Put A Little Heat In The Kitchen: Love and Lasagna Rolls
Kimberly: I’m here with moody, broody Noah Blackwell, the detective hero from my latest novella release, Love On The Line. Hey, Noah! How’s it going?
Noah (crossing his arms over his chest): I’d like to state for the record that I’m mostly moody with you only because you shot me at the beginning of the story, Kincaid.
Kimberly: Are you still mad about that? Come on, Blackwell. You got the girl.
Noah: Yeah, speaking of which, I need your help. See, it’s Violet’s birthday, and I, um, promised I’d make dinner.
Kimberly (grinning): Wow. So you have to cook your chef girlfriend dinner for her big 3-0, huh?
Noah: Yup. I’m not even going to pretend I don’t need help here. What do you say?
Kimberly: I say you’re in the right place. What do you think about lasagna rolls?
Noah (shaking his head): I don’t know. They sound kind of hard to make. But Violet does love Italian food, so…okay, I’m in.
Kimberly: Excellent. We’re going to fill a large stock pot with water and set it over high heat until it boils.
Noah: That sounds suspiciously easy.
Kimberly: That’s because it’s the first step.
Noah (putting the water over a burner): Why do I get the feeling I’m getting suckered here?
Kimberly (trying to look innocent): Would I do that to you?
Kimberly: Hey! Just because you’re a rough, gruff cop and I threw a major curveball at you with Violet doesn’t make me all bad. You guys fell for each other, didn’t you?
Noah (trying not to smile): Well, when you put it like that…yeah. I guess it’s not so bad.
Kimberly: It’s good enough to get you in the kitchen…again. So first we’re going to make the filling for these lasagna rolls. Go ahead and take out a decent sized mixing bowl while I get the ingredients together (1 egg, ½ cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese, 1 15 ounce container of ricotta cheese, ½ teaspoon Kosher salt)
Noah: Okay. Should I mix all this stuff together?
Kimberly: Yes, but first start with the egg. Beat it slightly, with a fork or a whisk, just until the yolk breaks up a little. Then stir in the rest gently. (Sneaks a thawed package of chopped spinach onto the counter and squeezes out the excess water). See, you’re a natural!
Noah: Don’t try to distract me with niceties, Kincaid. What is that?
Kimberly (sighing): It’s spinach.
Noah: It’s. Green.
Kimberly: It’s for Violet’s birthday. Come on, she’ll be proud!
Noah: Fine. But that’s the only green thing you get in here. I mean it.
Kimberly: Okay, okay! Jeez (even though Noah’s a stickler, Kimberly recommends adding 1 teaspoon of dried basil to the filling too). Stir the spinach in, and now that the water’s boiling, go ahead and put 12 uncooked lasagna noodles in there and cook them according to the package directions.
Noah: Right. Now what?
Kimberly: We have a minute while the noodles cook. Why don’t you tell me how things are going?
Noah: They’re great.
Kimberly: I see you’re still as wordy as ever (laughing). How’s Jason? Getting used to you dating his twin sister?
Noah: As much as he can, I guess. I mean, he’s still my partner. He’s up to his eyes in a case right now.
Kimberly: Oooh, do tell!
Noah: It’s an active investigation for a crime that went down at Mac’s, his favorite lunch hangout. That’s all I can really say.
Kimberly: Sounds mysterious.
Noah (quirking a smile): Not as mysterious as the way he acts around the owner of the place.
Kimberly: You tease! You’re lucky those noodles are done. Once you drain them, run a little cool water over them to separate them and keep us from burning our fingers here. Good (taking the noodles) Okay. Lay one out flat on the counter.
Noah: They’re slippery as hell!
Kimberly: They’re not so bad, you big baby. Now take about ¼ cup of the filling mixture and spread it over the noodle like you’re making a peanut butter sandwich.
Noah: Are you kidding me with this?
Kimberly: Do I look like I’m kidding? Trust me! There you go—now roll it up starting at the skinny end and place it in a 9 by 13 baking dish, and repeat the process with the other noodles.
Noah (making a holy mess but getting the job done): Okay. What about sauce?
Kimberly: Jarred works fine. You’ll need a large one, 20 ounces at least. But if you want the recipe for my homemade sauce, you can check my website at www.kimberlykincaid.com Use the sauce to cover the noodles completely, then top the whole thing with 1 ½ cups shredded mozzarella cheese. Cover it with foil, bake at 400 degrees for 3o minutes, then uncover and bake for five more. Serve with breadstick and a green salad.
Noah: I don’t so salad.
Kimberly: No, but you do true love. And for those of you reading along who want to see how it all happened, check out my e-novella, Love On The Line! Thanks for cooking with me and Detective Blackwell. And to check out exactly what went down with Violet’s brother Jason, keep your eyes open for my next story, coming this summer!