dear friend, Lauren, who is part of our Gourmet Group.  In a lasagna/casserole pan add cooked mafalda, radiator, fusili or rotini shaped pasta, tomato sauce (fresh or jarred), fresh ricotta cheese, shredded mozzarella, mix thoroughly, sprinkle with Parmiggiano Reggiano place in a 350 degree oven and bake until cheese is melted and golden brown on top, serve with a mixed salad.

Did that put you in the mood to make mouthwatering lasagna for dinner?  During Chef Jacquie’s culinary tour of the Philadelphia Italian Market, you can buy all the fresh ingredients you need, like fresh homemade cheeses, pasta and spices to make the best lasagna ever!!!

To sign up for a culinary tour of the Philadelphia Italian Market, please call Chef Jacquie at (610) 506-6120.