Apologies for the lack of baking posts lately. I have been putting in extra hours on Saturdays at the office. By the time I come home, I'm brain dead and the only thing I can process is my favorite TV show.
Sundays are loaded with laundry, ironing, cooking, gardening and whatnots. I suppose I could have sneaked in some time for baking but no, I was not in the mood. Imagine that. No mood for baking >.<
Just the other day, I was rummaging through my drawer and I found a cookbook by Chef Hanieliza (fondly known as Kak Liza). The cookbook title is "Senangnya Memasak Makanan Barat" (It's Easy to Cook Western).
It's quite common to find Western chefs featuring (adapted) Asian recipes in their cookbooks. For instance
my dreamboat Gordon Ramsay has a Tangy Fruit Salad in his cookbook which I believe is adapted from rojak buah.
Many a times, we Asians would gladly try those recipes even though they are Western adaptations or interpretations of our local cuisine.
So why not for a change, I follow the guidance of our local makcik to make a Makaroni Bakar (Baked Macaroni), eh?
I found a packet of macaroni in the pantry and it has been sitting there for ages. Taking up space and being tossed around every time I need to make way for other stuff. So. I embarked on my maiden baked pasta.
I did not follow Kak Liza's recipe to a tee because ingredient wise, I had a bit of this and a bit of that, here, there and everywhere. Besides, Kak Liza's method involved quite a few steps.
I defrosted a packet of minced beef and diced some peppers, a big onion, a few cloves of garlic and a sprig of rosemary. Then I sauteed the onions, garlic, rosemary and beef. Once these were done, they were set aside while I boiled the macaroni.
Then it was time to assemble. Pasta at the bottom, followed by the beef and then topped with cheese.
I used the ready grated cheddar cheese (the only cheese I like) and then it was off to the oven to bake until the cheese melted.
I have never eaten a baked pasta before, so this is a first for me in terms of cooking and eating. I dug in while it was still hot.
Oh that was good! No wonder kids love this sort of thing. I always see kids/young people ordering baked pasta or rice in restaurants and I used to think that these were yucky because of the cheese topping. As long as it's cheddar, I'm good.
Well, I was happy, my tummy was happy and best of all, there's some leftovers for me to enjoy for dinner. After making this baked pasta, my conclusion is that this is a versatile dish and there is no hard and fast rules.
Just go with the flow and your imagination for this one. But here is my agak-agak recipe which I adapted from Kak Liza, in case you need some pointers.
Recipe source : Senangnya Memasak Makanan Barat (page 23)
- 270g minced beef
- 1 big onion, minced
- 4 cloves garlic minced
- 1 small sprig of rosemary, finely minced
- 1/4 small red, green and yellow peppers, diced
- 2 tbsp crushed tomatoes or 1 tbsp tomato puree
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1 tsp tapioca flour mixed with 1 tbsp water to make a slurry
- 150g macaroni, cooked according to packet instructions
- 1 egg, beaten
- Grated cheedar cheese for topping
1. Heat olive oil in pan and sautee minced onion until translucent.
2. Add garlic and rosemary, sautee until fragrant and onions and garlic are slightly browned.
3. Add minced beef and fry until beef changes color (at this stage the beef may release moisture and fats, drain the excess fats. I simply tilted the pan and poured the fats into a bowl)
4. Add crushed tomatoes and peppers and continue to cook until peppers are tender crisp (or softer if you prefer)
5. Add the slurry and let simmer until mixture thickens. Take off the heat and set aside.
6. In a heatproof casserole dish, line the bottom with the cooked macaroni.
7. Pour beef mixture on top of the macaroni.
8. Pour beaten egg over the beef and top with grated cheese.
9. Bake in oven at 180C for about 20 minutes or until cheese is melted.
10. Serve hot.