Books

Matt's Lasagne

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Hey Everyone!

It's winter and I'm craving home cooked comfort food just like the lasagne Matt cooked in Don't Mean a Thing.



Excerpt from Chapter 11
I parked Bertie right out front. I took a deep breath and held it for a moment, in an attempt to suffocate the butterflies. A wave of cool air greeted me as Matt opened the front door and invited me in.

“Just give me five minutes to put the white sauce on, then I’m all yours,” Matt said, beckoning to follow him into the kitchen. The scent of garlic and onion hung in the air. I watched as Matt poured the contents of the saucepan into a casserole dish, sprinkled on a handful of cheese then slid it into the oven. “There. We have about half an hour ‘til dinner’s ready.” Matt held up his glass of red wine. “Would you like a wine? I’ve already had one for me and one for the pot.”

“I’d love one.”

Matt poured a glass, then gave me the grand tour of the two bedroom unit. The first bedroom was set up as a study. A bookshelf stood in the corner loaded with books, a comfy chair under the window, and a desk with piles of papers almost hiding the laptop.

I stood still for a moment to taste the wine, taking the utmost care not to dribble any on my white shirt. The merlot went down smoothly, the cool liquid leaving a warm sensation in my chest. Matt opened the door to the master bedroom, and the images that popped into my mind sent that warmth sloshing around my body. Instead of testing out the springs of his mattress, Matt headed back to the lounge room, where he’d set out cheese and crackers on the coffee table. 



Bzzzzzzz. 

“Dinner’s ready,” Matt announced.

A rich cheesy aroma had been wafting into the lounge making my stomach gurgle in anticipation. I could hardly wait to find out if dinner tasted as good as it smelt.
I took a seat at the dining table. The places were set with cutlery, napkins, and even a vase of flowers. Well, it was a glass with a couple of stalks of basil with a spray of small white flowers at the end. I giggled, but when I thought about it, the basil was perfect. Matt topped up our glasses, placed a bowl of salad in the centre of the table, then came back with two plates of steaming lasagne. 

“Wow, this tastes even better than it smells,” I said.

“Secret family recipe.” 

“Really?”

“Not really. It’s the recipe Mum always made, but she actually got it from the back of the box of supermarket brand lasagne sheets. She cut it out and sent it to me while I was at Uni. It’s stuck on the fridge, but a bit worse for wear now.”

“I’ve got the best recipe app on my phone. I’ll have to copy that recipe in. Or maybe not. Maybe I’ll just make you cook it for me every time I’m craving lasagne.”


Want to find out what happens next? 
It's one of my favourite scenes, involving Tim Tams...

The recipe

The recipe I wrote about was off the back of the Bi-Lo lasagne sheets I used to buy. That supermarket chain has since been taken over by Coles and the lasagne sheets are no longer available. Luckily, just like Matt's mum, I cut the recipe from the back of the box and thankfully I think like Macie and typed it into my recipe app on my phone before it disintegrated. It's the best lasagne recipe I've ever found. 

Matt's Lasagne

Ingredients

1 packet lasagne sheets
500g mince
200g chopped onion
2 tsp crushed garlic
400g tin diced tomato
200g tomato paste
1 beef stock cube
100ml red wine
300ml water
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp dried oregano
1/3 tsp white pepper
600ml white sauce
150g shredded cheese

White sauce
80g butter
600ml milk
80g plain flour
1/2 tsp salt

Instructions

  1. Brown meat, onion and garlic
  2. Add tomato, paste, seasoning and liquid
  3. Bring to the boil then cover and simmer for 45 minutes

White sauce

  1. Melt butter then stir in flour
  2. Add milk and stir continuously until thickened
  3. Add salt, cover and stand until required
Preparation
  1. Grease 22 cm square ovenproof dish
  2. Cover base with thin layer of white sauce then alternate lasagne sheets and meat sauce, finishing with lasagne
  3. Pour over remaining white sauce and sprinkle with cheese
  4. Bake at 200°C for 30 minutes (if cold: bake 1 hour, reducing to 180°C for last 30 minutes)