Macaroni casserole. January 23, 2009Posted by ourfriendben in homesteading, recipes.
Tags: easy pasta casseroles, macaroni casseroles, pasta casseroles
Silence Dogood here. Sheesh. Sometimes even the simplest things become too complicated. Take today, for instance. I was trying to decide what to make for our Friday Night Supper Club. Something rich and warming for a frigid night, of course. My friend Delilah’s famous Crock-Pot Mac’n'Cheese? My own hearty and healthy Luverly Lentil Stew? Ah, decisions, decisions. Just when I’d decided to make a spicy chili with my favorite super-fast and creamy pasta as a side, one of the Friday Night Supper group e-mailed and begged for mac’n'cheese. Back to the drawing board!
Admittedly, I love Delilah’s Crock-Pot Mac’n'Cheese. It’s by far the best mac’n'cheese I’ve ever tasted (and you can find the recipe, as well as the recipe for Luverly Lentil Stew, by searching on this site). But some of the Friday Night Supper Club group would prefer something with a little more flavor. Hmmmm.
Suddenly, I had what a friend’s mother immortally called “a rush of brains to the head.” Deep in my recipe archives, I had a file card with one of the first recipes I ever invented, for Macaroni Casserole. It combines the satisfying comfort of macaroni and cheese with the oomph of tomato sauce, mushrooms, and onions. I think it’s time to make its debut at the Friday Night Supper Club! This is really an easy recipe, and it’s so perfect for cold weather. It calls for tomato paste, but I plan to use my home-canned spaghetti sauce to add a little complexity; suit yourself. And enjoy!
Silence’s Macaroni Casserole
large carton cottage cheese
2 cups sliced mushrooms
12 ounces tomato paste
1 1/3 cup dry macaroni, cooked
2 packages shredded mozzarella cheese
1 large sweet onion (Vidalia, WallaWalla, or Candy type)
4 cloves garlic
Trocamare, Herbamare, Real Salt, or your favorite, to taste
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce (we use Annie’s Vegetarian Worcestershire)
1 tablespoon each dried basil, oregano, and dry mustard (we like Colman’s)
1 teaspoon each dried thyme and marjoram
1 generous splash hot sauce (we like Pickapeppa, but you could use Tabasco Chipotle or your favorite)
extra-virgin olive oil
Mince onion and garlic fine; saute them and the sliced mushrooms in olive oil ’til the onion clarifies. Add tomato paste, 1 cup hot water, and all herbs and seasonings. Cook ’til sauce thickens and flavors are blended. Heat oven to 325 degrees F. Grease large casserole dish with olive oil or butter. Layer macaroni, cottage cheese, tomato sauce, and mozzarella; repeat layers. Bake for 1/2 hour. Serve with deep green salad and hot, preferably homemade whole-wheat or multigrain bread. Serves 6-8.
See? There’s nothing to it, but I still enjoy it to this day, lo these many years after coming up with it in my first graduate apartment. I think you and yours will, too!
‘Til next time,