Some things in life are abundantly clear. For instance, this is pasta…
Cooking dinner shouldn't be complicated
…and this is a casserole.
Everybody on the same page so far? Good. Now, what is this?
Lasagna certainly looks like a casserole, but it’s usually associated more with pasta dishes like spaghetti.
This conundrum begs the question: What exactly is a casserole?
What Is a Casserole?
The casserole has been a staple in American kitchens since the ‘50s, when one-pot and easy-to-prepare meals began to skyrocket in popularity. The ultimate comfort food, “casserole” refers to both a type of food and the dish that it is baked in.
Merriam-Webster lists two (food-related) definitions for the word:
- A dish in which food may be baked and served
- Food cooked and served in a casserole dish
We love you, MW, but that explanation leaves a lot to be desired. We took it upon ourselves to define “casserole” (the one you eat, not the dish) in a better, more specific way. Here’s what we landed on:
A casserole is a cohesive, one-dish meal that's baked.
Cohesive? Check. One-dish meal? Check. Baked? Check, check, check.
Furthermore, you can make a lasagna pizza. You can even make a lasagna dip. But would you ever make a lasagna casserole? No, because that would be redundant. Lasagna is, in fact, already a casserole.
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