Lasagna is one of the oldest forms of pasta recorded. It probably corresponds to the Latin "Lagana" (which in turn was derived from the Greek "laganon": large, flat sheet of pasta cut into strips) and it began to be known as "Lasagna" probably after the year 1000 AD. The first traces of the widespread use of the term "Lasagna" can be found in the works of the most renowned 12th century Italian poets. "Granel di pepe vince / per virtù la lasagna", (a peppercorn beats lasagna for virtue) states Jacopone da Todi. Cecco Angiolieri,on the other hand, warns his readers, "chi de l'altrui farina fa lasagne / il su' castello non ha ne muro ne fosso" (He who makes lasagna with another's flour / his castle will have no walls or moat).
It has long been one of the most well-known and popular types of pasta in Italian cooking, and the simplest and most commonly used recipe calls for a ragù, béchamel and parmesan, although mozzarella has also been introduced more recently.
Delicious "white" versions are also quite commonplace with sauces made from mushrooms and vegetables.
Available in 500g packs.
Penne Mezzane Rigate belong to the family of Penne, but differ in diameter as they are slightly smaller.
In Italian, the term "Penne" refers to the goose feather which was used historically to write with and was cut on a diagonal to achieve a really thin tip. The shape, obtained from a pasta tube, can be smooth or ridged, of varying length and has the typical diagonal cut of a quill.
Penne are one of the few types of pasta for which there is an exact date when it was created. Indeed, in 1865, a pasta-maker from San Martino d'Albaro (Genoa), Giovanni Battista Capurro, requested and obtained a patent for a diagonal cutting machine. The patent was important because it meant the fresh pasta could be cut like a quill without crushing it and in different lengths from 3 to 5 centimetres (mezze "half" penne or penne). The document preserved in the Central Archive of the State of Rome reads: "Up until now, a diagonal cut could only be made by hand with a pair of scissors which, in addition to being slow and time-consuming, also resulted in an irregular cut which flattened the pasta".
Penne Mezzane Rigate are excellent for preparing pasta dishes with meat ragù made from beef or pork. They also adapt perfectly to sauces made from vegetables such as aubergines, peppers, courgettes and artichokes or to more extravagant recipes with salmon or vodka.
Available in 500g packs.