Make a Big Macaroni for dinner

Big Macaroni

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

  1. Dice thinly the onions and the mushrooms. If you are using bacon , slice it thinly too.
  2. Pre-heat a big pan on medium-high heat, without any oil, and add the bacon/pancetta/lardons. Let it render its fat.
  3. 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.
  4. During this time, boil the pasta following the box instructions.
  5. In a blender, mix the eggs, milk, mustard, herbs and parmesan.
  6. Finally slice the tomatoes. Grate the cheeses in two separated piles (or use sliced cheese).
  7. When all those parts are ready, preheat the oven to 220°C (390°F) or 200°C (430°F) with the fan.
  8. Mix the pasta with the mushroom-bacon mix.
  9. Butter a big oven dish so it is easier to get the Big Mac out, and start building the layers (from bottom to top):
    1. Around half of the pasta
    2. Half of the tomatoes
    3. Gouda
    4. Rest of the pasta
    5. Tomatoes
    6. Pour the eggs mix
    7. Top with the cheddar
  10. 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 😉

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