I had a dream in the week. Wednesday night. About something I’ve not had in a long time. Lasagne. Its been on my mind since and so, yesterday, I decided that I would make one. And I would put all of me into it. I would make it with love. I would try to make this dream as real as I could.
The red onions I chose looked fantastic. All a perfect shape. All flawless. I peeled them and gently rolled them on the chopping board to bring any juices out. I chopped them slowly, and heated a little oil in a pan. I added the onions to the hot oil and smiled as I heard them sizzle.
I chopped garlic, added this to the onions and stirred the onions and the garlic slowly, so the oil coated everything and a divine aroma filled the kitchen. I added some dried chillies for a deeper, spicier note which some people don’t look for in a lasagne, but was an essential part of this meal. As it was in the dream. To this I added Quorn mince. Sometimes it’s nice to get stuck into something meaty but on this occasion it was not to be. We don’t eat meat at home, but Quorn is a great alternative. But sadly not the real thing.
As the mince and the onions sizzled I added a dash of red wine, some chopped tomatoes and let it simmer. I put on some music as I wanted something to help me. Stevie Wonder’s ‘As’ was a perfect choice.
I quickened the pace, bringing the sauce to the boil and added some smoked paprika, oregano and basil. I reduced the heat, added some sugar and it simmered for a little longer. I was consumed by a desire to taste it now, and as I did I was reminded of a sultry summer evening, a cold marble floor, and the smell of a freshly made espresso. I was close. Very close.
Now for the cheese sauce. I slowly melted some butter in a pan, and added some flour. I stirred vigorously and then added a little milk to make a white sauce. To this I then added some grated cheese, then some more milk, then some more cheese, then more milk. A spoonful of wholegrain mustard was also added to give it something extra.
Then I stirred the cheese sauce, slowly at first but gradually getting quicker and quicker. Surely I should taste it? I was hesitant, but had to let my instincts take over. The sauce was stunning, my taste buds suddenly coming alive with a zingy creaminess which complimented the deep, rich sauce I previously had.
I slowly spooned the rich tomato sauce into a dish, tenderly covering it with the sheets of pasta. The sheets perfectly lay on bed of deep red sauce as if they had been made for this moment. I added some of the rich cheese sauce, covering the sheets and added another layer of meat. More sheets of pasta covered the second on top and then the remaining cheese sauce straight from the pan. Pouring this over the top was the final part and my meal was almost complete. Into the oven.
An hour later and I was greeted with a beautiful, sensual, tanned top to the lasagne when I looked through the glass. I turned off the oven and let it cool.
And when the moment finally came to eat the meal, the sensation was exquisite. As the combination of the rich deep sauce and the soft sheets of pasta, the cheese sauce hit me I thought that here, right here, right now, was a moment to savour. I chewed slowly, trying to pick up on every subtle nuance in the dish. I knew what had gone into it but I closed my eyes and tried to taste everything I could. Individually, and then as one.
It was a luscious lasagne. It was sublime. It wasn’t the one I had in my dream, but I was trying to make this dream become flesh. I had come as close as I could, and my heart sang.
Sometimes a lasagne is more than a lasagne.