What to accompany lasagna?

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pengyou

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When I served lasagna, it was considered the centerpiece of a meal. Now, in Asia, it is considered a side dish, and a meal of lasagna, broccoli and carrots, salad and bread is considered a meager meal. For a meal to be significant it must have, amongst other things, at least one dish for each guest. Do you have any suggestions for beefing this up?
 

Dawgluver

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Oh my gravy, I did a doubletake on this one. Lasagna is a meager meal/side dish??? Usually the only other stuff would be a good garlic bread, maybe with some shredded parm and olive oil, and some kind of salad.

Whoa, tough crowd!
 
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justplainbill

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When I served lasagna, it was considered the centerpiece of a meal. Now, in Asia, it is considered a side dish, and a meal of lasagna, broccoli and carrots, salad and bread is considered a meager meal. For a meal to be significant it must have, amongst other things, at least one dish for each guest. Do you have any suggestions for beefing this up?
For four guests- perhaps add 1 beagle, 1 cocker spaniel, and 1 jack russell.:(?
 

Chief Longwind Of The North

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Other foods that would compliment the lasagna might include:

1. Steamed carrots with honey-butter glaze
2. duck comfit
3. baked chicken with a coating of butter, rosemary, basil, and oregano
4. steamed cabbage, or pak choy with sesame oil
5. velvetized beef strips in a light beef and butter sauce, with rice
6. steamed spinach
7. tempura shrimp, or panco breaded coconut shrimp, or scallops
8. long grain rice pilaf seasoned with basil, brown butter, and onion
9. Stir fry of pearl onion, snow peas, water chestnuts, bamboo shoots, sliced
almond, bias-sliced carrot, seasoned with sesame oil and soy sauce
10. squid with noodles in ink sauce

For a change up in your lasagna, substitute the ground beef with scallops, mussels, and clams. Omit the gooey cheeses for grated Parmigiano Regiano, or omit the cheese altogether. Add a crusty, steaming bread on the side.

There's a couple of ideas for you. Hope it helps.

Seeeeeeya; Chief Longwind of the North
 

purple.alien.giraffe

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Make a meatless lasagna. Then serve beef roasted in italian seasonings or sliced into strips and sauteed with sweet peppers. Or cook up some italian sausage with peppers and onions. You could also make broiled, herb crusted pork chops. Or broil fish with lemon and basil.

Saute some vegetables, maybe green beans, mushrooms or zuchini in a little butter. Toss some fresh fruit with a little lime and fresh mint. Provolone slices topped with fruit preserves or fried mozzarella with herbs. Green salad and the bread you mentioned.
 

Dawgluver

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justplainbill said:
For four guests- perhaps add 1 beagle, 1 cocker spaniel, and 1 jack russell.:(?

I hope you mean for petting! :shock::horror:
 

CharlieD

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Where in Asia are you, that they consider lasagna a meager meal? Big green salad with some tomatoes and cucumbers and some red onions with nice red wine or some balsamic vinegar plus garlic bread is a good meal for me. And I am from Ukraine - we like to eat. If that is not enough serve some soup, maybe Italian wedding soup, to keep it with the theme.
 

Greg Who Cooks

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I think pengyou is referring to the Asian custom of serving a number of dishes equal to the number of persons at the table. This is evident in the US when we go to a Chinese restaurant, and each person orders one dish from the menu. A single dish in a typical Chinese restaurant in the US is a bit more food than serves one person, or a very ample serving for one person. It's a simple way to scale typical Chinese restaurant menus to serve any number of people, vs. the often usual American restaurant of each person ordering a dinner off the menu. It also makes larger parties nice because the more people you have the wider the variety of servings you get.

A dish per person is the Asian method of scaling family meals to any size party. This is in contrast to Western family meals where you just cook a whole bunch of one meal and let everybody eat as much as they want, lasagna being a good example of that. Most often lasagne would probably be served with a salad and some sort of bread. And definitely a nice table wine! :)

So pengyou has been caught in the collision between Western culture and Eastern culture. My advice is to cover the difference with appetizers. You can always serve as many appetizers as it takes to satisfy your guests' desire for variety, then serve your salad, lasagna and bread, and follow it up with dessert and perhaps coffee or other after dinner drinks.

However I think any meal benefits from an ample vegetable serving, and suggest perhaps Italian green beans, or a vegetable mix (perhaps something like ratatouille although of course that's French, perhaps an Italian equivalent.)
 
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David Cottrell

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Where in Asia are you, that they consider lasagna a meager meal? Big green salad with some tomatoes and cucumbers and some red onions with nice red wine or some balsamic vinegar plus garlic bread is a good meal for me. And I am from Ukraine - we like to eat. If that is not enough serve some soup, maybe Italian wedding soup, to keep it with the theme.

CharlieD, I was looking for you to see if you have a suggestion. I like a Ukrainian salad - tomatoes and onions sliced thin with a sour cream dressing and dill sprinkled on. Perhaps add mayo to the sour cream and mix to taste.
 

pengyou

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Wow! Thanks! The cavalry to the rescue. Yes, it is a clash of cultures. I usually have 6-8 guests in my home, so must have 6-8 dishes, not including rice or appetizers, or soup, for that matter. If i am following the stricter idea, the meal should include one pork dish, one beef, one chicken and one fish/seafood. If there are enough people also a duck dish as well. And there are certain numbers to avoid - 4 is a no-no because the Chinese words for "4" and "death" sound the same. Appetizers, on top of this, will make a Chinese crowd feel very special. So, a meal for 8 people would include 3-4 appetizers, 8 dishes (included 3 meats and one seafood), rice and soup - maybe 2 kinds of soups. Variety of tastes, colors and textures is important in planning a meal.
 
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Greg Who Cooks

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If i am following the stricter idea, the meal should include one pork dish, one beef, one chicken and one fish/seafood. If there are enough people also a duck dish as well. And there are certain numbers to avoid - 4 is a no-no because the Chinese words for "4" and "death" sound the same. Appetizers, on top of this, will make a Chinese crowd feel very special.
You're making me smile :) reminding me of the pleasures of going out to dinner at a Chinese restaurant with a large party. And also reminding me of the well known Chinese superstitious nature regarding numbers.

I'm assuming you're cooking Italian and want suggestions for additional Italian courses. (It makes no sense to me serving non-Italian courses with lasagna.) So I suggest some sort of shrimp scampi or calamari. Perhaps osso buco: Ossobuco - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Here's a Wikipedia article you should read: Meal structure in Italy - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Or just cook traditional Chinese cuisine. If I lived in China (or Taiwan) that's what I'd do, but I'm a Chinese food enthusiast.
 

David Cottrell

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I'm with Gourmet Greg - stay with Chinese, unless you wanted to add something like a Ukrainian mushroom soup. I think that might work. Good luck! I've just learned a lot about Chinese meals. :yum:
 

David Cottrell

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Just a comment to Gormet Greg. Thanks for posting your website - I took a quick look and it looks like a good place to find some new ideas. My cooking was starting to become blah and I need to freshen up the menu for the family. Thanks again. :)
 

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