Bologna's Green Lasagna Is A Must-Try For Italian Food Lovers

You may think you know your way around Italian food, but it's virtually impossible to have tried all the unique traditional dishes from this food-centric country. Pizza, pasta, and gelato don't even scratch the surface; the list of authentic dishes that we don't often find in America ranges from bottarga (Sicilian caviar) to Fiorentina T-bone steak from a Tuscan cow to a thick vegetable soup called ribollita, according to Walks of Italy. Not only that, but Italian food varies heavily depending on which region of the boot you're in. A pizza from Naples, for example, will be much thinner than a pie from Sicily.

No tour of Italian cuisine is complete without visiting the fabulous city of Bologna. Per Full Suitcase, the Emilia-Romagna region of Italy, in which Bologna is located, is the birthplace of modern Italian food. Here you'll find some of the world's best tortellini, along with similar stuffed pastas like tortelloni, tortelli, and anolini. Of course, you'll also be in the original home of spaghetti bolognese, as well as the prime location to get delicious meats like mortadella and parma ham. And before you jet set away from this foodie city, make sure you don't miss out on Bologna's special green lasagna.

Bologna's lasagna features spinach noodles

As with many authentic Italian dishes, the way they make their lasagna in Bologna is a bit different from what you'll find in the typical Italian restaurant in North America. A classic lasagna bolognese recipe involves layering noodles with ragù and béchamel sauces, then topping it off with heaps of cheese and baking it until golden brown. According to Venturists, while it still has plenty of meat, cheese, and sauce, Bologna's green lasagna uses spinach noodles which give the dish an unusual pop of color. Ciao Italia further explains that lasagnas are made very thin in Bologna, with only a small amount of sauce spread between layers. In addition, cooks here refrain from using ricotta or other heavy cheeses — the only ingredients are the spinach noodles, ragù sauce, béchamel sauce, and Parmigiano Reggiano.

Although Italians aren't picky with what type of spinach is used (even the frozen stuff should work fine), making the spinach noodles is a labor of love. Blanched spinach needs to cool and dry completely before combining it with eggs and flour to make the dough, shares Splendid Table. From there it must be processed until smooth or else it will interfere with the gluten in the dough. If you aren't able to hop on a plane to try the real thing directly from Bologna, this green pasta dish is so delicious it may be worth trying to make at home.