Eddie Calibrian Lasagne

Main, Pasta

Not only is Ed a stone cold fox but he also has the biggest heart of anyone I know, which I’m not even going to spin into a joke about Brandi/Leann/Scheana/Pipes (if Brandi is to be believed on Danny Pellegrino’s podcast … which is the most important podcast of our time) because we finally have made up!

He walked through customs, the crowd parted, a spotlight shone upon him and a choir of angels started making ethereal, jubilant sounds – THAT is how beautiful he looked. Or I was having a psychotic break. Or a stroke.

In any event, it was then that I realised why I was so cruel to him on the set of Third Watch. I was passionately, deeply, ardently, basement-floodingly in lust with him, and once rebuffed I couldn’t bare to be around the sweet man since the sweet man couldn’t be bare with me.

I fell into his strong, muscular arms and sobbed, begging for forgiveness for my years of cruelty, fueling the flames of his and Brandi’s divorce and trying to end him in the tabloids. Because he didn’t want to end me.

He knew. Of course he had known why I had been so cruel, and he told me that all was forgiven. Particularly since Rachel had been encouraging him to reach out to me – knowing of my lust-related rage blackouts – on the set of Take Two.

While we will never get the last decade back, last night filled me with hope that we’ve got enough friendship ahead of us that the bad times won’t even matter. Particularly if I make him a delicious Eddie Calibrian Lasagne next time I inevitably screw up!

 

 

A minimally edited version of Nigella’s recipe adapted from the Grillo sisters – why mess with perfection, you know? – this lasagne is so simple, yet so delicious. Ham, eggs and mozzarella are traded in for bechamel, giving it a rich, decadent flavour that is too hard to go past.

Enjoy!

 

 

Eddie Calibrian Lasagne
Serves: 6-8.

Ingredients
olive oil
1 onion, diced
500g minced beef
½ cup red vermouth
1L tomato passata
1L water
salt and pepper, to taste
300g sliced ham
4 eggs, just hard boiled and peeled
300g mozzarella, grated
½ cup parmesan, grated
500g dried lasagne sheets

Method
Preheat the oven to 180°C.

Heat a lug of olive oil in a dutch oven and sweat the onions for about five minutes, or until translucent and soft. Add the mince and cook, breaking up with a wooden spoon until browned. Add the vermouth and cook for a further minute, before stirring in the passata and water. Season and bring to a simmer for about ten minutes.

To assemble, place a couple of ladles of the meat sauce into the bottom of a baking dish and cover with a quarter of lasagne sheets. Top with a further couple of ladles of meat sauce before layering a third of the ham, sprinkle with a third of egg and then a third of the mozzarella. Top with another quarter of lasagne sheets and repeat the process until you’ve topped with the remaining lasagne. Top with the remaining meat sauce and sprinkle with parmesan.

Tightly cover with foil, place on a baking sheet – if the dish is too full – and transfer to the over to bake for an hour. Remove the foil and return to the oven for a further ten minutes, or until golden and the pasta is cooked through.

Leave to rest for twenty minutes before devouring, happily.

 

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Joy Beharsagna

Main, Pasta

It was actually my dear friend Joy that reached out to me about dropping by for this week’s date. She had noticed that I dropped off the face of the earth but the google alert featuring my name, rehab, prison and scandal hadn’t pinged, so she was extremely concerned about my welfare.

When I turned my phone back on after a ten minute digital detox, I discovered one to two frantic voice-to-texts that read, ‘Bern. Place chamomile me has been as chew grits kiss. Lava Jay’. After an hour abusing Siri, I deduced that it was Joy and decided to pick up the phone and see what was up.

Her concern for me was up, obvi, and that is why I love her.

I’ve known Joy for years after meeting on the set of Manhattan Murder Mystery in ‘92. I delivering Diane her daily filming steak when I literally bumped into her, in a rom-com fashion. We bantered about the accident, our acerbic wits instantly bonded us and we’ve been the best of friends ever since. To the point where I put her name forward as a potential co-host of The View when Babs refused to hire me in drag as Angela Merkin.

She and I spent the afternoon chatting, laughing and taking a little time to enjoy the view, before sitting down to smash a big old Joy Beharsagna … and watch Australian Survivor, obvi. Honestly, did you really think I was going to make anything else?

 

 

Obviously this is Queen Joy’s famous recipe with the name smooshed into hers. But when I’m making my triumphant comeback to cyberspace, why should I get creative when Joy has already created something of perfection. Sweet and spicy sausage, a whack of herbs and the majesty of ricotta – if you haven’t tried Joy’s lasagna, you’re not living.

 

Enjoy!

 

 

Joy Beharsagna
Serves: 4-6.

Ingredients
375g fresh lasagna sheets … or Alan Pastarkin, if you dare
2 onions, diced
4 garlic cloves, minced
750g Italian sausage, removed from skins
olive oil
800g crushed tomatoes
¼ cup tomato paste
2 cups passata
¼ cup oregano, roughly chopped
½ cup basil, roughly chopped
2 tsp kosher salt
¾ tsp pepper
500g ricotta cheese
1 ¼ cup parmesan cheese, grated
500g mozzarella cheese, grated
1 egg
¼ cup flat-leaf parsley, roughly chopped

Method
Preheat the oven to 180C.

Heat a lug of olive oil in a large skillet and cook the onion over low heat until translucent. Add the garlic and cook for a further minute before bringing the heat up to medium, adding the sausage and cooking, breaking it up with a wooden spoon, for 10 or so.

Once the meat is no longer pink, add the tomatoes, passata, paste oregano, basil, salt and pepper and cook for twenty minutes or so.

While the sauce is simmering, combine the ricotta, a cup of parmesan, mozzarella, egg, parsley and a good whack of salt and pepper.

To assemble, spread a third of the mixture in the bottom of a large baking dish. Layer a couple of sheets of pasta over the top and spread over half the cheese sauce. Top with another third of the meat, some pasta and a the remaining cheese sauce. Pour over the remaining sauce, top with some parmesan and transfer to the oven to bake for half an hour or so, or until bubbly and crisp.

Devour. Preferably with Karlic Lagerbread.

 

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LasEnya

Baking, Main, Pasta

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!

 

lasenya-1

 

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.

Enjoy!

 

lasenya-2

 

LasEnya
Serves: 6.

Ingredients
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

Method
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.

 

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