Spotlight Series: All About Lasagna Pasta

Spotlight Series: All About Lasagna Pasta

Lasagna is a favorite pasta dish the world over with its enticing layers of pasta, sauce and cheese. But just what is lasagna pasta and how did it evolve into the comfort food MVP that it is today?

No boil lasagna pasta next to a sheet pan lasagna.

Lasagna noodles are a unique pasta with a long history. Easily distinguishable by their wide, flat shape, they are most often used to make the truly memorable dish of the same name. These flat sheets of pasta are rectangles with either straight or curly edges and they are typically sold dried. Keep reading to learn all about this beloved pasta and its long, delicious history.

DeLallo Lasagna Pasta: Fast Facts

  • Category: Wide, flat pasta
  • Meaning: Cooking pot
  • Cook Time: 7-9 minutes for dried
  • Place of Origin: Emilia-Romagna
  • Main Ingredients: Durum wheat, water
  • Alternative Names: Lasagne
  • Possible Substitutes: None

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What Is Lasagna Pasta?

Lasagna pasta is the key ingredient of one of Italy’s most iconic dishes of the same name, lasagna. The rectangular flat sheets of pasta create thin layers that are sandwiched between sauces, cheeses and fillings. The dish is then baked and then sliced into squares for serving. The noodles themselves come in a few different varieties at the grocery store: flat sheets, rectangles with curly edges (lasagna riccia) and no-bake, which are noodles that have been partially cooked and dried.

The Origin Of Lasagna And Its Brief History

Lasagna, a dish beloved the world over, has been around since at least the Middle Ages. One of the earliest mentions of lasagna is in Memoriali Bolognesi from 1282, and the earliest documented recipe appears in the 14th century in The Book of Cookery. The recipe is very different from the lasagna we know today (tomatoes hadn’t even arrived in Italy yet), but it did include thin sheets of boiled dough seasoned with cheese.

It is hard to trace the exact origin point of an ancient dish, and lasagna is no exception. While it is clear that the dish as we know it is Italian and it has been served in the country for hundreds of years, the name may have come from Ancient Greece, either originating from laganon (flat pasta dough cut into strips) or lasana (pot stand).

How Is Lasagna Pasta Made And What Is It Made Of?

Lasagna pasta is typically sold dried and is made of durum wheat semolina flour and water. The dough can also contain eggs, which is most common with fresh lasagna noodles. Homemade pasta dough is rolled out using a rolling pin or run through a pasta machine until a thin sheet is formed. It is then cut into large rectangles.

Factory-made lasagna noodles are typically extruded through dies to form rectangles with a flat or ruffled edge. The entire noodle can be ridged as well. The noodles are dried and packaged in boxes for store sales. No-boil noodles are briefly cooked and then dried, allowing home cooks to layer the dried pasta with sauces and fillings without boiling them first. The pasta finishes cooking in the oven.

How To Cook Lasagna Pasta

Dried lasagna pasta should be boiled before using in recipes. Bring a large pot of water to a boil and season with salt. Add the lasagna noodles, arranging them so they are fully submerged. As the noodles soften, give them a stir a few times to ensure they are separated. Dried lasagna noodles typically take 7 to 9 minutes to cook—you want the pasta to be al dente (cooked but with a yielding bite), since it will continue to cook in the oven. Drain before using.

If you’re not using the cooked lasagna noodles right away, we recommend laying out the noodles in a single layer on a damp tea towel and covering with another damp towel so they don’t dry out.

Fresh lasagna and no-boil noodles do not need to be cooked before using in your lasagna recipe. Make sure there is enough liquid in your sauce so that the noodles can soak it up as it bakes (most no-boil noodles recommend adding 1/2 cup of water to the sauce). Keep the dish covered with aluminum foil for most of the bake time.

Learn how to make the perfect lasagna here.

The Best Lasagna Pasta - The Delallo Difference

DeLallo pasta is made using high-quality durum wheat flour for the best al dente experience. Offering classic lasagna noodles as well as whole wheat, gluten-free and no-boil noodles, DeLallo has a lasagna noodle for every occasion.

Lasagna Recipes And Usage Ideas

Lasagna pasta is most commonly used to make the layered and baked dish, lasagna. There are countless variations of lasagna, from Three-Cheese Lasagna and meaty lasagna to Vegetable Lasagna and Wild Mushroom Lasagna. Chicken, pumpkin, and pizza lasagnas are just a few of the more creative takes on the dish that are popular in the U.S.

Lasagna can take on some creative forms, such as Lasagna Roll-ups, Sheet Pan Lasagna, and skillet lasagna. For a low-lift version of the pasta bake, make lasagna soup—no layering required.

For more lasagna recipe ideas, see our best lasagna recipes here.

The Best Sauces For Lasagna Pasta

Classic Italian lasagna is made with a simple tomato sauce or Bolognese sauce along with bèchamel sauce and any other fillings. Pesto is also common in some regions, as is ragu. American lasagna is often made with a meat sauce like bolognese or a marinara sauce along with various cheeses.

Lasagna Pasta Substitutes

Lasagna is a dish defined by its key ingredient, the lasagna pasta. They are so intertwined that they share a name. Therefore, there’s no perfect swap for lasagna noodles since no other store-bought pasta has the same wide, flat shape as lasagna. You can swap the lasagna noodles for a thin layer of pasta of your choice, such as penne or even macaroni, but this will transform the dish into a layered pasta bake. It will have a decidedly different texture than lasagna and likely won’t cut quite as neatly.

Lasagna lovers seeking a low-carb version of the dish sometimes swap the noodles for thin slices of zucchini or eggplant. Again, this changes the essential nature of the dish, turning it into something new.

Delallo Lasagna Pasta: FAQ

Is Lasagna Italian Or Greek?

While the word lasagna may be of Greek origins, the dish is decidedly Italian. It originated in Emilia-Romagna at least 800 years ago. Lasagna does bear some resemblance to pastitsio, a Greek dish made up of layers of cooked pasta, meat sauce, and bechamel. However, the flavors and configuration are decidedly different.

Do I Have To Use Lasagna Noodles For Lasagna?

If your goal is to make a classic lasagna and you find yourself all out of lasagna noodles, your best bet is to make a quick trip to the store and pick some up. There is no good substitute for lasagna noodles when making lasagna. That being said, other cooked pastas can be used in its place to make a pasta bake instead. Thinly sliced zucchini or other vegetables can also be used in place of the noodles for a different effect.

What Does “Lasagna” Mean?

The exact origins of the word lasagna are unclear, but it is believed to be named after the cooking vessel, loosely meaning “cooking pot.”

What Is The Shape Of Lasagna?

Lasagna is a flat sheet pasta cut into rectangles. The rectangles can be wide and completely flat, or they can be longer rectangles with a ruffled edge on the long sides. Some lasagna noodles have ridges running all the way down the noodles. These are supposed to help catch sauces and other ingredients as it bakes.

Lasagna Pasta Vs Lasagna Noodles - What Is The Difference?

Pasta is a type of food, a versatile class made up of countless shapes and sizes, from ziti to lasagna. The individual pieces of pasta are called noodles. Therefore, lasagna pasta and lasagna noodles are one in the same.

Lasagna Pasta Vs Lasagna Sheets - What Is The Difference?

Lasagna is a sheet pasta, made up of flat, thin rectangles of dough. For this reason, individual pieces of lasagna are sometimes called sheets. Whether a recipe calls for lasagna noodles or sheets, it means the same thing: individual lasagna pasta.

Where To Buy Delallo Lasagna

Order DeLallo Lasagna online or find it at most major supermarkets across the country.