Saturday, May 15, 2010

Cheesy, Creamy, Yummy Macaroni Pie


Yeah, for those of you who’ve never been to the ‘teensy weensy’ Caribbean islands of Trinidad and Tobago, you may be a little confused why I’ve listed this pasta dish as a Trinidadian concoction. Well even I wonder why! I just know that macaroni pie is something every body does make in Trinidad. You’ll find macaroni pie in eateries everywhere along the length and breath of this sunny twin island republic usually as a sidekick to fried rice, stewed or baked chicken, stew red beans and callaloo, with some ground provisions thrown in. Makes you feel hungry doesn’t it?

It’s as to be expected with cheesy gooey delights a favorite of adults and children; I am huge fan as well. But then I can happily eat pasta and pizza every day of the week. In my last life I suspect I was Italian and one day I hope to dedicate a year to chomp my way through Italy’s culinary attractions. 

Macaroni pie is not your run-of-the-mill macaroni and cheese, its sooooo much better. The top is crusty and golden caramelized cheesy goodness while the insides are macaroni laced with a heavenly melted creamy cheesy sauce! So so good…

I’ve been wondering how this reached our white sandy shores. Was it the Americans with their base in Chaguaramas in the Second World War? Was it some unknown Italian who came and changed our culinary landscape forever and disappeared unknown into history. Or was it some nameless trini cook who made this hallowed discovery when pondering what to do with the long hard strings of dough that is macaroni? We might never know, but whoever it was, we are eternally grateful.


A word about ingredients: use 100% durum wheat macaroni as this will not be gummy when boiled. I used Swiss Macaroni but you can use any brand you prefer The cheddar cheese we get in Trinidad I don’t know if that is available in the US as my aunt always asks family who are visiting her in the US to bring a few blocks since she can’t find it there. The one I used did not have a brand name. You can use Anchor cheddar cheese as we get that brand in Trinidad or I guess any other cheddar cheese will do. I used normal, ‘Stay-fresh” milk (now Nestle), not evaporated milk; the milk does get creamier when the sauce boils down but you can substitute a little evaporated milk for some normal milk. I did not want it to taste too milky but you’re free to use more if that’s more your thing.

I present to you Trini Macaroni Pie. Beware its quite addictive.


Cuisine    Trinidadian
Type        Side-dish, Starch,
Time        30 mins Prep + 45 mins cooking
Serves    15


Ingredients

400g/14.1oz        pack macaroni (100% durum semolina)
3 tb                       Butter (room temperature)
5 tb                       flour
3 c or more         cheddar cheese grated
4 c                        milk (normal or evaporated or a combination)
¼ tsp                   ground black pepper
1 ¼ tsp                Salt (extra for salted water)
1 tsp                    Sugar
1tsp                     vegetable oil


Procedure

1.    Put a large pot of well salted water to boil. Add macaroni when the water starts to boil and add oil. When the macaroni is cooked but firm drain and reserve.

2.    Grate the cheese. Measure out the milk and have ready.

3.    Heat a large pot on low heat. Mix the butter and flour together and add to the pot. Stir until the flour smells cooked and not raw. This should take about 5 minutes but be careful not to burn. Once the flour is cooked start adding milk a ½ c at a time while whisking so that there are no lumps of flour. Continue whisking until all of the milk is added. Mix until the mixture thickens. This will take about 10 mins or less.

4.    Mix in salt, sugar and black pepper and take off stove and cool sauce for a few minutes. Take 2c of the cheese and add a little at a time while mixing to melt into sauce. Add macaroni and mix well to coat with sauce. Add ¼ c of cheese now and mix gently.

5.    Pour into a greased circular pan or a rectangular pan. Top with rest of cheese or more if you like.

6.    Bake at 350 for 45 mins. You can broil on low for 5 mins if you want the top golden.

Copyright © 2010 Aruna Ria   All Rights Reserved




     

19 comments:

  1. I love Macaroni pie, my hubby loves it hot and bubbly and falling of the spoon. This looks yummy.

    Much love Lisa

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  2. That macaroni pie is making me hungry.It looks like cheese pizza or an omlette.

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  3. This post is just bringing up bad memories because when i first came to the States, for the first few months i would have some serious withdrawl like symtompts every Sunday without that macaroni pies and the Sunday lunch works. Fast forward some years later whereby i have settled for what they call 'mac and cheese' as a susbstitute. One day recently - being a true man - i opted for the Kraft 8 mins box option....just add milk and bingo! Well that was my first as last.....dat thing taste like Ernie's yellow rubber ducky.

    btw you have me cracking up...'ever since I was real small I...' i was like its not like you are REAL big now....true Trini talk....you would never hear anyone else describe 'theyself' like that :)... 'real small' i.e. since a very young age.

    One more thing i just realized that i may have had coconut chutney before...last year my sister brought back some white type of pepper sauce that she brought in Maracas to go with the bake and shark, along with the green one they serve with doubles; i know the green one, but the white one i never had before. you think that might be it?

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  4. Trini english is like a different language altogether. I remember being in heathrow and talking to my sister and the english guy next to me asked me "What language was I speaking?" as if I was not speaking English!
    It's probably was coconut chutney, just that the coconut was not roasted like mines. I can't imagine what other fruit or vegetable it could be.

    About the kurma, most supermarkets in Trinidad should have small bags of kurma selling, usually close to the counter. Otherwise you can check "The Little Store" in Curepe. I know they cater sweets for Divali.

    Or if all else fails, tell your relatives to listen out on a Sunday for indian music, and if it's a wedding car passing, follow the wedding and crash it. No body guh know, it does have sooo much people in dem ting. They'll get free food and could pick up some free bags of kurma and probably some ladoo and barfi too! :)

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  5. Creamy and cheesy! This is definitely a very nice combination! Lovely!

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  6. that looks sooooooo good!!! mac and cheese pie, what a beautiful thing! ooey, gooey, and yummy!
    thanks for sharing

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  7. mmmm mouth watering pie.Lovely clicks....
    Do drop in sometime.....

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  9. I just drooled on my keyboard. Great recipe! Thanks for sharing!

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  11. Oh my yum!! That looks absolutely amazing!

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  12. Your recipe looks delicious, all your recipes look great and I can't wait to try them. They take me back to the time I visited the West Indies. It' so difficult to find authentic Caribbean recipes here in Australia. Keep up the good work.

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  13. Made this today and it was a hit with my husband and toddler! Thanks for sharing!

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  14. This looks very much like a cheese pizza. Reading this made me drool. Thank you for the recipe. Oh, and thank you for sharing aswell.

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  15. Perfect! I love it. I just made some today and my family like it so much! Thanks for sharing.

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  16. Looks delish, but I don't see how it's different from regular macaroni and cheese... what makes it a pie?

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  17. Well firstly it's not just cheese and macaroni, the macaroni is tossed in a cheese sauce that is made of cheese, milk, butter and thickened with flour. Then this tossed into a dish and cheese is put on top and this is cooked. Its close to macaroni and cheese but really soooo much better i guess because it goes to the oven and that intensifies the cheesiness and also teh top gets golden and yummy. Its a pie because its in a pie dish i guess. In Trinidad its what we make, I didn't invent the name that what we make and that;s what we call it 'Macaroni pie!

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