I swear, it wasn’t because I was unpopular. (Or that’s what I would like to think)
One summer, I must have been in the fifth or sixth grade, I celebrated my birthday with a party. The downside of having your birthday in the summer months was that it always coincided with school holidays, which usually meant, only a handful of classmates could actually make it.
I never really thought it was a big thing until I was made painfully aware of this fact when, during this party, only three guests showed up.
“Maybe the traffic is holding them up.” my Mom said.
“Yes, yes… it’s the traffic.” I liked to believe.
An hour into the party, one of the guests declared she had to leave early so our three guests would soon dwindle down to two. The dance floor was looking bare…
The Blog Monster, and this is why I love her, decided to take matters into her own hands.
She called my older brother and whispered a few words into his ears.
Fifteen minutes later, two of his friends from the village joined the party, then a few minutes later, another three friends and then five more came! It was great to see so many “older boys” join the party!
Hours later, when everyone left, and I was opening my presents, I asked my Mom “Exactly what did you say to get so many people to come to the party?”
“I told your brother, to tell his friends, that I was making baked spaghetti” she replied.
Made with chorizo, bell peppers, a secret herb and an ultra creamy bechamel sauce, it’s no wonder The Blog Monster’s words that night enticed so many to come to my birthday party. This is one of party dishes that everyone looks forward to. This recipe, also known as Spaghetti Royale, was my Grandmother’s recipe.
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 large onion, chopped
- 3 garlic cloves, crushed
- 1 red pepper, diced
- 1 green pepper, diced
- 3 pieces chorizo, diced
- 500 grams ground beef (optional)
- 1/2 bunch coriander leaves, chopped
- 550 grams tomato sauce (for example, barilla)
- salt, pepper and sugar to taste
- 500 grams spaghetti noodles, cooked as per instructions on the box
- grated parmesan cheese
- Heat the olive oil in a heavy based pan and add the onion and garlic. Saute for a few minutes until the onion is soft and translucent. Season with salt and pepper.
- Add the peppers and saute until soft over medium heat until soft.
- Next, add the 3 pieces of chorizo and cook until browned, five or so minutes.
- If using ground beef, add it now – cook until browned and the liquid from the beef has evaporated.
- Add the cilantro and the tomato sauce and simmer for around 25 to 30 minutes.
- Season with salt and pepper and a pinch of sugar.
- 70 grams butter
- 40 grams flour
- 2 cans evaporated milk (375 ml each)
- Pinch of nutmeg
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Melt the butter in a heavy based sauce pan and add the flour. Cook out the flour for a few minutes over low heat, to remove the “floury” taste.
- Slowly add the evaporated milk, whisking it in, a little at a time.
- Continue to whisk the mixture until thick, around 10 minutes.
- Add the nutmeg and season to taste.
Place the spaghetti noodles in a casserole dish and mix in the tomato sauce mixture and a quarter of the bechamel sauce. Mix well and top with the rest of the bechamel and some grated parmesan cheese.
Bake in a pre-heated oven 180c (fan forced) for 2o to 25 minutes until the cheese has melted.