Last weekend, my husband turned a year older. To celebrate his birthday, we decided to invite some family and friends over to our apartment for some good old, traditional bonding time that involved homemade food and board games.
A week before, we finalized the guest list which amounted to about 15 pax in total. So that evening I pondered over what would be an easy dish (especially for someone with limited cooking experience and a small kitchen like me) to serve for such crowd? After watching several YouTube videos (this is my goto for recipes if it hasn’t been made more obvious), I decided on some Italian classics: Lasagna, Spaghetti Aglio Olio and Pizza (this we ordered). I also added Tiramisu into the menu for dessert and somehow, unintentionally, we ended up with an Italian-themed cuisine.
Side note, I realized I had been pronouncing “Aglio Olio” incorrectly by not silencing “G” all this while, hopefully as you read this I am not the only one.
Truth be told, I was incredibly nervous to cook because the party was planned for 2PM and I had only started cooking around 10AM that morning after quick trips to the supermarket to get ingredients. However I was pleasantly surprised that I managed to bake 2 lasagnas and one large dish of spaghetti aglio olio in the given timeframe. After the party, both dishes were gone (I didn’t even have the chance to taste the lasagna!).
You know that satisfied maybe even bordering complacent feeling you get when guests eat (and finish) what you’ve cooked and pass kind remarks to show their appreciation and admiration of the dish you’ve just made? Yeap, that was what I felt all afternoon, and boy was in a nice warm feeling in the stomach 🙂
I wouldn’t consider myself an expert at cooking, in fact I still get nerves putting onions in hot oil afraid they would burn too quickly or stick to the pan, but I do love whipping up my own dishes. I think I inherited the trait from my mum. She loves home-cooked food and I grew up appreciating that. One of my goals in life is to be relatively good at cooking and be able to cook in large portions just like my mum.
I will list down the recipes used for both the lasagna and spaghetti aglio olio (in a separate post). They’re my mum’s recipes and are quick and simple enough for beginners to follow. Good luck!
Note: Pre-heat oven to about 180 deg C with fan.
- Onion (2 large yellow onions)
- Garlic (7-10 cloves depending on size)
- Fresh parsley (Mix of Italian and English parsley. I find the former has a stronger taste, while the latter has good texture)
- Bolognese sauce (I use Rinaldi)
- Minced Meat (~ 1/2 kg)
- Chop onion and garlic; sauté in oil
- Chop parsley leaves; set aside
- Add minced meat, allow meat to simmer while meat juice seeps out
- Add bolognese sauce, turn down heat and allow meat to simmer in sauce to soak up goodness
- Once sauce has boiled, add oregano and fresh parsley.
- Butter (~ 60g)
- Milk (Half pint)
- Flour (1/3 cup)
- Black pepper
- Corn starch (dissolved in hot water, prepped in separate bowl)
- Melt butter in pan, add flour and cook until golden brown
- Add milk gradually, stirring continuously; bring to boil
- Once boiled, turn down heat whilst stirring continuously. Add mixture of cornstarch water in to thicken sauce.
- Add black pepper and pinch of salt to taste
- Lasagna sheets
- Meat sauce
- Bechamel sauce
- Mozzarella cheese
- Soften lasagna sheets slightly in boiling water
- Line baking dish with softened lasagna sheets
- Top with layer of meat sauce, béchamel sauce and mozzarella cheese. Repeat to desired level, making sure to put lasagna sheets in between.
- Finish final layer topped with cheese; bake until cheese layer looks golden brown
Here’s a photo I took a screenshot off someone’s Snapstory. Don’t mind the quality! I am learning to take some good photos of my dishes after they’ve made.