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Oxford Companion to Food

Oxford Companion to Food

By Alan Davidson

Published 2014

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Lasagne probably one of the earliest forms of pasta, is listed with other forms of the same sort in pasta shapes. It consists of fairly thin flat sheets of pasta, typically interleaved with a savoury mixture and baked in the oven (al forno).

Some believe that its remote ancestor was the classical Greek laganon; this was a flat cake, not pasta as we know it now, but capable of developing in that direction. In classical Rome laganon became lagamum and this this was cut into strips and became known as lagana (plural). Cicero (1st century ad) was known to have been particularly fond of lagani. So was the Roman poet Horace, of the same century. He cited them as an example of simple peasant’s food while boasting of his simple way of life. ‘Then I go home to a dish of leeks, chickpeas and lagani,’ said he (Satires 1. 6).