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What's the main difference between this two dishes, Pasticcio and Lasagna?

I think pasticcio has ham and I think both have béchamel sauce. They both need to be baked (as far as I know) but honestly, beyond that, I don't know the main/real difference.

Thanks in advance!

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Lasagne is the Italian name for the noodles used in a lasagna casserole. So it would be technically incorrect to use it for a casserole made with a different type of noodles. And I'm not aware of any other use of lasagne noodles, so while you will probably have to call your soup "lasagne soup" if it contains them, and Italians will also use the term "lasagne al forno" when they want to be specific about the dish. But in practice, I have never seen recipes for anything else made from these noodles, and Italians shorten the dish name to just "lasagne" too.

Else, any casserole made with lasagne noodles should be called lasagne. The other ingredients don't matter much - there are versions without bechamel, without meat, etc.

Pasticcio is a wider category of casseroles which doesn't have a strict definition. It is the Italian spelling, you will also see other variants such as pastitsio. It usually has noodles, but not always.

Lasagne is a subtype of pasticcio, and the most common pasticcio in Italy - note that on the Italian Wikipedia, "pasticcio(cucina)" redirects to "Lasagne al forno".

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  • Just to add, usually when a lasagne noodle is used for another purpose, a smaller form, called lasagnette, is used. They look identical to the lasagne noodle, but scaled down considerably. – Matthew Jan 30 '14 at 4:34
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In Italy with Pasticcio we are usually referring to other kind of pasta rather than the lasagna noodle.

The classic lasagna and pasticcio are made with ragù and besciamella, but there are lots of different types. For example I simply love the white lasagna with artichokes!

Disclaimer:
as almost the totally of the italian dishes this differs from region to region, and so the name or ingredients could change!

Bonus:
"pasticcio" in italian means "mess" ("che pasticcio!" -> "what a mess!"), so I can imagine that the name derive from mixing everything in a casserole and baking it (just a guess though).

To add a point, @rumtscho said that he's not aware of other kind of pasta made with the lasagna noodles, but cannelloni for example are made from lasagna noodles, they're just rolled and filled with meat and ragù (or other ingredients).

To clarify with some pictures:

  • pasticci (red, and white)

pasticcio al ragù pasticcio bianco

  • lasagne (red, and white with artichokes)

lasagnalasagna ai carciofi

  • cannelloni

cannelloni

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The main difference is lasagna tends to have wide flat noodles, and tends to be a dish made within the inspirations of the Italian cuisine.

Pasticcio tends to use other pastas (such as penne), and the flavor elements may be inspired by the greater variety of flavors found around the Mediterranean, such as cinnamon in a Greek-based version.

Both are basically baked pasta casseroles, which is a vibrant and rapidly evolving category in food, so i would just make what you like, and call it what you want.

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  • That so i would just make what you like, and call it what you want made me laugh, you got a point there. Gonna wait for more answers but I like this one so far. – Luis Jan 29 '14 at 18:23
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Lasagne al forno is a pasticcio. So is pretty much any pasta al forno. Lasagna is one of many pasticcios you could make -- unless you're talking to a Bolognese, in which case they'll insist that the only proper name for the lasagne dish is lasagne -- or better, lasagne Bolognese of course :)

Only person on the Internet I've seen that gets it right: http://smilingeggplant.blogspot.com/2012/01/what-is-pasticcio.html

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  • Very nice info on that link, thats a lot. – Luis Oct 26 '15 at 19:13
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I think the term is used differently in different regions. Italy has so many micro-cultures lumped together, each with a very unique food heritage. When I lived in Venezia (Venice), no one used the term lasagne, it simply wasn't a dish they made. But they all made Pasticcio, a regional favorite with local varieties of radicchio or artichokes with besciamella. The noodles were not varieties of pasta shapes, they were the classic flat sheets.

Slightly off-topic but fun story: We had a friend from another region of Italy (where Lasagna is prevalent) and got onto the subject of Italian and American Lasagne, and they scoffed at our version, mocking it by saying that it was probably made with ketchup and tasting bad. I challenged them, that we should all make our own versions of lasagne- the American, the Italian and the Venetian (Pasticcio), and we did. And all were duly impressed with the American version :)

So, at the end of the day, I don't think there is one Italy, there are hundreds of local traditions with variations that can change within 10 kilometers from town to town.

Tip: When I am looking for authentic versions, I always trust the Italian language recipes, not the english versions. With google translate now you can easily read authentic local recipes! Try googling "Pasticchio Carciofi" vs. "Artichoke lasagne". The difference is huge. You can search for regional names too, like "Pasticchio Veneto" to get acquainted with regional varieties.

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I had never heard of Pasticcio before until I saw my favorite chef "Ina Garten" makes it on food network. However, she did not use lasagna noodles. My understanding is that Pasticcio is the Greek version of Italian baked pasta. Another strange thing about it is that it has cinnamon in it which I personally will not do. Here is the link to that recipe.

http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/ina-garten/pastitsio-recipe.html

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  • Thx for the link, gotta try it out! – Luis Mar 1 '14 at 14:47
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All wrong I'm afraid! Italian Pasticcio is the same as lasagna, except pasta shapes are used instead of pasta sheets, with the ragù, besciamel sauce and Parmigiano all mixed together (hence 'pasticcio', which means 'mess' in Italian), as opposed to being layered. P.S. I was raised in Italy in an Italian family and I was taught by my Italian nanas, aunts and mama.

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  • 1
    Isn't that what the other answers are also saying? – Sneftel Nov 14 '19 at 8:41

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