Wednesday, August 26, 2009
Comfort Food: 'Dutch' Macaroni
I think Macaroni is a comfort food in every house, though more often than not, it's the good ol' American mac'n'cheese. While sometimes I crave that creamy, cheesey mess, I will never, ever turn down or avoid a bowl of macaroni made to my family recipe. It's called 'Dutch' macaroni for a couple of reasons; it comes from my oma, who is (funnily enough) Dutch. Plus, although the ingredients aren't necessarily Dutch, their combination is. I've noted quite a few Dutch families have their own variation of this kind of recipe - and it always involves lots of strong flavours. It's also really, almost ridiculously, easy to make. You don't have to worry about whether or not your cheese sauce will split, or anything.
I have given this recipe to so many people, and I know my mother has done the same, that I actually know what kind of measurements are required, despite the fact that I never actually use them myself. This was one of the first dishes I learnt to make, so if it was safe enough to do, and I didn't have a tendency to burn myself, I'd make it with my eyes closed. I do everything by estimation and sight. If it looks right, it probably is, is my theory.
Just a few notes on the ingredients. There is not an onion in my list, but that's because I was making it in order to feed my family, which involves my brother and sister who are mentally allergic to onions. That is to say, they're spastic and refuse to eat them. So if your family will let you, chuck in half a finely diced medium onion. Also, if for some reason, you have something against bacon, a mild salami (ie: dutch) works okay. Doesn't give you the same flavour, but it still makes a good flavour.
300 grams streaky bacon
100 grams tomato paste
1.5 tablespoons dark soy sauce
1 beef stock cube
1/2 cup water
1 packet of macaroni elbows
1 cup grated cheese
1. Dice up your bacon and fry until golden and cooked. I like to use streaky because it has heaps of fat without the rind, so you donm't have to get all fussy with the knife, and the fat has lots of flavour. Also bring a bowl of salted water to the boil and set your macaroni to cook.
2. While your bacon is cooking, dissolve your stock cube in the water.
3. When the bacon is cooked, add your stock mix, soy sauce and tomato paste and mix. The tomato paste will thicken the sauce, so don't worry. Let it simmer on a low heat until the pasta is cooked. You'll also need to grate your cheese.
4. Drain your pasta and put it back into the pot, then add the somewhat reduced sauce and the cheese and mix until everything is combined well, then put it in a bowl and eeeeat.