Do you feel it? Something’s changed. It may still be hot, but there’s something in the air. Even in Los Angeles you can feel the subtle shift, as summer turns to autumn. The days seem bluer and the nights last a little longer. The light has taken on a lovely lower angle in the sky. With the change of season, something’s changed with me and my kitchen habits too, so I made Mushroom Lasagna with Gorgonzola Sauce to celebrate.
I found this recipe among my mother’s cooking notes. She credits it to Susan Wyler, so I assume she adapted it from a 1980s issue of Food & Wine magazine. It’s just the kind of long kitchen project my mother favored. Exactly where, or how much she adapted from the magazine I do not know. My version is handwritten by my mother on lined paper, torn from a spiral notebook. I found it slipped into a 1980s cookbook by Martha Stewart. The sheet of paper seemed to be acting as a bookmark for page 168, where a recipe for Watercress Endive Salad can be found. So I’m going to further assume that my mom served this Mushroom Lasagna with that salad. I know I’m assuming a lot about this recipe and I haven’t even gotten to the recipe yet. But as far as I remember my mother never made this particular lasagna for me. You see, I spent most of the 1980s eating anywhere other than my mother’s table (ah, youth). In fact by 1985 I was living in California, and had only just begun to realize how much I missed my mother’s cooking.
So on the first Sunday after I sensed the change in the air, I spent a lazy day making this rather elaborate Mushroom Lasagna. It’s quite a project, I’m not denying that. But it can be made ahead, and it can even be frozen. Making it a terrifically impressive dinner party dish. Serve it with a Watercress Endive Salad, like my mom probably did. The guests will be impressed by how breezily you present such an elegant looking lasagna.
I really should say such a noble looking lasagna, because the most striking thing about this Mushroom Lasagna is its proud bearing. It stands up straight, rather than ooze all over the plate like the gloopy, cheesy pasta feasts I’d been eating in the 1980s “anywhere other than my mother’s table.” GREG