I’m not going to share a recipe with you this time, simply because mine is rather annoying and disconcerting.
I made lasagna last night with no recipe and a surprising lack of intuition. I know my mom has made lasagna before, I know I have helped her- but do you think I could remember how to make it?
I cooked the noodles in the only pot even remotely big enough for such a job and quickly understood it to be the Wrong Pot for Lasagna. It *is* my biggest pot, and yet only about a quarter of the noodles were in the water and I had to flip them from time to time until they were sufficiently relaxed enough to all sink in together. While they were cooking, I snatched my other ingredients from their hiding places and set them out on the work table. A quart of ricotta cheese, a bag of mozzarella, garlic, olive oil, and the sauce I had made two days in advance and hoarded in an old ice cream bucket in the fridge.
“Has anybody ever made lasagna before? Does the cheese go *after* the noodles, or after the sauce?” I asked our dinner guests, who were exiled from the kitchen and sitting in the adjacent living room- waiting. I had my ricotta in a bowl and was stirring in the garlic, Italian herbs and parmesan cheese- nothing measured, nothing gained.
“I like your apron, dear, I think your name should have been Petunia.” This was the supposed lasagna ‘expert’ speaking, and I immediately felt ill at ease- she couldn’t remember the proper order either.
“Come on now, Susie, think, cheese first or sauce? You have to remember…. You used to make lasagna all the time.” Her friend prompted.
“Oh, I used to make lasagna all the time, with cheese *and* sauce. I think it a much prettier food when it’s out of order, don’t you think so, Lynn?”
“Prettier, yes, but much less like Lasagna. Sue, come on, Andi needs you to think about it. How does it go? Noodles, sauce, cheese- or noodles, cheese, sauce.”
“Oh my. Oh my. My dear, I think the right answer must be noodles, sauce, cheese. Will you cut out the tag in my sweater before I kill myself?” She looked at me and smiled in her sweet way, and after the tag was removed, I thanked her and dashed back behind the angled corner and assembled my casserole.
Do you know how hard it is to spread ricotta cheese on chunky spaghetti sauce? Nearly impossible. I think the first option discussed was the right one, and now I am sure- Noodles. Cheese. Sauce.
I used too much cheese, too much sauce ( I have a phobia of dry lasagna) and made the swampiest, soupiest, cheesiest, most disorderly lasagna mess I have ever had the horror of encountering. It tasted beautifully. I think Sue was right, it was much prettier out of order.