Photo: Tejal Rao.

Plated delivers the origin story of a dish as told by a restaurant’s owners and chefs. Our third plate comes from Ortine, a new café that opened last month in Prospect Heights.

On the plate: Barbara’s lasagna with mushrooms and house-made mozzarella. $13
The players: Sarah Peck and Steve Guidi, proprietors; Barbara Guidi, culinary consultant.

Steve Guidi: “We just have a pizza oven up front to bake things here, and an electric oven downstairs for prep, so the lasagna fits our format really well. A lot of different mushrooms are made into a ragu with a little tomato and some Marsala wine. The ragu is layered in a baking dish with homemade mozzarella, noodles, and béchamel. This is my mother's recipe and, basically, it's just the way we would cook it at home. When I was growing up she’d also experiment with making pizzas in the oven, on the barbecue, and even pan-frying them. She was also always experimenting with different pastas, gnocchis, and lasagnas. She's a menu consultant here, and she might be rolling in soon, actually.”

[Steve's mom rolls in to start making fresh gnocchi for Ortine’s Italian-style Sunday Dinner, and to stock the pastry case with her homemade crumb cake.]

Barbara Guidi: “Our family is from a little country in Northern Italy called San Marino which borders on Emilia-Romagna, where they're famous for their green lasagna. I make it all the time. Green lasagna is made with bolognese sauce and bolognese sauce, of course, has meat. Steve has been a vegetarian since he was six-years-old, so I've always had to devise ways to adapt recipes. He used to drive me crazy— no fish, no chicken! I use four kinds of mushrooms instead of meat: shiitake, button, crimini, and dried porcini. It's assembled in an ovenproof dish downstairs and then baked to order up here.”

Sarah Peck: “That's my dynamo mother-in-law. She's amazing. We've been open since December 17, and Barbara's lasagna sells really well. I wanted the pasta to be seasonal, and the mushrooms are all available right now. It's hearty and saucy— a really nice winter dish.”