Lasagna Vs. Pasta Al Forno: What's The Difference?

Comforting meals are recipes that fill our bellies, while often filling a specific craving. As reported by The Nuttery, comfort food usually means it's a meal that is higher in carbs and fatty acids. If you think about food in those terms, there are a few dishes that fit the bill. Pasta baked with gooey cheese hits the spot when you're craving something comforting and pasta al forno is a classic comfort food dish that is quick and easy to make.

When translated from Italian, the name of the dish literally means pasta at or from the oven, per Delighted Cooking. According to MasterClass, pasta al forno is usually made with layers of red sauce, pasta, and cheese, and gets baked in the oven. At first glance, this recipe sounds similar to lasagna, another popular and comforting Italian pasta dish. Knowing that both are baked cheesy pasta, what are some ways pasta al forno differs from lasagna?

The addition of a rich sauce

As noted by Little Hill Farm, it's not so much what each dish has in common, but rather what pasta al forno doesn't include, which is the rich, béchamel topping traditionally used in lasagna. According to Healthline, béchamel is one of the five French sauces that are known as a mother sauce that serves as a base for many recipes. Béchamel sauce is made from a roux, or equal parts of butter and flour cooked together, then milk is added and slowly heated to create a rich, silky sauce.

Lasagna is made with long sheets of pasta, which is layered with sauce and a cheese mixture, usually ricotta or sometimes cottage cheese, and vegetables and meat are also incorporated in some recipes. Pasta al forno also differs in that it can be made with the sheets used in lasagna, or with short tube-shaped pasta like ziti. Using a different type of pasta and not incorporating the béchamel sauce reduces the preparation time and makes for a quick weeknight meal without sacrificing the cheesy, comforting goodness associated with lasagna.