A Taste Of History: How To Cook A 14th Century Lasagna Recipe
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If you're looking for a unique culinary experience, why not take a step back in time by trying a 14th-century lasagna recipe? Lasagna has been around since the Middle Ages and is believed to have originated in Italy. This ancient recipe is full of flavor, and with a few modern twists, you can create a dish that your friends and family will be sure to remember. Not only is it an enjoyable and comforting meal, but it is also a unique way to explore the rich history of Italian cooking. From the herbs and spices to the cooking techniques, every bite will transport you back to the 14th century.

So put on your apron and get ready to experience a delicious taste of history!

Overview of the 14th century

The 14th century was a time of great change and innovation in Italy. The Black Death halved the population and caused massive social upheaval and a shift in the economy. The decline of the feudal system and the rise of a wealthy merchant class also put an end to the traditional methods of cooking in Italy. These changes in Italian society may be reflected in the ingredients used for the lasagna recipe. These include spinach, ricotta cheese, and spices such as nutmeg and cinnamon.

The use of these ingredients may have been a direct result of the decline of feudalism and the rise of the merchant class. Spinach was an important crop in Italy because it could be grown during the fall and winter when other crops were not available. Ricotta, a type of cheese, became popular in Italy during this time too. Wealthy families bought whole cows and sheep and then had the local villagers make cheese from the leftover milk. These changes in Italian society also likely led to the cooking methods used to make the lasagna.

The Etruscans painted beautiful frescoes in the "Tomba dei Rilievi" (Tomb of Reliefs) in Lazio, near Rome, in the 4th century BC. These frescoes show banquets where people eat a version of lasagna made with the basic tools and ingredients for making pasta.

However, the first written recipe was found in the "Liber de Coquina" (aka Book of Cookery). One of the oldest middle-age cookbooks, it was written in the 14th century and bound with stitching. The manuscripts are preserved at the BibliothèqueNationale in Paris, France.

The dish eventually turned into what is now called "Lasagna di Carnevale," which is a classic Naples lasagna with layers of local sausage, fried meatballs, hard-boiled eggs, ricotta or mozzarella, and Neapolitan ragu.  

What ingredients were used in 14th-century lasagna?

There are many different recipes for lasagna, but the lasagna recipe from the 14th century is unlike any lasagna you’ve probably ever tried.

The ingredients used in this ancient dish include:

    Wheat flour  

    Ricotta cheese 


    Beef or fish

    Olive oil 




The wheat flour and olive oil would have been used to make the noodles. Ricotta cheese would have been mixed with honey to create the creamy filling. Spinach, a common plant with a rich and earthy taste, would have been used to add a vegetable to the dish. Fish, like anchovies, would have been added for flavor and texture. Cinnamon, native to Sri Lanka, would have been used as a spice to give the lasagna a sweet and pungent flavor. Nutmeg, native to Indonesia, would have been used for its sweet, pungent flavor. Honey, produced by bees, would have been used as a sweetener.

Traditional cooking techniques for 14th century lasagna

    First, the pasta was made by kneading together the flour, water, and olive oil.

    The dough was then rolled out and dried.

    Next, the noodles were boiled in a large cauldron, which was likely suspended over an open fire. Once the noodles were cooked, they were layered with cheese, spinach, and fish, then baked in the oven.

These cooking techniques would have been common in Italy at the time. Cooking over an open fire was a common method of cooking, especially during cold months when people needed a way to warm their homes. The lasagna was likely layered and placed in an oven to cook.

Some modern twists to the 14th-century lasagna recipe

1.    The first is to create a tomato sauce to be used as a topping, which can be made from scratch or from a can of tomato sauce.

2.    Top it with Parmesan cheese.

3.    The lasagna can be served with a side of garlic bread, a salad, or both!

4.    The lasagna can also be served with a glass of wine.

The lasagna recipe from the 14th century is a unique dish that transports you back in time. This dish would have been served at a banquet. Guests would be treated to an elaborate show and have their appetites thoroughly satisfied by this unique dish.

Variations within Italy  

Dried pasta sheets are layered with meat sauce (called ragù) and cheeses (typically ricotta and mozzarella) to create the traditional lasagna dish popular in the southern part of Italy. Fresh egg pasta colored green with spinach is used to make the most popular lasagna in the north, especially in Bologna. This lasagna is layered with meat sauce (ragu), cheese sauce (bechamel), and grated Parmesan cheese.