It has been a rough decade not having Enya in my life. Kind of like being on the trains, in the winter rains … but emotionally, not literally. You know?
Picture it, Middle Earth 2001. I had just gotten Enya the job writing a song for the first Lord of My Ring (that’s what I thought it was called when I, helped, Peter Jackson to secure her job).
I was working my way through the Elfen extras to try and claim the Holy Grail of Orlando, watering my bloom. Long story short, I mistook Ens for an elf, she was upset I stopped when I realised it was her and was distraught that once again, I missed Orlando. Mud was slinged, words were said and I had my name removed from the co-writing credit and was robbed of another Oscar nomination.
Angry and hurt, I toured the most reputable and rational Hollywood publications PerezHilton and TMZ spewing vitriol and campaigning heavily against her winning the Oscar. It worked and sadly cost me our friendship.
Until she called.
You see, like me, Ens had tried to stay up-to-date on how the other was doing and lament the state of our friendship. Seeing my current success (and likely sensing the future plaudits and film adaptation she could score), Ens reached out to bury the hatchet and thankfully she was serious when she assured me it wouldn’t be in my back.
Ens is such an absolute doll and it breaks my heart that we fought so viciously for such a long time. She dropped over at the top of the morning yesterday and despite some initial awkwardness as we apologised and each took the sole blame for our issues while secretly blaming the other for all of them, it was like nothing had changed for the relationship we had in the 70s while I mentored her to success.
We gabbed and gabbed for hours, discussing our mutual disgust for Bono and our hope to collaborate on the melancholic, Opera adaptation of my future hit musical Little Whorephan Andy. Thankfully I had a huge batch of my LasEnya as we were worn out from all the planning!
Lasagne is the ultimate comfort food – gooey cheese, rich sauce and a whack of herbs, it is life affirming, truly – and thankfully it is almost cold enough in Brisbane for me to pretend it is weather appropriate.
I mean, pasta? Amazing. Cheese? Even more amazing. Add in some pesto and hot damn you have a holy trinity of ingredients that instantly ends all feuds AND is a lovely shade of green for some cultural celebration.
2 tbsp olive oil
handful button mushrooms, finely sliced
1 onion, roughly diced
1 zucchini, grated
1 carrot, grated
1 stalk celery, finely sliced
3 garlic cloves, crushed
500g lean beef mince
700g bottle tomato passata
2 cups beef stock
250g dried instant lasagne sheets
1 ½ cup grated mozzarella
250g tub smooth ricotta
300ml thickened cream
2 eggs, lightly beaten
¼ cup Toni Basil pesto
fresh basil leaves, to garnish
Heat the oil in a large pan over medium heat and cook the mushrooms, onion, zucchini, carrot, celery and garlic until very soft, about 10 minutes. Add the mince and break up with the back of a wooden spoon, as it browns. Stir in the stock, passata and a good whack of salt and pepper, bring to the boil and then reduce the heat to low and simmer for 20 minutes and starting to thicken.
Preheat oven to 160°C.
Spread 1 ½ cups of the mince mixture over the base of a deep 22x30cm baking dish. Top with ¼ of the lasagne sheets. Top with ⅓ of the remaining meat mixture and ⅓ mozzarella. Repeat layers twice more aka the remaining ⅔ of each, finishing with a layer of lasagne sheets.
Whisk the ricotta, cream, eggs and pesto together in a bowl, season and pour mixture over the lasagne.
Now this is important and I would normally completely ignore this step, but don’t be like me, be a winner; cover the baking dish with tented foil. Tented? You want the foil to cover the dish, but not come into direct contact with it and leave you with a deliciously crisped piece of foil cheese and a mutilated lasagne … but anyway.
Bake for 40 minutes. Un-tent and bake for a further 10 minutes, or until golden and crisp.
Stand for 10 minutes and then serve. Again, don’t be a Ben – allow it to stand. You’ll regret it if you don’t.