Your Lasagna Isn't Complete Without Adding This Ingredient

Do you love casseroles? A wide-ranging genre that includes dishes ranging from chicken Florentine with mozzarella and egg noodles, to candied pecan-topped yams, a casserole is basically just a bunch of ingredients piled into a baking dish and then cooked in the oven (via Uno Casa). Casseroles tend to be hearty, warming foods: Think of a classic tuna-noodle casserole or potatoes au gratin. And there's one casserole dish in particular that stands out as a favorite for many eaters, though it's one you might not think of as being a casserole at all. We're talking about lasagna, that layered dish of wide, flat pasta that's typically alternated with vegetable or meat fillings as well as some type of sauce (via La Cucina Italiana).

Lasagna, of course, often contains cheese as well, often in the form of Parmesan and mozzarella, according to La Cucina Italiana. And many of us are familiar with an Italian-American adaptation of the dish that layers lasagna noodles with meat or red sauce and a rich, eggy ricotta filling (via Lidia's Italy). And while some versions of the ricotta filling are rather plain, others include flavorings such as fresh herbs. If you're looking for another ingredient that will kick your ricotta filling up a couple of notches, this surprising spice will definitely do the trick.

It's all about the cinnamon

Where would we be without cinnamon, that fragrant, one-of-a-kind spice that shows up in a range of desserts, as well as in savory dishes such as Moroccan lamb shanks and Cincinnati chili? We'd be pretty lost, that's where we'd be. And if you love cinnamon as much as we do, you're going to love the touch it brings to ricotta filling for lasagna.

According to Delish, the secret to making better lasagna is adding a healthy dose of ground cinnamon to the ricotta that gets layered with the pasta and sauce. Writer Judy Kim recalls that her Italian grandmother always added cinnamon to the ricotta filling of her meat sauce lasagna, and that ever since learning the recipe, Kim's family has never deviated from it. The spice, Kim notes, adds a "depth of flavor" no other "secret ingredient" seems able to match. She recommends using 1.5 teaspoons per batch of ricotta filling. So the next time you're rolling up your sleeves to make a lasagna, make sure you've got some cinnamon in the pantry before getting to work.