From ancient "Laganon" to vegan lasagna
In today Greece, this word is still used to mean a flat thin type of unleavened bread.
The Romans also developed a type of food that was called "lasagnum". It seems that the name refers to the pot where this food were baked. "lasagnum" were layers of pasta-like-food with other fillings in-between.
According to historicians, the first written recipe of lasagna is given in Apicius' De Re Coquinaria, a collection of recipes of the last period of the Roman Empire. Like today's lasagna, it is a lasagne-like dish of layered meats and pancakes.
Lasagna spred throughout all western Europe during the Middle Ages. Recipes of dishes like lasagna started to appear in Aragona, France, England, and naturally Italy, since the beginning of XI/XII centuries. Naturally lasagna were slightly different from today, as there were not tomatoes. Cheese, fish, meat, vegetables was commonly utilised instead of Bechamel and Bolognese. Lasagna was usually made in occasion of religious and civil festivities.
An example of this lasagna made of layer of pasta and cheese is given in Latini's work "Lo scalco alla modernità(1694)". Giuseppe Lamma, great chef in Bologna during the 17th century, published a recipe of "lasagne" and mentioned both the version with cheese and the version with meat.
It is unknown when chefs started to utilize Bolognese and Bechamel instead of cheese. Today's lasagna appeared in Bologna's restaurants in the beginning of last century and became immediately very popular in Bologna area. The definitive consacration came later, when the Italian journalist Paolo Monelli mentioned lasgna in his book "Il ghiottone errante" (The wandering foody) in 1935.
Patinam Apicianam sic facies: frustra suminis cocti, pulpas piscium, pulpas pulli, ficetulas vel pectora turdorum cocta et quaecumque optima fuerint. haec omnia concides diligenter praeter ficetulas. ova vero cruda cum oleo dissolvis. teres piper, ligusticum, suffundes liquamen, vinum, passum, et in caccabum mittis ut calefiat, et amulo obligas. antea tamen pulpas concisas universas illuc mittes, et sic bulliat. at, ubi coctum fuerit, levabis cum iure suo et in patellam alternis de trulla refundes cum piperis grana integra et nucleis pineis, ita ut per singula coria substernas diploidem, in laganum similiter. quotquot lagana posueris, tot trullas impensae desuper adicies. unum vero laganum fistula percuties et super impones. piper asparges. ante tamen illas pulpas ovis confractis obligabis, et sic in caccabum mittes cum impensa. patellam aeneam qualem debes habere infra ostenditur.
Apician Casserole Is Made Thus: Prepare as follows: [Take] pieces of cooked sow's udder, fish fillets, chicken meats, fig-peckers or the breasts of thrushes, and whatever else is best. Chop all this, apart from the fig-peckers, carefully then stir [in] fresh eggs and olive oil. Pound pepper and lovage, moisten with liquamen, wine and passum, put in a saucepan, heat, and thicken with starch. But first add all the different meats and let them cook. [When done,] take a ladle and pour in layers into a pan [seasoning] with peppercorns and pine-nuts. Place under each layer a base of an oil cake [of flour and olive oil]. Place on each layer an ample ladleful of the meat mixture. Pierce the final oil cake with a reed stalk and set it atop the dish. Season with pepper. Before you put all these meats with the sauce into the pan you should have bound them with the eggs. The type of metal dish you should use is shown below.