Layers of Tradition: The Story and Recipe of Classic Italian Lasagna

Lasagna, a renowned Italian dish with a rich culinary heritage, has roots deeply embedded in Italy’s diverse regions. It traces its origins back to ancient Rome, where a dish called “lasanum” was crafted, consisting of layered sheets of pasta intermingled with various ingredients.

Over the centuries, lasagna underwent transformations across Italy’s diverse regions, with each area contributing its unique spin to the dish. In Emilia-Romagna, for instance, lasagna often features a luxurious béchamel sauce.

Today, lasagna stands as a global culinary icon, cherished for its comforting layers and adaptability. Whether served as a traditional recipe or innovatively reinvented, lasagna remains a beloved favorite, perpetuating its legacy through generations

Lasagna has been a topic of discussion since Roman times. The Greek term “laganon” and the Latin “laganum” referred to square or rectangular sheets, made from a dough of wheat flour, baked or cooked over a fire, and filled with meat.
In the 14th century, cheese made its debut in lasagna recipes, particularly in Naples. Later, in 1881, Neapolitans introduced tomatoes to lasagna recipes as well.

Emilia-Romagna, known for its culinary prowess, has perfected its version of lasagna, characterized by luxurious layers of pasta, rich ragù sauce, and decadent béchamel.

Classic Lasagna Recipe (Emilia-Romagna Style) for 6 people:

For the Ragù:

  • 300g Ground Beef
  • 150g Pancetta
  • 50g Carrots
  • 50g Celery
  • 50g Golden Onions
  • 100g Red Wine
  • 300g Tomato Sause (Passata)
  • Vegetable Broth, as needed
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • Salt, to taste
  • Black Pepper, to taste
  • grated cheese

For the Béchamel Sauce:

  • 70g Butter
  • 2 tablespoons All-Purpose Flour
  • 500ml Milk
  • Salt, to taste
  • Nutmeg, to taste

For the Lasagna Sheets:

  • 400g “00” Flour
  • 2 Eggs
  • 250g Spinach (for the Emilia-Romagna-style lasagna)


  1. Preparing the Ragù: Dice and then finely chop the pancetta. Sauté it in a saucepan until golden. Add three tablespoons of olive oil or 50g of butter, along with celery, carrot, and onion, and cook until softened. Then add the ground beef and brown. Deglaze with wine and cook until evaporated. Add the tomato passata, cover, and simmer gently for about two hours, adding broth if necessary. Towards the end, add milk to reduce the acidity of the tomato and adjust seasoning with salt and pepper.
  2. Making the Pasta Sheets: Knead together the flour, eggs, and boiled spinach passed through a sieve. Roll out the dough into thin sheets, cut them into wide squares, boil them, and then dry them on a cloth.
  3. Preparing the Béchamel Sauce: Melt butter in a saucepan over low heat. Stir in sifted flour and whisk until smooth. Cook until golden, then add milk, salt, and nutmeg.
  4. Assembling the Lasagna: Butter a baking dish and layer the pasta sheets with ragù, béchamel, and grated cheese. Repeat layers until ingredients are used up. Top the final layer with béchamel sauce and butter flakes.
  5. Baking: Bake it at 160°C for about thirty minutes until the top is golden brown.
  6. Serving: Once baked, remove from the oven and serve hot, savoring the rich flavors and comforting layers of this classic Emilia-Romagna-style lasagna.

Check out this video and enjoy your meal! Buon appetito!

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