One thing you can say about this pandemic is that as it gets worse, the comfort food gets better. Take, for instance, Rita Sodi’s new cacio e pepe lasagna, which she unveiled as a special a couple weeks ago at her West Village restaurant, I Sodi: 21 firm but tender sheets of handmade pasta, each one judiciously slicked with besciamella and an innovative cacio e pepe sauce so good, Sodi plans to bottle and sell it to go online.
The innovative bit involves boiling Pecorino rinds for six hours to make a stock that acts as the base for the sauce.
The crazy genius part of cacio e pepe lasagna, though, is cacio e pepe lasagna itself: just the idea of taking two crowd-pleasing, superstar pasta dishes and molding them into one superb slab of starch. While many New York chefs have attempted to capture the essence of spaghetti cacio e pepe by adapting it to other forms — pizza, popcorn, ravioli, and doughnuts all spring to mind — no one has ever seen fit to give a lasagna the CEP treatment.
(Wait, sorry, our internet was down and we neglected to Google it. As it turns out, cacio e pepe lasagna is a thing — mainly, it seems, in Italy.) For her part, Sodi, who is from Florence and a bit of a lasagna expert, says she has never seen it before. The idea just popped into her head one day. “I was like, Rita, why after 12 years in business you didn’t think before to do a cacio e pepe lasagna?” Not that she’s taking credit. “I didn’t invent anything,” she says. “I just put things together in a different way.”
In any case, the point we’d like to make is that lasagna noodles and cacio e pepe sauce go together like bacon and eggs — at least when put together by Rita Sodi. If only she sold this stuff by the hotel pan, we’d take a to-go tray back to our apartment and never leave till spring.