Lasagna Didn't Originate In The Country You Probably Think It Did

Lasagna equals comfort food. Garfield can agree. Whether baked with meat, tomato sauce, cheese, and béchamel or made in any number of delicious ways, this dish has become the perfect meal for ... any occasion? America has made lasagna an everyday dish. You can find it as a lunch or dinner option in just about any Italian or American restaurant, or even buy it frozen at your local supermarket.

But what type of lasagna do we mean when we talk about this ubiquitous meal? Probably alla bolognese (essentially, "with meat"), the Italian way. But this is where confusion appears, as people tend to think lasagna is from Italy. Yes, the Italians were the ones that brought the dish to North America in the early 1900s (via The Washington Post). For that reason, the word that became popular to refer to the creamy, cheesy dish was "lasagna" from the Italian dictionary. However, the dish didn't originate in the boot-shaped country as many foodies may think. 

Lasagna actually takes us to another European country, where it was originally called laganon.

Lasagna originated in Greece, not Italy

According to Saveur, the earliest lasagna (though it would be unrecognizable today) originated in Ancient Greece. In fact, the word lasagna comes from the Greek laganon, which refers to stripped pasta dough and is known as the first form of pasta in history. Through Roman conquerors, it arrived in Italy, and from there, it finally landed in the U.S. in the hands of Italian immigrants (via The Washington Post).

Since then, many cooks have looked for ways to find the simplest and best-tasting variation. The lasagna recipes we see in American cookbooks or food sites are based on the Italian lasagna alla bolognese. But even in Ancient Greece, the concept had many of the same features: This dish was layered and baked. People today, however, usually refer to "Greek lasagna" as pastitsio, another creamy and cheesy pasta dish made with noodles like penne instead of lasagna noodles (via The Spruce Eats).

Now that you understand much more about what lands on your plate, continue enjoying and craving this ooey-gooey dish — courtesy of both Italy and Greece.