Nothing says classic Italian food quite like a heaping plate of saucy, cheesy lasagna. Lasagna is the perfect one-pan meal that tastes amazing and is relatively easy to make. The layered pasta dish was made popular in Naples, Italy, and can be dated back to the 14th century. For those who have never tried the iconic dish (or watched an episode of Garfield), a classic lasagna recipe consists of wide noodles that are stacked in a large baking dish with a meaty ragu and a cheesy béchamel sauce in between each layer. Three to five layers are typically added and baked until the sauce is bubbling and the cheese has melted and browned.
Contrary to what the lasagna-loving cartoon cat may have you believe, it's not recommended that you feed lasagna to your pets, no matter how many times they ask. For hungry humans, however, lasagna is a widely popular dish. It has, however, stirred up quite a bit of controversy over the years as foodies try to decide the answer to one important question: Is lasagna technically considered a casserole? While certain members of team no-casserole make valid points, spoiler alert -- the answer is yes -- and the reason why might surprise you.
First Decide On What Actually Makes Something A Casserole
You may not have thought that lasagna belongs in the same food family as a tater-tot casserole, but food classifications can be much more complex than flavor profiles. While lasagna may not share the same ingredients as what comes to mind when you picture a typical casserole, it is not only the type of food within the dish that defines it. Any one-dish meal that is cooked in the oven in a wide, deep dish (or, casserole dish) is by definition a casserole.
This proves that not just anything you toss into a casserole dish and bake can be considered a casserole. After all, you can bake large cakes, dips, and other things in a deep, oven-safe dish that wouldn't even remotely qualify as a casserole. (But, as mentioned, these are not one-dish meals.) So, by all accounts, lasagna fits perfectly into the category of casserole.
People Have Strong Opinions About Lasagna's Classification
The question about whether or not lasagna is a casserole has sparked some heated debate. People have shared many different opinions on Reddit, as some advocate for the classification of casserole while others outright refuse. A few jokesters even threw in the possibility that it might be cake, considering lasagna's many layers. The scope of this debate widens in the thread as others have inquired about whether or not lasagna can even be considered pasta.
Lasagna is made with wide noodles, and it isn't tossed in the sauce and then served in a bowl like spaghetti or penne alla vodka, for example. Does this then mean that pasta, also, is defined by how the dish is served and not the ingredients used? Not exactly. According to Brittanica, there are many ways to define a pasta dish, including the many shapes it may be formed into, as well as the "ability to retain heat or hold sauces." Lasagna does consist of wide, starchy noodles that both hold the sauce and retain heat. So we can only conclude that it is both a pasta dish and a casserole. Regardless of category -- it's always delicious.
Read the original article on Daily Meal.