When you think of the perfect Italian comfort food, what’s the first thing that comes to mind? If you’re anything like us, you’re thinking of lasagna. Now, we know that you don’t need an excuse to have lasagna, but it’s nice to have one, anyway. Lasagna lovers will be happy to know that July 29th is National Lasagna Day! So we think you’ll understand why Amherst restaurants, especially PastAmore, are eager to celebrate. But how much do you know about this delicious layered dish?
Let’s take a look at the origin of this classic Italian comfort food before you head out to your favorite Amherst restaurants to get some!
From Greece to Rome
In the United States, we usually associate lasagna with the Italian immigrants who arrive here in the 1800s. But lasagna actually dates from ancient times. The ancient Greeks ate a layered dish of fermented noodles and sauce. The fermented noodles were called laganon and that might be where the name came from. We don’t know that for sure, however, and the version of the food the Greeks ate only resembles today’s lasagna in its layers of pasta and sauce.
For the version of lasagna that we know and love today, we can thank the Romans. When the Romans occupied Greece around 140 BC, they embraced the local customs and spread them throughout the Roman Empire. That brought lasagna to Italy where it continued to develop. Despite its ancient origins, we wouldn’t recognize lasagna until chefs in Naples started to make it in the Middle Ages. Lasagna continued to travel and one of the first written recipes we have of it appeared in an English cookbook from the 14th century.
Lasagna Comes to America
Today, the essential ingredients of lasagna are noodles, cheese, and tomato sauce. So you will be surprised to learn that tomatoes didn’t become a staple of the recipe until the 1800s. The earliest recipe that includes tomatoes comes from Naples and dates from 1880. Around the same time, Italian immigrants were flooding America and bringing their family recipes with them. These recipes naturally included lasagna and all of America soon fell in love with the delicious layers of pasta, sauce, and cheese.
Enjoy Lasagna at Amherst Restaurants
If all this history is making you hungry, it’s time to head out to Amherst restaurants in search of lasagna! And that means that it’s time to head over to PastAmore. Come visit us and celebrate National Lasagna Day or enjoy any of our other delicious dishes.