I’ve never really had much respect for lasagna. I blame it on the fact that I came of age in an era when it was perfectly acceptable to bring a tin of Stoffer’s to a potluck. Restaurant lasagnas, usually just assembled from jars and packages, never did much to help the cause either.
That’s not to say that I don’t eat it or enjoy it. But like an episode of Teen Mom, lasagna generally only appeals to me on the most base level. A very guilty pleasure of mine is the vegetable lasagna from Angelo’s in Alhambra, which is basically just a dish of sauce, cheese and a few veggies baked to bubbling-crispy-on-the-edges perfection.
Considering my history of lasagna derision, you can imagine my intrigue when I saw it on special at Osteria Mamma. I’ve been in love with “Mamma” Loredana Cecchinato’s cooking since La Buca was a hole in the wall, so I figured if anyone could clean up an Italian casserole, it’d be her. And it was. The lasagna at Osteria Mamma, like most of their dishes, impresses with its simplicity. The handmade noodles are thin and the ricotta is spread with restraint, giving the dish an almost delicate quality. The sweet sauce and meat keep it reasonably hearty.
All this is just proof of one thing: lasagna, I misjudged you.
P.S. As I was just saying in the comments, Osteria Mamma now has a liquor license, so while it’s more crowded, it’s also more lively. I think they’ve found their groove.