Baked Macaroni is a great comfort food to enjoy with loved ones. With meat, vegetables, tomatoes, and cheese, this baked macaroni recipe is a fun and easy meal to make when you’re craving that little bite of comfort. The layers of complexity to this dish’s flavor are accented by how compact and put together the finished product is!
Macaroni is a very common pasta noodle, used in a variety of dishes. Many people enjoy eating macaroni in salads, with the additional toppings depending on preference. For instance, if you’re looking for something quick and easy to make, you might enjoy this Luncheon Meat Mac Salad With Cheese. This recipe doesn’t require much cooking time; in 15 minutes you can have a macaroni salad of your own!
Another favorite, especially during the holidays, is the Chicken and Egg Macaroni Salad. You can serve this dish upon cooking, or chilled, depending on how you like to eat it! A lot of people pair this salad with crispy fried chicken for that amazing combination of sweet and salty.
Upon first glance, Baked Macaroni may seem like just a combination of mac and cheese – like the popular American dish. But don’t be fooled! This Baked Macaroni Recipe is like a cross between the classic mac and cheese and another pasta dish: lasagna. Just as cheese and elbow macaroni are important to this recipe, meat and other vegetables make it a more filling and nutritious dish, for consumers young and old!
Another important aspect of this Baked Macaroni is the Mornay sauce. Mornay sauce is made up of a combination of various cheeses. You can commonly find it in dishes like mac and cheese and lasagna – a white sauce packed with delicious, cheesy flavors you could absolutely drown in. Mornay sauce makes your Baked Macaroni recipe a little creamier, while the presence of meat and other vegetables gives it an opposing salty and savory taste. Combined in your mouth, you have a perfect bite of Baked Macaroni!
A Step By Step Baked Macaroni Recipe
- The Noodles
There are two sauces to make for this Baked Macaroni Recipe: one is your meat sauce, and the other, your white Mornay sauce. But firstly – we can’t forget to prepare the actual macaroni! Cook your elbow macaroni according to package instructions, but intentionally cut the cooking time so that your macaroni is just almost, but not quite well done. This is to avoid making it overcooked once we put it in the oven later. Don’t forget to salt your pasta water! Once your time is up, drain your macaroni and set it aside.
- The Meat Sauce
Prepare to make your Baked Macaroni’s meat sauce by heating a cooking pot and placing your butter inside. Let your butter melt, and once hot enough add in your ground beef. Stir and cook your beef for 5 minutes, or until it becomes a medium brown – whichever comes first.
Add in your diced onions, tomatoes, and green bell peppers. Stir then let them simmer for 3 minutes, or up until your veggies have softened. Add half a cup of tomato paste and a teaspoon of paprika and sit again! Let your sauce cook for a minute, making sure to incorporate all the ingredients well.
The next thing to add is your beef cube and water, and from there you have all the ingredients of your Baked Macaroni recipe’s meat sauce in the pot! Stir until you’ve well distributed all your ingredients, and let it simmer for 20 minutes.
Add your sugar and salt and pepper to taste, and mix all your ingredients well once again. Turn the heat off and set your meat sauce aside – now it’s time to make the Mornay!
- The Mornay Sauce
The second important sauce in this Baked Macaroni Recipe is the cheesy, creamy Mornay. Start preparing by melting your butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Add in your flour gradually, stirring it well and carefully for about a minute. The color we’re aiming for here is a yellowish, not brown. Whisk in your 2 cups of fresh milk until your sauce thickens and comes to a boil. Add salt and pepper to taste, letting the pot simmer for 2 to 3 minutes.
Now it’s time to add in your cheeses! A traditional Mornay sauce recipe would call for Gruyere cheese, but for this Baked Macaroni recipe we’re using a combination of grated parmesan and sharp cheddar. Sharp cheddar in Mornay is what you most commonly find in mac and cheese, after all. Whisk your cheese and incorporate well into the sauce until it fully melts; by now, the smell of creamy cheese and milk must be absolutely irresistible!
Once the ingredients are well blended, set it aside for the time being. We’re now ready to move on to our next step – arguably the most important one!
- The Baked Macaroni
Of course, this Baked Macaroni Recipe wouldn’t be complete without the actual baking process! Now that all your sauces and pasta noodles are ready, it’s time to put this mac in the oven.
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Combine your cooked macaroni and meat sauce in a baking dish; toss them together, distributing the meat sauce well. Every macaroni noodle should absorb the meaty flavor of this sauce.
Arrange the meaty macaroni and spread the Mornay sauce across the whole dish! It’s important that you cover every space of the macaroni and meat mixture with Mornay – almost like you’re adding another layer of lasagna. Once the oven is at 350 degrees, let your Baked Macaroni stay in the oven for about 15 to 20 minutes.
Take it out once time is up, but be careful – it might be a little hot! Allow it time to cool down first. But once it has, voila – your baked macaroni is done! Serve it hot and share for all your loved ones to enjoy.
If you liked this baked pasta, you can also try my Creamy Baked Spaghetti next, which makes use of spaghetti noodles as opposed to elbow macaroni. Both taste amazing!
Let us know what you think of this awesome Baked Macaroni Recipe!