For quite some time I thought it was a South African dish, but it appears after some research that the “Big Mac” is simply a family recipe of my South African in-laws.
It is a massive pasta bake that goes perfectly with some chutney (spicy or not). I adapted to my tastes and style the principles of the original recipe. So I will therefore present my recipe to you, and discuss some tweak ideas after.
I hope you give it a try 😉
Ingredients for 8 to 10 people:
- 700 gr of mushrooms
- 400 gr of bacon, pancetta or lardons
- 5 onions
- 5 tomatoes
- 750 gr of penne regale (or any other short pasta)
- 10 eggs
- Half a cup of milk
- 1 tablespoon of Dijon mustard
- 1 tablespoon of Italian herbs
- 150 gr of gouda
- 150 gr of cheddar
- 1 tablespoon of parmesan
- Dice thinly the onions and the mushrooms. If you are using bacon , slice it thinly too.
- Pre-heat a big pan on medium-high heat, without any oil, and add the bacon/pancetta/lardons. Let it render its fat.
- Add the onions and the mushrooms, as well as a good pinch of salt and some black pepper. Cook it on medium heat until the rendered water of the mushrooms evaporate.
- During this time, boil the pasta following the box instructions.
- In a blender, mix the eggs, milk, mustard, herbs and parmesan.
- Finally slice the tomatoes. Grate the cheeses in two separated piles (or use sliced cheese).
- When all those parts are ready, preheat the oven to 220°C (390°F) or 200°C (430°F) with the fan.
- Mix the pasta with the mushroom-bacon mix.
- Butter a big oven dish so it is easier to get the Big Mac out, and start building the layers (from bottom to top):
- Around half of the pasta
- Half of the tomatoes
- Rest of the pasta
- Pour the eggs mix
- Top with the cheddar
- Bake for 20 to 30 minutes, or until all the egg mix is cooked and the top cheese is nice and crispy.
If you wonder why I use two different cheeses in the recipe, it is because gouda have a nice melt, so it gives a nice texture in the middle, while cheddar crisp nicely with a lovely flavour.
Another way of layering is to actually not mix the pasta and the mushroom mix, so you have more separated layers. But since I always mix everything anyway, I prefer that they bake together.
Finally, I like to use apricot-peach chutney with it, but some sweet and sour or sweet chili sauce works as well.
So I hope you give it a try and tell me if you liked it 😉