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Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Three Cheese Filipino Style Baked Macaroni

Today, I'm bringing you a favorite pasta dish in the Philippines...the Baked Macaroni. Like the all time favorite Macaroni and Cheese here in the US, Filipino Style Baked Macaroni has elbow macaroni and cheese as the basic ingredients, but it has a tomato based meat sauce which is a little sweet like the sauce used in Filipino Style Spaghetti.

The most common version of baked macaroni in the Philippines is simply cooked pasta combined with meat sauce then topped with shredded cheddar cheese. The version that I'm going to share with you is my family's favorite. This is how I've been making Baked Macaroni since we got here in the US. The addition of mushrooms in the meat sauce makes it more special. The topping is also different. It 's a lot better than the usual melted cheddar cheese topping. It's creamy and cheesier, and both kids and adults will surely love it!

Check it out and do give it a try! It doesn't only make a delicious filling meal any day of the week, it's a perfect pasta dish for special occasions Valentine's Day! ;)

  • 1 lb uncooked elbow macaroni
Meat Sauce:
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 1 ½ cup diced fresh tomatoes
  • 1 ½ cup fresh button mushrooms
  • 1 cup tomato sauce
  • 1/3 cup Filipino banana ketchup
  • ½ tsp ground oregano
  • ½ tsp ground basil
  • 1 Tbsp sugar
  • Salt and pepper to taste
Cheese Topping:
  • 4 Tbsp butter
  • 3 Tbsp all-purpose flour
  • 2 ½ cups evaporated milk 
  • 1 Tbsp garlic powder
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1/8 tsp black pepper
  • 1 cup finely shredded parmesan cheese
  • 1½ cup finely shredded cheddar cheese
  • ½ cup finely shredded mozzarella cheese
1. Cook the elbow macaroni al dente according to package directions. Drain and set aside.
2. In a large saucepan over medium-low heat, cook beef  in ¼ cup water until water has evaporated. Drain any oil from beef. Push beef into one side of the pan. Add olive oil and saute garlic until light brown. Add onion, tomatoes and mushrooms. Mix with beef and garlic and saute until tomatoes become soft. Stir in the tomato sauce, banana ketchup, basil and oregano. Season with salt and pepper. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for 15 minutes. Add sugar then mix well. Simmer for 3 more minutes. Remove from heat and set aside.
3. In a saucepan over medium low heat, melt the butter. Add the flour and stir until dissolved. Whisk in the milk and garlic powder until the sauce thickens. Add salt and pepper. Stir in 1 cup of parmesan and 1 cup of cheddar cheese and whisk until melted.
4. Preheat oven to 375°F. Combine the cooked macaroni and meat sauce in a 13"x9"x2" baking dish. Toss until macaroni is well covered with sauce. Add mozarella cheese and remaining cheddar cheese and toss some more. Spread the cheese topping evenly over the mixture.
5. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes or until topping turns brown. Remove from oven and allow to cool down a little. Serve warm.