Yes, we’re finally back in restaurants (again). But take-home food and the restaurant-as-market model are here to stay. And nothing splits the difference between elaborate professional kitchen prep and ease of home reheating quite like lasagna, with its handmade sheets of pasta, slow-cooked meat ragùs, and decadent blankets of béchamel and cheese.
Some of these lasagnas were on menus before the pandemic, while others were added as a direct result of it. All are meant for home consumption (though a few are available for dine-in service), and make for a satisfying rainy springtime Portland meal—including leftovers, especially if you have an orange cat.
5425 NE 30th Ave., 503-841-6968, ripecooperative.com. Noon-8 pm Thursday-Saturday, noon-5 pm Sunday.
Lasagna Bolognese: $48
Suggested serving size: 4
The lasagna at Naomi Pomeroy’s cafe-market in the former Beast space looks smaller than it eats. It is richness upon richness, with what is currently a duck Bolognese (made with Carman Ranch beef and Liberty Farms duck), ricotta and, per the website description, “lots of mozzarella and Parmesan.” That’s no lie: This is more or less a white lasagna, and something of a dairy bomb, with a big layer of ricotta (seasoned with parsley, garlic and lemon), béchamel and a three-cheese blend (Parm, grana Padano and pecorino), plus the mozzarella that’s ready to get browned on top. It’s cheesy, chewy and meaty, but not saucy, with delicately gorgeous sheets of pasta, and only a hint of tomato (made with chopped San Marzanos and a housemade conserva) in the Bolognese. You won’t need bread for sopping at the end, but you could probably fry a few potatoes in the slick of duck fat that’s left over. JASON COHEN.
Mercato at Caffe Mingo
807 NW 21st Ave., 503-226-4646, caffemingonw.com. 11 am-9 pm Tuesday-Friday, 2-9 pm Saturday-Sunday.
Jerry’s Lasagna: $18
Suggested serving size: 1-2
“Jerry” is Mingo chef Jerry Huisinga, who’s been feeding Portland pasta for three decades (dating back to his stretch at Genoa). This is a petite and classic white lasagna, with a strongly nutmegged béchamel sauce playing the starring role in every bite. The noodles and the pork-and-beef Bolognese add texture as much as flavor, with one cheese, grana Padano, capping it off. As with Ripe’s lasagna, a little creamy richness goes a long way—make yourself a salad and some bread (including, yes, for sopping) and you’ll definitely get two servings from one order. JC.
1250 NW 9th Ave., Suite 100, 503-342-7416, cooperativapdx.com. 7:30 am-9 pm Wednesday-Saturday.
Cooperativa Lasagna: $24
Suggested serving size: 2-3
Bologna-inspired pastas and sauces are a big part of the program at former Irving Street Kitchen chef Sara Schafer’s Italian food hall, but Cooperativa’s lasagna will also remind you of Sunday dinner at a friend’s house in North Jersey, or even Olive Garden (except, y’know, good). The basic construction is the same as Mingo’s: pasta, a beef-and-pork Bolognese that also includes bone marrow, béchamel and Parmesan. Except, in this case, it’s a tomato-forward Bolognese—you could almost call it red sauce—that is showcased more than the béchamel. It also teams with the Parmesan to create a caramelized top layer, complete with crispy noodle edges. JC.
The Lasagna Project
Instagram.com/lasagnaprojectpdx. Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday.
Lasagna Bolognese: $44, $6 for delivery
Suggested serving size: 3-4
Thomas Boyce has a bit of an unfair advantage here: all the former Spago and Blue Hour chef does is lasagna, and just three days a week. His repertoire includes such varieties as butternut squash with chard and braised beef shank with porcini mushroom, as well as a “traditional” (or “OG”) Bolognese. Boyce’s version of the classic is a perfectly balanced stunner of ragù, Parmesan and béchamel. The meat sauce has a fair amount of tomato, but not too much, with a deep umami flavor coming from the inclusion of both pancetta and prosciutto (as well as pork and beef). This is also one of the biggest of the bunch. Six servings are not out of the question. Request it—as well as Boyce’s sourdough focaccia—via Instagram, though online ordering with Tock is coming soon. JC.
East Glisan Pizza Lounge
8001 NE Glisan St., 971-279-4273, eastglisan.com. Meatless lasagna available 4-8 pm Sunday, new lasagna pinwheels available 9-11 pm Friday-Saturday.
Meatless Lasagna: $15
Suggested serving size: 1-2
Perhaps best known for its Detroit-style pies with tall cheese edges that act as dams holding back a reservoir of red sauce, East Glisan makes room on its menu for lasagna every Sunday, and the pasta is just as hefty as the shop’s square pizzas. With 12 lustrous layers—the tallest in this roundup—each slice is as thick as a brick and feels sturdy enough to construct a wall. East Glisan includes heating instructions on its website, though not a baking time, so you’ll want to have a meat thermometer handy to ensure the lasagna’s internal temperature reaches 110 degrees. It will then emerge from your oven brown and bubbly—the whisper-thin ribbons are every bit as important as the creamy ricotta and crushed DiNapoli San Marzano-style tomatoes since there are no fillings like meat or spinach. The restaurant attributes the strength of its earthy noodles to the dough’s fresh eggs, which are laid by content chickens with room to roam and roost on a local farm. To complete the dish, coat the lasagna in a slightly chunky tomato sauce heated on the stovetop, and then adorn it with shredded mozzarella and a basil leaf, all provided by East Glisan. This is filling food. This is comforting food. This is “slow down and pay attention” food. There’s no better time than Sunday to engage in the ritual of eating lasagna. ANDI PREWITT.
Providore Fine Foods
2340 NE Sandy Blvd., 503-232-1010, providorefinefoods.com. 10 am-7 pm daily.
Carne Lasagna: $14 a pound
Suggested serving size: 1-2
Providore is the super-sized pantry of every home chef’s dreams, its shelves loaded with a fine selection of groceries you’d expect to see cooking-show contestants fighting over. If your kitchen skills end at “flipping on the burner to heat a can of soup,” this gourmet market fortunately has an abundance of prepared dishes, including two kinds of take-and-bake lasagna. The store is the next evolution of Pastaworks, which has been making fresh noodles since 1983, so all of that experience means that even the waves on cold-case hunks of lasagna look as pretty as layered sand art. Without heating instructions, there’s a risk of leaving your square in the oven for too long. The carne version is forgiving, however, resulting in extra-crispy edges that some lasagna lovers reach for first. Texturally, Providore’s take never bores between the crumbly pork bits, stretchy mozzarella and thick, milky ricotta. Yet the lasagna could have used more sauce—a housemade marinara and Bolognese with a spunky tang—since you only receive two condiment cups that aren’t much bigger than a thimble. AP.