The sauce started off with a roux. Then a whole clove of minced garlic. 1 quart of heavy cream was then added right before the roux and garlic browned. 1/2 a teaspoon each of cumin and cinnamon. Did I go with the marjoram? I think I may have. Flor de Sal and fresh ground black pepper to taste. A couple of bay leaves plopped on in as I headed for a 1/3 reduction.
1 portabello mushroom cap and 1/4 lb. fennel bulb pulsed in the processor with extra virgin olive oil, sea salt, and pepper.
The simmering sauce is sieved after reduction and returned to the heat as the mushroom and fennel are transferred from the processor to the pot and folded in. And they simmer together…
Whole milk ricotta lines the bottom of the pan and is draped over with the first layer of noodles. Sliced portabello mushrooms complete the foundation with a coverlet of baby spinach and a velvet blanket of sauce is ladeled on top.
Noodles then make a second appearance as does the ricotta right above them. Fresh mozzarella is then introduced flaked with shredded paremesan reggiano and a thin layer of provolone for cohesion. Sauce is then smothered across the whole span of the cheese domain before being covered by the noodles, yet again.
The sliced heirloom tomatos make their repose upon the noodle bed and a comforter of fresh basil is pulled over them. Fresh mozzarella weighs them down and generous ladels of sauce embalm them while a layer of noodles seals the tomb.
Ricotta makes it’s last hurrah and shares it’s victory with the fresh mozzarella on the very top of this conquered mountain. The sauce flows down like rivers thawed from winter. Ricotta and mozz are browned by the blazing sun and are dressed ceremoniously with spinach, tomatoes diced, fennel fronds, and basil chiffoned.