Hi Everyone. Wish you all a very Happy HOLI.
Italian food is very diverse, as Italy is a country of changing climates and landscapes, so every region has a it’s own particular dish. The Northern Italy with it’s fertile plains, mountains and lakes produces good quality wines and dairy foods in contrast to that the sunnier, rockier south is the home to olive trees, tomatoes and fresh herbs.
Surely there are regional differences in the cuisine and the reason for this culinary fragmentation is simple: With the exception of the nobility and the clergy, before WWII most Italians simply didn't travel, and as a result every town and every valley has something unique. Neighboring towns and valleys will also share techniques, or recipes, albeit with individualistic twists, but from one end of a region to the other the picture can change completely. But they do have certain features in common ..the ingredients are fresh, the techniques simple, the recipes are traditional and the cooking home style.
Some regions of Italy are Piedmont which means ‘at the foot of the mountain’ and is the area bordering on both France and Switzerland. Liguria often called the ‘Italian Riveria’, this region is rich in natural resources and has abundance of herbs, vegetables, fruits and olives. I will surely talk about other regions in my next posts on Italian cooking…
Lasagne originated in the Emilia-Romagna region of north central Italy where authentic egg pasta was born. The wide flat sheets of pasta originally made by the Romans were called lasagne. Although the dish is generally believed to have originated in Italy, one theory is that the word "lasagna" comes from the Greek ‘lasana’ or ‘lasananon’ meaning ‘trivet or stand for a pot’.The Romans borrowed the word as "lasanum", in Latin, meaning "cooking pot". The Italians used the word to refer to the dish in which lasagna is made. It wasn't long before the name of the food took on the name of the serving dish.
Coming to the preparation this recipe asks for colourful alternate layers of pasta covered with eggplant and zucchini, softened and creamed by the tomato- ricotta sauce. It’s a very filling preparation with rich aromatic flavors of the fresh herbs used in the preparation. The rich baked dish is topped with mozzarella cheese and baked until golden brown. This recipe can be prepared upto 24 hrs in advance and kept in refrigerator until needed.
6 Lasagne sheets
2 onions finely chopped
5 large tomatoes chopped
6-7 garlic finely chopped
1 zucchini sliced
1 large eggplant sliced
2 tbsp red chili flakes
200 gm ricotta cheese
2-3 tbsp chopped celery
1 –2 tbsp chopped oregano
salt to taste
black pepper crushed
olive oil and some butter
Cook Lasagne as per the instructions given.
Use olive oil and saute the Zucchini and eggplant separately with some salt and pepper till they are almost cooked.
Heat some butter and tip in the chopped garlic and onions, saute and add the tomatoes. Add salt, when the tomatoes are mushy tip in the herbs, red chili flakes, some freshly ground pepper and ricotta cheese. Let this sauce have a loose texture but surely not watery.
Grease a baking dish and spread three sheets of Lasagne, this needs to be done very carefully if the sheets are precooked as they turn fragile and break easily on lifting.
Now, spread a layer of Zucchini followed by eggplant slices pour half of the tomato- ricotta sauce. Repeat the layers again.
Top it with grated mozzarella and bake in a preheated oven at 180 C for 25 mins or more till the cheese melts and turns golden brown.Pasta Party at Panch Pakwan and also to Cooking with Pasta an event hosted by creative Saga.