Baked Macaroni is a pasta dish that makes use of elbow macaroni as the primary ingredient. At first look, this could be mistaken as the famous Macaroni and Cheese but there is more to this dish than just having pasta and cheese.
Meat is one of its most important components. Ground beef is usually used but others prefer ground pork, ground chicken, and even minced ham. Being a tomato based pasta, Baked Macaroni uses diced tomatoes (or tomato sauce) and tomato paste as well. Capsicum (or bell pepper) and paprika are optionally added to add more flavor and aroma.
The description above makes a regular Baked Macaroni but adding the Mornay sauce (or white sauce as we usually call it) makes it more special. This is a cheese and milk sauce made by combining a roux with milk and adding parmesan and gruyere cheese (or sharp cheddar if gruyere is not available). Then you’ll have rich and creamy pasta ready for baking.
- 1 lb uncooked elbow macaroni
- 3 tbsp butter
- 1 lb ground beef
- 1 ½ cup diced tomatoes (canned)
- 1 small onions, diced
- 1/2 cup green bell pepper, diced
- 1/2 cup tomato paste
- 1 tsp paprika
- 1 piece beef cube
- 1 cup water
- 1 tbsp sugar
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 3 tbsp butter
- 3 tbsp all-purpose flour
- 2 cups fresh milk
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1 ounce grated parmesan cheese
- 2 ounces grated sharp cheddar cheese
- Prepare the elbow macaroni according to instructions in the package and intentionally cut the cooking time so that the macaroni is not well done (the macaroni will be fully cooked once baked) then drain and set aside.
- Prepare the meat sauce by heating a cooking pot and melt-in the butter.
- When the butter is hot enough, add the ground beef and cook for 5 minutes or until the color turns medium brown.
- Add the onion, green bell pepper, and diced tomatoes then stir and simmer for 3 minutes or until the vegetables are soft.
- Add the tomato paste and paprika then stir and cook for a minute
- Add the beef cube and water then stir until everything is well distributed. Simmer for 20 minutes.
- Put-in the sugar, salt, and pepper then mix well. Turn of the heat and set aside.
- Prepare the Mornay sauce by melting the butter in a sauce pan over medium heat.
- Add the flour stir constantly for about a minute (color must be yellowish and not brown).
- Slowly whisk in the milk and continue to whisk until the sauce thickens and comes to a boil.
- Add salt and pepper then simmer for 2 to 3 minutes.
- Stir in the cheeses and whisk until melted. Set aside
- Combine the cooked macaroni and meat sauce in a baking dish then toss until the meat sauce is well distributed.
- Arrange the macaroni and pour the Mornay sauce over it. (Spread the Mornay sauce over the macaroni and meat sauce mixture ensuring that every space is covered)
- Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and bake for about 15 to 20 minutes.
- Remove from the oven and allow to cool down a bit.
Chicken Macaroni Salad makes a good appetizer and snack. I also love to have this as a main dish (for some reason) especially if I am having stews such as kaldereta or menudo. This dish is typically served during Filipino fiestas and also during family outings and picnic. I remember having this regularly during a quick picnic by the beach and it goes well with Pinoy pork barbecue (skewered pork).
It is easy to make your own Filipino Chicken Macaroni Salad; all you have to do is prepare some of the ingredients beforehand. The elbow macaroni needs to be cooked and drained while the chicken needs to be boiled and shredded. Once the macaroni and chicken are ready, all you have to do is combine all the ingredients and toss. It will also be nice if you serve your Filipino Chicken Macaroni Salad chilled. I do this by mixing all the ingredients in a stainless mixing bowl. I place that same mixing bowl with the Filipino Chicken Macaroni Salad in the fridge. The stainless steel bowl will help the salad get cold faster and this will be beneficial if you are pressed for time.
Aside from macaroni, you can use other types of short cut pasta. Here are some examples: Mostaccioli, Penne, Rigatoni, Cellentani, Rotini, Cavatappi, Fideuà, and Maccheroncelli.
Chicken Macaroni Salad
- 1 lb. elbow macaroni
- 1 lb. chicken
- 3/4 cup light mayonnaise
- 1 (20 oz.) can pineapple tidbits, drained
- 3/4 cup minced carrots
- 3/4 cup raisins
- 1 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
- 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
- 4 cups water
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Bring water to a boil. Once the water starts boiling, add 1 teaspoon salt and then put-in the chicken. Boil the chicken for 25 minutes. Drain the water and let the chicken cool.
- Discard the bone from the meat and then shred the chicken meat using your clean hands. Set aside.
- Cook the elbow macaroni according to package instructions. Drain and then set aside
- In a large mixing bowl, combine the mayonnaise, garlic powder, 3 tablespoons of pineapple juice from the canned tidbits, salt, and ground black pepper. Mix well and then taste. Adjust the taste as necessary.
- Add the shredded chicken, carrots, macaroni, raisins, and pineapple tidbits in the mixing bowl. Toss thoroughly until the ingredients are well distributed.
- Add the cheese. Gently toss.
- Cover the mixing bowl with a cling wrap. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour.
- Transfer to a serving plate.
- Serve. Share and enjoy!