Minna’s favorite recipes…delizioso!
Here is recipe from a cookbook I’ve had so long that the covers are falling off and the pages are yellowing (and pasta is called macaroni!). Again, it is by Biba Caggiano, and the name of the book is Northern Italian Cooking. I admit to having many cookbooks, but this one has been, and still is, one of my first “go to” books for old favorites and for inspiration. This recipe for Baked Macaroni is comfort food to me – and it is NOT your kids’ Mac and Cheese…although they might love it.
Maccheroni al Forno
2 cups Chicken Broth, homemade or good quality canned
¼ cup butter
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1 carrot, finely chopped
¼ pound pancetta, cut into slices and diced
¼ cup tomato paste
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
1 pound large, grooved macaroni (i.e. rigatoni)
2 cups Basic White Sauce – recipe below
½ cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
2 tablespoons butter
1. Preheat oven to 375F. Butter a 13”x9” baking dish.
2. Melt ¼ cup butter in a medium saucepan. When butter foams, add onion and carrot
and sauté over medium heat until onion is pale yellow. Add the pancetta and sauté
until lightly colored.
3. Combine tomato paste and chicken broth and add to the saucepan. Simmer uncovered
For 20-25 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.
4. Fill a very large saucepan with salted water and bring water to a boil. Add macaroni,
stir and return to a boil. Cook macaroni uncovered until tender but firm to the bite,
6-8 minutes. Drain macaroni and place in buttered baking dish.
5. Stir tomato sauce and white sauce into macaroni; mix to blend. Add 1/3 up Parmesan
Cheese; mix gently. Sprinkle remaining Parmesan cheese over macaroni and dot
with 2 tablespoons butter.
6. Bake 10-15 minutes or until cheese is melted and top is golden. Serve hot.
WHITE SAUCE: Bring 2 cups milk almost to a boil; set aside. Melt 4 tablespoons butter in a medium saucepan. When butter foams, stir in 4 tablespoons all-purpose flour. Let mixture bubble gently over low heat 1-2 minutes, stirring constantly. Do not let mixture brown. Whisk in milk all at once, and continue whisking until smooth. Season with salt to taste. Simmer 3-5 minutes, whisking constantly until sauce has a medium-thick consistency. If not using immediately, rub surface of sauce with ½ tablespoon soft butter to prevent skin from forming.