The Warm, Aromatic Ingredient You Won't Regret Adding To Your Lasagna

Who doesn't love a plate full of noodles covered in meat, tomato sauce, and melted cheese? Lasagna is one of those hearty, traditional dishes that can be made in a variety of ways, yet still serve as a beloved family meal. Whether you're making easy turkey lasagna or a pan full of the traditional mainstay, all lasagna recipes call for a similar list of essential ingredients. Even though your family probably has its own special blend of go-to seasonings for this signature dish, there is one spice you might want to add to your usual repertoire.

Next to the sizable portions of onion, celery, and carrot you typically add to your traditional sauce, you may want to add a bit of cinnamon to the standard mix of ingredients in order to give your lasagna a certain level of complexity. Surprisingly, when cinnamon is added to a tomato-based dish, this warming spice works to soften the extra tang in your tomato sauce while also adding a much-welcomed savory essence. Cinnamon can also give your lasagna an extra hint of sweetness because its savory undertones work to unveil the sweet and delicate taste of stewed tomatoes. Now that you know the wonders of adding a bit of cinnamon to your next pan of lasagna, what is the best way to incorporate this popular warming spice?

How to add cinnamon to your lasagna

If you've never tried adding cinnamon to lasagna, you have more than one way of adding this popular warming spice to your favorite Italian dish. If you've always followed your grandmother's tips for making the perfect ragù, you may prefer to keep things simple regarding any extra ingredients. One of the easiest ways to add cinnamon to lasagna is by adding a teaspoon or two to your béchamel or ricotta cheese mixture before layering.

For those of you up for changing your usual tomato sauce recipe, you can add cinnamon to your classic blend of meat, tomatoes, onions, and garlic. Because you're already accustomed to using a variety of aromatics, what's one more spice? Adding a bit of cinnamon to other savory ingredients and allowing them to sauté together before stirring in additional liquid is a great way to give this signature spice time to bloom and meld together with your other sauce-specific foods. Just make sure you start by adding only a small amount of cinnamon and allow the sauce to simmer for 5 minutes before taste testing to see if you need or want to add more. If you're feeling adventurous, there are also a few unique ways you can continue to enhance the flavor of your cinnamon-infused tomato sauce.

Enhance your cinnamon-spiced lasagna's flavor

If you've already been using a bit of cinnamon to enhance the flavor of your classic lasagna recipe, you can play with a few other ingredients to see if any of them prove enticing when added to a pot of traditional tomato sauce. While not entirely common in the realm of Italian dishes, Greek food tends to lean into warming spices like cinnamon, nutmeg, and marjoram to add definitive flavor to a number of tomato-based dishes. If you love the flavor of cinnamon in your lasagna and want to go even further, make a Greek tomato sauce and infuse not only the warming elements of cinnamon but also the full-bodied flavor of allspice.

If you want to experience an entirely new twist on your favorite Italian dish, make the Greek baked pasta dish known as Pastitsio. While the main components are similar to lasgana, Pastitsio is typically made with a heavily spiced sauce that includes cinnamon, allspice, and clove. This authentic dish is also made with a creamy béchamel sauce as opposed to a thicker ricotta cheese mixture. Pastitsio aside, your lasagna can be upgraded by adding chopped bacon or using a variety of cheeses. You may want to give your next batch of lasagna a generous sprinkle or two of cinnamon and see how this one simple ingredient can add loads of flavor to one of your favorite Italian dishes.