Baked Macaroni

One of the fanfare here at Kawaling Pinoy I truly enjoy are the monthly giveaways. Although I don’t reply to the comment entries, I do read and relish each and every one of them. Last month’s giveaway was all about Noche Buena and I appreciate how you guys jumped right in to share your holiday meals and traditions.  One dish I noticed that came up more than others was baked macaroni. Guys, I cannot agree more. Baked macaroni is really the perfect party food as not only is it everyone’s favorite, one pan can also easily feed an army of guests.

Baked macaroni is something I make once or twice a week in my house. I just toss pasta and meat sauce together, top the mixture with grated cheese, throw it all in the oven for a few minutes and call it a day. But for a pasta dish that’s holiday-worthy, a simple mornay sauce sure does make a whole lot of difference. Amazing, really, how a ten-minute cheese sauce easily turns the baked macaroni I make regularly from blah to ahhh. Make this the center of your festivities, folks, and brace yourself for the avalanche of applause that’s sure to come. Enjoy!

Baked Macaroni with Cheese Topping

Prep Time20 mins
Cook Time2 hrs
Total Time2 hrs 20 mins
 Servings:  Servings

Ingredients

  • 1 16 ounces package small elbow macaroni

For the Meat Sauce

  • 1 tablespoon oil
  • 2 to 3 Filipino-style hotdogs, sliced diagonally
  • 1 onion, peeled and diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
  • 1/2 green bell pepper, seeded and chopped
  • 1/2 red bell pepper, seeded and chopped
  • 1 1/2 pounds ground beef
  • 2 cups tomato sauce
  • 1/2 cup tomato paste
  • 1 cup banana ketchup, preferably sweet and spicy
  • 1 cup beef broth
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • salt and pepper to taste

For the Cheese Topping

  • 1/3 cup butter
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 3 cups milk
  • 16 ounces Eden Cheese (or any quickmelt), cubed
  • 1 cup cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

  • In a large pot over medium heat, bring about 4 quarts salted water to a boil. Add macaroni and cook 1 to 2 minutes less than package’s directions. Rinse under cold running water and drain well.
  • In a large bowl, combine macaroni and meat sauce. Gently toss together until well-combined.
  • Grease bottom and sides of a large baking dish with nonstick cooking spray. Transfer pasta-meat mixture into prepared dish. Spoon cheese sauce on top, spreading across to completely cover pasta.
  • Bake in a 375 oven for about 20 to 25 minutes or until hot and bubbly. Remove from oven and allow to cool for about 7 to 10 minutes before cutting into serving portions.

For the Meat Sauce

  • In a pot over medium heat, heat oil. Add sliced hotdogs and cook, stirring occasionally, for about 1 to 2 minutes or until lightly browned. Remove from pan and set aside.
  • Add onions and garlic and cook until limp. Add bell peppers and cook for about 2 to 3 minute or until softened. Add ground beef and cook, stirring occasionally and breaking apart with the back of a spoon, for about 7 to 10 minutes until lightly browned. Drain any excess fat.
  • Add tomato sauce, tomato paste, ketchup, and beef broth. Stir in sugar and Italian seasoning. Bring to a boil. Lower heat, cover and continue to cook for about one hour or until meat is fully cooked and sauce is thickened. During the last 10 minutes of cooking, add browned hotdogs. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

For the Cheese Sauce

  • In a skillet over medium heat, melt butter. Add flour and stir well into a smooth paste. Cook, stirring regularly, for about 5 to 7 minutes or until golden (but NOT browned) and starts to bubble a bit.
  • Gradually add milk to the roux, whisking vigorously to prevent lumps. Cook, whisking regularly, for about 2 to 3 minutes or until smooth and thickened but still pourable.
  • Gradually add quick-melt and cheddar cheese and cook, whisking regularly until melted. Stir in nutmeg and salt and pepper to taste. Remove from heat.

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