Following on from Salad Days in May, the next date on the food calender which goes hand in hand with a pot made regularly here at Waun Hir Pottery is National Lasagne Day. Celebrated in the USA tomorrow July 29th. I love lasagne and cooked it for dinner tonight. I first made rectangular baking dishes while at college. I have always enjoyed making pots that are thrown on the potters’ wheel and then altered in shape. The lasagne dishes available in three sizes from the Ovenware section in the Kitchen Pottery shop employ this technique. The thrown wall is made without a base and altered into a rectangle which is then joined to a rolled slab base.
Lasagne refers to the flat pasta sheets which are used to prepare one of the most popular and tasty of all Italian dishes. There are three main theories as to the origin of lasagne, two state its origin as ancient Greek. The first claims that lasagne is derived from the Greek word ‘laganon‘ which is a thin sheet of pasta dough cut into strips. The second claims the origin is derived from the Greek word ‘lasanon‘ which means trivet. The Romans borrowed this word as ‘lasanum’ meaning cooking pot in Latin. The Italians used the word lasagne to refer to the cooking pot used to bake the meal, later the name of the food took on the name of the dish used to serve it.
The third suggestion is that the dish was evolved from Loseyn a 14th century English recipe popular during the reign of Richard 2nd. There are similarities with modern lasagne not only in the name but also in the use of ingredients layered between sheets of pasta. There is one main difference though and that is the lack of tomatoes as these were not available in Europe until after Columbus reached America in 1492. Consequently today’s pasta dishes employing a tomato sauce can only have been developed since the 15th century.
Whatever the full history is will always remain uncertain. This is really of secondary concern though. More important is what we recognise as lasagne today. So why not bake up your favourite lasagne recipe (ideally in your favourite hand thrown baking dish), invite family or friends to your table, open up a bottle of red wine and tuck in!