Imqarrun il-Forn: Maltese Baked Macaroni Casserole
Vicki Butts (lazyme)
1 Tbspolive oil
1 largeonion, chopped
2garlic cloves, minced (optional)
1 lbminced pork or ground beef (or a combination of both)
1/4 lbdiced pancetta, optional
1 14 oz can(s)crushed tomatoes
4 Tbsptomato paste
1 lbdried macaroni (straight, not elbow)
4 largeeggs, beaten
4 Tbspfreshly grated parmesan cheese
1/4 lbedam or cheddar cheese, grated
·salt and pepper, to taste
How to Make Imqarrun il-Forn: Maltese Baked Macaroni Casserole
- Heat olive oil over medium and cook the onion until soft and just golden.
- If you are using garlic, add it at this point and cook for a couple more minutes, being careful not to burn it.
- Add the ground meat and pancetta (if using), season with salt and pepper to taste and cook, stirring frequently, breaking up the ground meat as you stir, until browned, about 10-15 minutes
- Add the crushed tomato and tomato paste, mix well and simmer, covered, for 30 minutes, and then uncovered for an additional 30 minutes, adding a little water if necessary to make sure the mixture doesn't dry out.
- While the meat and tomato sauce simmers, cook the pasta in generously salted water, draining it and rinsing with cold water about 2 minutes before it's done so it's cooked just less than al dente.
- Preheat the oven to 350 F.
- When the sauce is done, check for seasoning and adjust if necessary.
- In a large bowl, gently mix the sauce and the pasta, being careful not to break up the noodles and check for seasoning one more time, adjusting as necessary.
- Break the eggs into a separate bowl, beat them and mix in the Parmesan, then gently incorporate the egg / cheese mixture into the pasta / sauce mixture.
- Grease a large, oven-proof, baking dish (13x9" is a good size) and fill it with the pasta mixture.
- Sprinkle the grated edam or cheddar cheese on top of everything and bake for 30-45 minutes until the cheese is melted, golden and crisp.
- When done cooking, remove from the oven and let cool for about 5 minutes, cut, serve.