Oven pasta recipe: quick, easy and cheap

One of the classics that accompanies winter days in the English-speaking world is definitely a macaroni and cheese called mac and cheese. There is more than one recipe for this dish, which many see as the best food for the soul, as many things can be added to oven-baked pasta: even beer and seasonal vegetables.

Different types of pasta

The basic rules for preparing pasta in the oven are simple: first cook and drain the pasta, then add sauce and spices to taste, of course, some cheese, and bake it all in the oven.

What pasta should we use? You can choose from different shapes, but in the end, pasta, pens, snails, butterflies or drills become more useful due to the appropriate size. Cook them in salted water according to the directions on the package, then drain.

Once the pasta is cooked, prepare the sauce. Its base can be bechamel, to which you can add a little nutmeg or pepper (white) and grated cheese. If you don’t have time to prepare the b├ęchamel, you can take a shortcut and make a creamy sauce of cream, eggs, and shredded cheese. You can choose your own version of the sauce – add a little white wine to the bechamel or add a little dark beer with mild ground red pepper.

Vegetables and breadcrumbs

There are still plenty of fresh vegetables in the markets for seasonal face colouring.  Photo: Sabilla Angell

There are still plenty of fresh vegetables in the markets for seasonal face colouring. Photo: Sabilla Angell

Once we’ve got the pasta and base sauce ready, we can play with the colorful toppings. Often this is a vegetable that can be well combined in a dish. In the summer we pick peas or zucchini, and in the winter we pick something seasonal, such as cauliflower, broccoli or carrots, finely chopped. We can “put” many other things from the refrigerator or pantry into this dish, such as tuna, shredded pork, leftovers from yesterday’s roast …

And one more point on the i: Many recipes mention crumbs, which are sprinkled over the top of the dish for a crunchy topping before being pushed into the oven.

Other than that, macaroni and cheese is so famous that it is also mentioned in the Guinness Book of Records. More than anywhere else in America, in New Orleans, they prepared more than a ton of this dish, mixing in it 260 kg of cooked pasta. Even the sauce wasn’t made with flies, they used nearly 130kg of cheese and over 25kg of butter, then added flour and about 500kg of milk. They seasoned it with roughly 30 pounds of dried herbs.

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