Pieces Of A Wunderkind's Mind

Snippets of Life, Love, Food, Travels, Discoveries, and Whatnot

♪♫ Listen, Do You Want To Know A Secret? ♪♫

on September 14, 2010

I am no Beatles fan. The song just came to mind as I thought of sharing with you a recipe that has been proven patok to everyone I serve it to. [Credits to Ms. Connie V.] Since I do not know of anyone who dislikes baked mac, I assume this recipe might come in handy and could be useful [in whatever way]. So now, I present to you… *hurriedly pulls up an imaginary cloth to reveal surprise*… ma recette secrète!


Baked Macaroni


Ingredients:


225 g. macaroni/penne/ziti


For the pasta sauce:


3 tbsp. butter
3 tbsp. olive oil
1/4 kg. ground beef
1/4 kg. smoked ham/bacon/salami, thinly sliced
1/4 kg. button mushrooms, sliced
1/4 kg. tomatoes, chopped
1/4 kg. onions, chopped
4-5 medium sized green/red bell peppers, cored and chopped
1 whole garlic, peeled and finely minced
1/2 cup tomato paste
3-4 cups meat broth
a bunch of fresh basil leaves, chopped, or about a teaspoon of dried basil
salt
pepper
sugar


For the topping:


1/3 cup butter
3 tbsp flour
2 cups milk
1 cup water
half of a 225 g. block of quick melt cheese, softened then cubed
half of a 225 g. block of cream cheese, softened then cubed
salt
pepper


Procedure:


1. Cook the pasta according to package directions but cutting cooking time by 5 minutes. [This will allow the pasta to finish cooking in the sauce while absorbing the flavors.] Drain, rinse and set aside.
2. Heat the butter and olive oil together over medium heat in a saucepan. Add the ground beef, breaking up the lumps. Add the garlic and cook until the meat starts to brown. Add the ham/bacon/salami. Stir and cook for a few minutes. Add all the chopped vegetables and cook, stirring, until the vegetables start to soften. Add the tomato paste and stir. Pour in the meat broth. Season with salt, pepper and add sugar. Bring to a boil, cover and simmer for 20-30 minutes.
3. While the sauce simmers, prepare the cream-cheese topping. Melt the butter in a saucepan. When frothy, add the flour all at once, stirring. Let the flour cook for about 5 minutes to remove any starchy taste. [Note: Usually, the flour is cooked when the mixture starts to turn golden brown.] Pour in the water in a thin stream, stirring as you do. The mixture will be lumpy at this stage. Pour in the milk slowly, again, stirring as you pour. [By the time all the milk has been incorporated into the mixture, it will appear to be a little thin. Don’t worry, the cheeses will thicken them to the required consistency.] Add the cheeses. Set the heat to low and let the cheeses melt, stirring the mixture occasionally. Turn off the heat and season with salt and pepper.
4. When the sauce is done, add the cooked pasta and toss well. Let the mixture cook over low heat with occasional stirring. This should allow the pasta to finish cooking. [This takes about 5-6 minutes.]
5. Pour the pasta and sauce into a baking dish. Make sure that the dish is large enough so that the mixture is an inch below the rim. You will still be adding the topping. [Everything will simmer and bubble during baking and you don’t want the sauce and topping falling onto the oven floor.]
6. Pour the topping onto the pasta mixture, spreading to seal the edges. If you don’t seal the edges, the exposed pasta will dry up during baking.
7. Bake in a preheated 180
ºC oven for 20-25 minutes or until the top is lightly browned.
8. Let the baked macaroni rest for about 10 minutes before cutting. Serve with garlic sticks or buttered toast.
9. Enjoy!



N.B.
You can replace step #7 with baking via microwave. In choosing this option, you will have to bake it on HIGH for about 8-12 minutes depending on how brown you want the topping to appear. A well-browned topping is more aromatic and attractive but if there are leftovers [which i doubt ] the topping has a tendency to get burnt during reheating.



Baked Macaroni and Cheese! on FoodistaBaked Macaroni and Cheese!


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2 responses to “♪♫ Listen, Do You Want To Know A Secret? ♪♫

  1. Alisa says:

    Yum!This looks so delicious.I saw your blog from the foodie blog roll and I like what you have here.if you won’t mind I’d love to guide Foodista readers to this post.Just add the foodista widget to the end of this post and it’s all set, Thanks!

  2. dashashash says:

    Hi, Alisa! Ü I’m glad to know that you like my blog. I’ve already added the Foodista widget as you’ve suggested. Thanks so much for bringing in more readers. Hope you’d enjoy this recipe. Ü

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