When Lago opened in April 1991, the upscale Italian restaurant quickly established a
reputation as having perhaps the only menu in Los Angeles to focus on the cuisine of
Bellagio on Lake Como in Northern Italy. Today, celebrating its 18th anniversary, Lago
maintains that unique identity and attracts an eclectic crowd of foodies, celebrities, locals
and travelers. With its warm, inviting interior, expansive windows and a sidewalk patio
overlooking Santa Monica's colorful Third Street Promenade, the restaurant is consistently
lauded for imaginative Italian cuisine spotlighting seasonal flavors and the freshest local
ingredients. Chef Roberto Maggioni possesses an exceptional resume and the vast
international culinary experience of a chef twice his age. His passion for cooking, his
knowledge of regional Italian gastronomic traditions, and his familiarity with the newest
cooking methods originating from Spain elevate Lago to new culinary heights.
Lago's comfortable, warm atmosphere evokes the charm of an Italian locanda (inn or
trattoria) del lago (of the lake). An always-changing array of menu choices is offered,
including an Antipasto Bar at lunch with 12 rotating items. A "Tasting Menu" varies weekly
with choices based upon the availability of the best seasonal ingredients. Guests at Lago
enjoy a true "Lake Como experience" featuring dishes, particularly on the dinner menu, not
often found at Italian restaurants in this country.
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|Locanda del Lago - Santa Monica, CA
|Lasagna Vegetariana (with vegetables)
|1. Heat oven to 400º.
Prepare the vegetables
2. Wash all the vegetables. Slice the zucchini
lengthwise and the eggplant in rounds, about a ¼ in
thick for both, and grill them in a grill pan for about 2-3
minutes per side.
3. Place the peppers in a roasting pan or on a baking
sheet, cover and roast at 400* for about 10 minutes.
When ready, remove the skin and discard the seeds.
Slice the peppers into fourths lengthwise. Set aside.
4. Thinly slice the leeks, discarding the green portion.
Slice the mushrooms. Heat about 4 tbsp Paradiso extra
virgin olive oil in a sautee pan and sautee the leeks
Prepare the bechamel
5. In one pot warm the milk until just about to boil, and
in a separate sauce pan mix the flour and the Paradiso
extra virgin olive oil to make a “roux”, stir until smooth
and cook about 5-6 minutes over medium heat.
Add milk to the roux 1 cup at a time and stir gently and
constantly on the fire until the milk thickens – about 1
minute, but eyeball it. You can use a silicone or plastic
whisk to get out any clumps.
6. Season with salt and nutmeg and set aside.
Prepare the lasagna
7. Precook the lasagna by boiling it for 5 minutes in
salted water, then chill each sheet by placing it in a
roasting pan filled with cold water (you may have to
change the water once every few sheets), and pat dry
between 2 cheese cloths. Leave the sheets between
the cheese cloths while you are building the lasagna,
so they do not dry out.
8. In a rectangular or oval pan, put a thin layer of
bechamel at the bottom, cover with a layer of lasagna
and a single layer of eggplant, then cover with a layer
of bechamel and Parmigiano Reggiano. Repeat the
operation with the zucchini, peppers, mushrooms and
9. Place the lasagna in the oven, heated to 380* and
cook for 45 min until gold on the top. Cut and serve.
Serving note: for a beautiful presentation, save some
bechamel to serve a few tablespoons underneath each
portion of lasagna.
Wine recommendation: Umbria, Sangiovese 2007
Chef Roberto Maggioni
5 bell peppers
1/2 lb button mushrooms
1/2 lb ground Parmigiano Reggiano
4 packs dry lasagna
1/4 gal whole milk
1/2 cup Paradiso EVOO
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